james bond aston martin db5

Hot on the Trail – The Famous Goldfinger DB5 Reportedly Found

It’s one of the most instantly recognisable classic cars of all time. A car that is so synonymous with a single character it became its own personality. The car which became so connected with Ian Fleming’s character James Bond has supposedly been found.

Famously, BMT 216A went missing in 1997 after it had been stored in a Florida aeroplane hangar by its then-owner. It is claimed that in the middle of the night, thieves broke in and removed the iconic sportscar leaving only a set of tire tracks, the last remaining signs of the 1963 DB5.

There are several stories which as of the time of writing, are still valid as the car has not been verified. The first was that as it left the hangar in the dead of night in 1996, it was dragged onto a trailer and smuggled out of the airfield onto a life still within the US. Others say that as it was pulled away out of the roller doors, it was loaded into a waiting Cargo Plane… very apt for the character who first drove it.

There was also a rumour that because its current owner had put a $2.4m policy on the car and was facing financial troubles. They staged the robbery and dropped the car out in the Atlantic. Many don’t believe the DB5 did meet its watery grave in June of 1997. If the owner had needed to, he could have easily sold such an important piece of film history as well as a true automotive icon.

Previously there’s been reports of it in Russian billionaires front rooms, in a dilapidated barn in South East Asia or the wildest and most shocking one? It’s been hiding in plain sight all these years after being turned back into a regular DB5 (or DB4) and then sold with a VIN change all of which were kept completely undocumented. What’s easier, a stolen DB5 or the stolen Goldfinger DB5 to try and hide?

However, a recent statement by Art Recovery International (a company that specialises in the finding and securing of lost or stolen collectables) stated that a car bearing many of the identifying marks of Chassis DP/216/1 had been spotted in a private collection in the Middle East. What are those identifying marks? Well, this particular car was the DB5 fitted with the swathes of gadgets needed for the stunt team while shooting the James Bond 007 film Goldfinger (which we have talked out previously here). Also, during this brief encounter, the whistleblower made a note of the cars VIN and according to some it exactly matches that of the missing ’63 DB5.

How would it have gotten out of the US? Lots of ways. Piece by piece or even in an illegal shipment completely off the books. Some say the car was in fact stolen to order instead of an opportunistic crime and the would-be robbers hoped they could get rid of the car, with something this identifiable and recognisable it would have to have been specially ordered.

In the statement, Art Recovery International’s Christopher Marinello said they were hopeful that the car will be recovered soon. Adding that ”I’m hopeful that the possessor will come forward voluntarily before I have to make an announcement” whilst talking to The Telegraph stating that with all investigations they give those in possesions of the items time to come forward before being publicly outed.

But, what if this is indeed the missing Goldfinger DB5? What could it be worth? Well, current estimates have claimed that if the car were to be returned and come up for sale at any point it could fetch as much as £18.5m.

Either way, we’ll keep our eyes and ears out to see what the final outcome is in this new development.

We’ve Been Expecting You Mr Bond – The Bridge Classic Cars 007 Special – Aston Martin DB5

The Aston Martin DB5. Many believe it to be The Most Famous Car in the World. It’s claimed by some that over half the worlds population can tell you that James Bond, drives an Aston Martin.

The sleek, elegant lines of the DB5 made it a perfect candidate when the producers of the newly launched 007 franchise went looking for the latest car to be used by Her Majesty’s most faithful servant.

The DB5 would hit theatre screens in September of 1964, with the release of the 3rd James Bond Film, Goldfinger. This is where a now faithful audience would first catch sight of the car now known as the Goldfinger DB5.

Launched in 1963, the DB5 would serve as a replacement for the previous DB4. A long-legged, elegant GT car beloved by all and a favourite of the newly hip and happening. The DB5 used a Superleggera construction method. A sculpturesque spaceframe which keen-eyed craftsmen would then cloth in mirror-like, curvaceous panels. This appealed to the newly formed ”Q-Branch”.

At Pinewood, the designers had been working out what car should James Bond, the worlds most famous spy, drive. Ideas were bandied around a Jensen CV8, Jaguar E Type etc. But, only one car truly personified the style and the times of Flemings fictional spy. It was the DB5, with that the production the approached Aston Martin. The DB5 worked on another level as in the book Goldfinger, Bond was noted as driving an Aston Martin DB MkIII.

At first, Aston Martin was understandably hesitant at allowing their newest pride and joy to become a film star like any concerned parent would be. However, they did agree to sell two cars to the production team. The first was actually a DB5 Prototype, an earlier DB4 production car that had been modified to develop the DB5.

This prototype car would become the hero of the story. From the moment it arrived at the Pinewood workshop, the DB5 was busily modified to accept the growing list of gadgets being added to the script. For interest, in the book, the only mention of a gadget and an Aston Martin was a passage describing a smokescreen. But, for a film, it needed to get bolder and bolder.

Guy Hamilton, the film’s director, had the request which would now go down in history as one of the most memorable film lines of all time. His stepson had come to him one day and said he had seen an ejector seat in a film or a TV show. This sparked something in Hamilton. He took the idea to Production Designer Ken Adams and Engineer John Stears who said it might be possible but wouldn’t actually work, so when Connery says the famous line ” Ejector Seat? You must be joking.” Unfortunately, the crew were joking. The scene in the film was shot in multiple takes using careful angles and rigs to portray the henchmen’s unfriendly exit from the DB5. To this ever-expanding and extraordinary list, Hamilton added the revolving number plate mechanism. This famously came from Hamilton who was getting dozens of parking tickets issued against his car during production. Along with those, is the bulletproof rear screen plate and the oil hoses which drop out of the rear brake lights of the DB5.

This car (the second DB5 used for production was completely standard), was converted to become the stunt vehicle for Goldfinger. The whole conversion from DB5 prototype to The Worlds Most Famous car took a mind-blowing 6 weeks from the start of work to being delivered to set.

During both Goldfinger and lately Thunderball, the DB5s would use the number plates BMT 216A). Easily identifiable as the Goldfinger DB5s and also the number plate used on the recent DB5 Continuations known as The Goldfinger DB5s which have exact copies of the modifications to the stunt cars. These cars would then be unmodified in 1968 and sold to private owners.

But in 1995, the DB5 would return to the 007 James Bond series in the film GoldenEye. The DB5 breaks cover at the start of the film by going head to head against a Ferrari F355 GTS driven by assassin Xenia Onatopp. This particular DB5 in GoldenEye runs the registration BMT 214A. A nod to the original cars used in the earlier films. 11 years later, the DB5 would make its appearance in the first of the Daniel Craig era of James Bond with Casino Royale (the first of the Bond novels by Ian Fleming). However, this car according to Bond aficionados has nothing to do with the legendary BMT 216A. Seeing as how it’s a left-hand drive car and is wearing Bahamian numberplates.

For the world to see BMT 216A we would have to wait until 2012’s Skyfall. This is the car bond uses to escape back to his family home in Scotland. It’s also famously the film that gets destroyed out on a boggy crag. Thankfully, a series of scaled miniatures were used for this and no original DB5s were harmed during production. However, in the 007 film Spectre, the shell of the DB5 can be seen in Q’s workshop. With Bond raising a smile as he walks by his beloved DB5. Then at the end of the film, he is seen powering his way through Whitehall in London to a wonderful chorus of the 4 litre Straight-Six.

That brings the cinematic lineage of BMT 216A (the Goldfinger DB5) right up to the modern-day. In the latest film, No Time to Die, Bond is seen back behind the wheel of his Silver Birch DB5. This time, however, it is armed to the teeth. Machine guns behind the headlights but most interestingly is the faint outline of an ejector seat panel over the passenger seat… a clue perhaps? This car though is actually using the numberplate A426900, possibly one of the options from the original revolving idea Guy Hamilton proposed for the car back in 1964.

Famously though, in 1997 a very certain DB5 used during the production would make world news for its life away from the silver screen. In 1997, a DB5 known as The Road Car was being stored at an aircraft hanger belonging to its then owner in Boca Rotan, Florida. One night, however, the car disappeared. Sparking furious media debate worldwide as to where the car really is. Many believe the car to have had to have been destroyed due to its famous number. This car appeared in all of the press for the early films as well as cameo’s in multiple films such as Cannonball Run.

So, that brings all of us up to speed about the first Bond car. But, was it?

James Bond’s DB5 Comes To Life – December 2020

Supercar Blondie has recently shared a video on Facebook of the James Bond limited edition Goldfinger Aston Martin DB5 that comes with functioning gadgets. In her walkaround, she takes a look at each element of this epic car, which can be bought for a small price of $4million.

Only 25 of these cars have been made and all of them were snapped up straight away, unsurprisingly.

You can see the full YouTube version of Supercar Blondie’s review here:

The DB5 comes with a rear smoke screen and oil slick delivery system, revolving license plates, simulated front machine guns, a bullet resistant rear shield, simulated tire slasher, radar system and a removable passenger seat roof panel as well as many more other gadgets. It really is every child’s dream come true.

It comes as no surprise to find that due to its low level of emissions control and added gadgets, it isn’t road legal, however, if you were to illegally drive it on public roads, you’ll be wanting to take full advantage of those revolving number plates…

See the Instagram post here.