IT'S possibly the most famous car in the world and a fully functioning example of James Bond's Aston Martin DB5 as seen in the movies Goldfinger and Thunderball is coming up for auction.
Completely restored with all 13 Bond modifications including Browning .30 calibre machine gun in each front wing, wheel-hub mounted tire-slashers, smoke screen dispensers, revolving number plates and an ejector seat, the car is expected to fetch between three and five million pounds when it goes under the hammer.
The 1965 DB5 - one of just three surviving examples commissioned by film makers Eon Productions - is being sold at the RM Sotheby's Aston Martin auction in Monterey, California, on August 15.
The car is one of two examples fitted out with special effects creator's John Stears-designed Bond gadgets and was used on the North American promotional tour for Thunderball.
Barney Ruprecht, car specialist for RM Sotheby's said: "No other car in history has played a more important leading role on film and in pop culture than the Aston Martin DB5.
"The DB5 is the iconic cornerstone of a marketing relationship that still exists to this day-with the model's collectible status rooted largely in its 007 fame-and we look forward to exciting car and film enthusiasts alike in the lead up to the auction.
"This is an unbelievably rare chance to play secret agent in a car that offers incredible performance and style in its own right and we're honoured to offer the Bond DB5 alongside our partners at Aston Martin."
Reached through his son, Stephane, Sean Connery, who starred as James Bond in Goldfinger and Thunderball said: "These DB5s are amazing - I remember the Furka Pass tyre shredding as well as the promotional events with these cars - they have become increasingly iconic since Goldfinger and Thunderball."
The actor also admitted that he had recently bought a ‘very fine' DB5 himself.
The relationship between Bond and Aston Martin dates back to 1963 when production designer Ken Adam and special effects man John Stears visited Aton's Newport-Pagnell plant.
The two were on a mission to source a pair of the latest Aston Martin models for use in Goldfinger.
Two near-identical cars were built and loaned to Eon Productions for filming, with each fulfilling various roles; one for stunt driving and chase sequences and therefore needing to be lightweight and fast, and the other for interior shots and close-ups, to be equipped with functional modifications created by Stears.
The Snow Shadow grey-painted DB5 was equipped with front and rear hydraulic over-rider rams on the bumpers, a Browning .30 calibre machine gun in each wing, wheel-hub mounted tyre-slashers, a raising rear bullet-proof screen, an in-dash radar tracking scope, oil, caltrop and smoke screen dispensers, revolving number plates, and a passenger-seat ejection system.
Although never used during the film, the car was also equipped with a telephone in the driver's door to communicate with MI6 headquarters and a hidden compartment under the driver's seat containing several weapons.
In preparation for Thunderball's release in 1965, Eon Productions ordered two more DB5 saloons, receiving chassis numbers DB5/2008/R, the example on offer at RM Sotheby's Monterey sale, and DB5/2017/R.
The two cars were fitted with all of Stears' Goldfinger modifications and were shipped to the United States for promotional duties for Thunderball.
Following the tour, the two cars were no longer required and they were ‘quietly' offered for sale in 1969.
They were purchased as a pair by car collector and JCB chairman Anthony (now Lord) Bamford, whose British registration for chassis no. 2008/R remains on file.
The Aston Martin build record lists Eon Productions as the original purchaser, with the important designation of being a "(Bond Car)" noted.
Bamford then sold DB5/2008/R to B.H. Atchley, the owner of the Smokey Mountain Car Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
The Aston Martin was featured as the museum's centrepiece, remaining in a pristine state of display for 35 years, receiving regular start-ups.
Since 2006 the car has been subjected to a no-expense spared restoration by Swiss-based experts Roos Engineering where the chassis and body were completely refinished and all thirteen of the John Stears-designed Bond modifications properly refurbished to function as originally built.
The first Stears-modified car has been lost since 1997, narrowing the number of surviving examples to just three and the car on offer is one of only two built from new with all the Bond gadgetry.
RM Sotheby's says chassis no. 2008/R stands apart with a minimal chain of ownership, having had just three private owners over 50 years, including a 35-year period of museum exhibition.