1963 Goldfinger Aston Martin DB5, the world’s most famous car, was found


Widely referred to as Goldfinger DB5, it is also considered the world’s most famous car, a title it shares with the equally iconic Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic La Car Noire. Another thing these two vehicles have in common is that they both went missing at some point and were never found. It took an art detective 24 years of uninterrupted work to finally find the DB5, which apparently resides in a private collection in the Middle East.

This is the most compelling DB5 compelling story, and it seems to have a happy ending. If the vehicle is indeed salvaged, it is estimated to be worth over $ 25 million, which would also make it the most expensive DB5 ever.

For the 1964 James Bond movie The golden finger with Sir Sean Connery in the lead, EON Productions spoke to Aston Martin about buying a new car. That car was the DB5, with the brand delivering four units in total for the film: two of them were used in actual production and two served as promotional vehicles. Of the first two, one was the Effects Car, meaning it was equipped with all the gadgets and weapons one would expect from a James Bond vehicle, while the other was the road car, which was used for beauty photos.

The use of two vehicles was necessary because the DP / 216/1 chassis, the effects car, was so heavy from everything special effects genius John Stears and his team put on it that it hardly became controllable. In case you haven’t seen The golden fingerThe equipment included tire cutters, an ejection seat, retractable machine guns, smoke bombs, and water and oil sprayers. Basically the same gadgets that today’s collectors could get with DB5 Continuation cars.

After filming, EON returned both vehicles to Aston Martin, and the one we’re interested in was stripped of all the extra parts and sold as a regular DB5. Certainly aware of the impact this would have on its value, the first owner did not hesitate to restore it to its cinematic glory, using exact replicas of the gadgets. Until 1986, the DB5 was traded several times, with each transaction increasing its market value.

In 1986, Anthony V. Pugliese III bought it at auction for $ 250,000, excluding fees. A true Renaissance man, Pugliese is a Florida real estate developer and businessman with close ties to the art world and the showbiz industry. He is also a well-known pop culture memorabilia collector, and perhaps one of the nation’s greatest. At one point, his collection included the works of Christopher Reeve Superman costumes, the steel hat of Oddjob from The golden finger, the canes of Charlie Chaplin, the hat of the wicked witch of the west of the Wizard of Oz, and the Colt Cobra .38 that Jack Ruby used to kill Lee Harvey Oswald. The Goldfinger DB5 fits perfectly.

Immediately after the purchase, Pugliese insured the vehicle for 16 times its value, which many thought was a telltale sign that he had certain plans for it and which they rhyme with. “Insurance fraud.” Yet Pugliese kept the car until 1997 and, more importantly, there was never any evidence linking it to what happened next.

Right out of a robbery James Bond film, on the night of June 18, 1997, thieves broke into a hangar at the Boca Raton airport in Florida and fled with the car. They sliced ​​open the airport fence and lightly opened the hangar door, then simply dragged the car onto a platform. Security was lax in the area prior to 2001, and they had been made aware of the exact location of the car, as nearby sheds also contained valuable vehicles and artwork, but nothing else was found. been hit. The only clues left were the tire tracks from when the DB5 was dragged outside.

Insurance paid Pugliese $ 4.2 million and offered a reward of $ 100,000 for any information on the location of the vehicle, but the reality was that it was simply missing. Pouf. Theories claimed he was flown on a cargo plane and shipped overseas, or possibly thrown into the ocean to claim insurance. Others believed the car had never left the United States and that Pugliese may have hidden it in one of its secure storage facilities.

In August last year, Christopher Marinello, managing director of Art Recovery International, hired by the insurer to track down DB5, reported that after 24 years he had promising clues as to its possible location. It was not at the bottom of the ocean, but in the Middle East. At the time, Marinello was promoting an upcoming podcast on recovery efforts, titled James Bond’s Great Car Theft, therefore, he had reason to remain vague. He then restricted the search to Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain, saying the vehicle was in a private collection.

Apparently the serial numbers have been verified, and this is James Bond’s missing holy grail. Marinello won’t say exactly where he is, but he’s convinced the current owner has no idea he’s in possession of stolen property. “I think they should do everything possible to have a low-key and confidential discussion on how we get the title of this iconic vehicle”, he told The Telegraph in an older interview.

At the time of going to press, the missing 1963 Aston Martin DB5 has not been recovered. When – and if – it does, if it reappears in the specialty market, it could sell for well over $ 25 million. And, hopefully, tell a story to match.

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