There was no shortage of international enthusiasm for 007’S favourite marque during the 18th Bonhams sale for Astons at AM Works in Newport Pagnell, where a 1970 DB6 Mk2 Vantage Volante requiring re-commissioning sold for £700,000 and, after 45 years of vendor ownership, an actually only fair in close-up 1964 DB5 also in need of light re-commissioning at least, if not a more extensive revival beneath a 2016 respray, fetched £561,500.
Among the 62% of Astons that did sell for £5.85m was one of only three V8 Sportsman Estate Cars, a former Monaco resident with fitted humidor that had been acquired in Paris and had returned to its Buckinghamshire to sell for the required £337,500. A 1961 DB4 Series 3 with 4.2 upgrade achieved £399,100 and a 1970 DB6 Mk2 Vantage £382,300, while contestants in the seats and in the standing room saleroom took a long time to determine £387,900 ownership of an ‘X-Packed’ 1989 7-Litre V8 Vantage Volante.
A much modified, but race-ready 1960 DB4 4.5 Lightweight, which would not be easy to sell in the outside world, fared really well in front of a target audience of committed Aston aficionados and AMOC members, inspiring a three-way exchange between those who had made the journey and those who were playing by telephone before finally selling for £236,700. The key holders of more recent Astons also changed here, a 1997 Vantage V600 Coupe going for £253,500 and a 2000 Vantage Le Mans for £309,500.
There were also new project managers for all the barn finds and tlc cases in a sold out vote of confidence in their future. Particularly derelict was a crumbling DB2/4. Formerly owned by a Yorkshire Viscount followed by a Soho Nightclub, since when it had fallen on very hard times having been abandoned to the elements for four decades, the 1957 Mk2 was very bravely hoovered up for £54,625! A 1979 AM Lagonda Razor-Edged Sports-Saloon from the pen of William Towns was reckoned to be the very first production example, but in close-up had deteriorated beneath the gold paint since an AM rebuild 31 years ago and was over-ripe for the next one. Auctioned at No Reserve and ‘sold strictly as viewed’, the still futuristic-looking wedge was taken on for £28,750.
Marque and 007 registrations continue to pull at this one-stop shop annual, too, with ‘V8 VAN’ on retention fetching £4750. While the actual Nassau Bahamas licence plate ‘56526’ - as fitted to the left-hand drive DB5 won by Daniel Craig in a poker game and appearing in several scenes during the 2006 ‘Casino Royale’ movie, but strictly for display – clearly appealed to one Bond Aston memorabilia fan who parted with £4250. A range of Sean Connery and Daniel Craig autographed, glazed and framed wall candy was all snapped up, led by a signed monochrome photo of Connery as Bond with the DB5 at the Furka Pass sold for £1875.
A 1964 ZF 5-speed box for a DB5 changed oily hands for £5250 and somebody with £813 obviously really needed an original DB6 horn push with chipped Bakerlite surround and a steering wheel centre boss with ‘DB’ logo for a DBS found £625. A Lake & Elliot Millennium hydraulic jack for the DB5/6 and DBS in worn and distressed box had been estimated at £600-800, but lifted a cool £3500!
But then, simultaneously in neighbouring Northamptonshire under the Silverstone Auctions hammer, a Ferrari issue Daytona 365GTB/4 tool roll also made an astonishing £12,000 (record money for a tool kit?) before 72% of cars sold during a £3.6m afternoon beside the F1 circuit.
Two contestants exercised much brinkmanship competing for a numerically rare 1993 Porsche 911 964 Turbo S Leichtbau lefty in the The Wing saleroom, the winner bidding £495,000, £20,000 more than the lower estimate, breaking the half a million pound barrier by paying a gasp-inducing £556,875. The 964 was once the poor relation of the 911 family, although the £180k+ sought for a 1992 911 964 Carrera RS Lightweight in rhd was not forthcoming on this occasion.
Despite the increasing uncertainty of the times on both sides of the EU Channel and the North Atlantic, a 1989 911 Speedster in right-hand drive raised a top estimate £164,250, a 1961 356B Cabrio overtook an up to £120k forecast to sell for £123,750 and a 1991 944 Turbo Cabrio £39,375, again £9000 over the guide price. While more than estimate money was available for a 1988 911 3.2 Carrera Sport Coupe acquired for £42,188 and for a 2009 Boxster RS60 for £30,938.
An export market 1955 XK140 SE was responsible for a phone war which saw the estimate band demolished and the winner pay £121,500 to applause. Another bidding battle was waged over a UK supplied 1973 BMW 3.0 CSL in right-hand drive which pushed the price paid up to £83,813, almost double the lower estimate suggested. Whilst former BTC Champ John Cleland’s 1971 DB6 Mk2 Vantage that occupied pole position in the saleroom sold for £348,750, mid-estimate money.
Although 16 Astons did not sell at the Newport Pagnell auction this year and 21 of the vendor reserves were too high for potential buyers at Silverstone, nearly £9.5m had nonetheless been bet on classics futures at the two head-to-head sales on the same Saturday afternoon with not a politician in sight.