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A Chance To Obtain An Actual James Bond Aston Martin V8

RM Sotheby's is auctioning off one of the four Aston Martin cars used in The Living Daylights.

| By Robin Nooy | 5 min read |

“I’ve had a few optional extras installed.” A seemingly simple phase at first, but when considering the fact it’s a quote from the world’s most famous spy and refers to a car by the Q branch, you know those “optional extras” usually pack quite the punch! It’s a quote from The Living Daylights, where Timothy Dalton portrayed 007, James Bond and can be seen driving around in an Aston Martin V8. Admittedly, this 15th instalment of the most popular movie franchises ever isn’t the greatest out of all the movies, but I’m not about to let that spoil the fun. Real-life, motoring fun you can actually obtain, by the way, as one of the four real-life driveable movie cars is coming up for sale at RM Sotheby’s Monterey Car Week auction.

My love for cars is no secret, as I share with you what I think (and my colleagues too) are interesting stories from around the world on an almost weekly basis, with help from our very own Brice and Erik. I always have a lot of fun writing these stories as they bring back personal memories, uncover previously unknown brands or models or are just downright cool. When this is combined with other interests of mine, like watches, I tumble down the rabbit hole a little further, as is the case with this week’s topic. See, for years on end, I would watch James Bond movies on Saturday nights whenever they were on TV, together with my parents, my sister, and a bowl of crisps. It was a regular thing we did, and even today I have a profound love for the Bond franchise.

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The Living Daylights is based on a short story of the same name, written by Ian Flemming, the creator of the James Bond character. It is the fifteenth instalment of the franchise and features Timothy Dalton in the titular role. James Bond is tasked with investigating a KGB ploy to kill all enemy spies and uncovers an arms deal that has global ramifications if it goes down. In it, he can be seen in an Aston Martin V8, the then top-of-the-line Grand Tourer from the British car manufacturer. Of course, it has been fettled with by the Q-branch of MI6 and as a result, has some very handy gadgets! How about a set of outrigger skis and tires that can deploy spikes on demand to whizz across a frozen lake? Or rocket launchers and lasers to get rid of enemy vehicles? Or, the piece-de-resistance to me, a rocket booster in the back? Yep, typical Bond shenanigans!

The car in question is a 1973 Aston Martin V8, a Grand Tourer with quite a bit of grunt thanks to the 5.3 litre V8 engine in the front. This classic example of a GT car, engine in the front and drive to the back, was produced from 1969 to 1989 and just over 4,000 of them were built over several series. It was initially branded as the DBS V8, as the more performance-oriented big brother to the DBS (with the straight-six engine from the DB6), also in production at the time. The DBS moniker was dropped in 1972, as the straight-6 variant was discontinued. With a little over 300 horsepower, the Aston Martin V8 could hit 100kph in about seven seconds and had a top speed of 242kph so quite quick considering the era! This specific example was initially finished in Tudor Green and came with an automatic gearbox.

EON Productions, the company that produced the movie, had the car modified with an updated rear section, a carburettor-specification hood, new wheels and a new paint job in Cumberland Grey. To match the other three cars in use, a simulated sunroof was also added. Further updates included the gadgets needed for the film I mentioned earlier, although the skis never functioned. Shots of the outriggers deploying were taken with the help of a fibreglass mock-up and were edited into the action shots afterwards. The same goes for the rocket booster and rocket launchers. As this one was destined to be driven into a snow bank at the end of the movie’s big chase scene, the engine and gearbox were removed and a roll cage and skid plate were installed to both lighten and strengthen it.

The paper that’s stuck to the window reads ‘Vehicle 6 – Car Number 10’ and is the actual shipping label from EON Productions.

A total of 4 driveable cars were used in filming, alongside 7 fibre glass replicas used for various stunts. After filming was done, it remained under the ownership of EON Productions until 1995, when the car was sold to James Bond collector Peter Nelson, along with two of the sister cars and the DB5 from Goldeneye. Nine years later, this particular car was sold to an American collector who kept it on display until 2021. The other two cars would eventually end up in the hands of another US-based James Bond collector, where they remain today. The fourth and final car is still owned by EON Productions, making this the only currently available car of the four.

The Aston Martin V8 is brought back to its original condition by the current owner, with a carburated V8 engine and ZF five-speed manual gearbox being installed. The bodywork was repaired and repainted where needed, and all mechanical components were overhauled. During this process, the owner also decided it would be a fun idea to have the rocket booster actually shoot flames. And as you can tell by the image above, it actually does!

If you fancy a chance to own this very rare, almost unique Aston Martin V8 used in the James Bond classic The Living Daylights, RM Sotheby’s will auction it off in its auction event during the Monterey Car Week, running from August 16th through August 19th. The Aston has an estimate of USD 1,4 million to USD 1,8 million, making it the most expensive Aston Martin V8 by far (if it gets sold, of course). And if you do end up buying this, I have a very cool event in mind to take it to; the GP Ice Race in Zell am See!

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Editorial Note: The images in this article are provided by and used with permission of RM Sotheby’s.

4 responses

  1. You should learn more about Aston Martin before writing about the cars. Aston Martin never made a V6. The engine that you are referring to is an inline 6 first used in the DB4 through the early DBS. The straight 6 was phased out in 1971 with the V8 motor

  2. You are correct Robert, and the article has been updated accordingly.
    Thanks for pointing it out and taking effort to let us know, much appreciated.

    Best, Robin.

  3. Very professional and kind of you Robin.
    No need to be so unkind Robert.


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