No superlatives will be used to describe the condition of the 1964 Aston Martin DB5 that will be offered at Bonham’s Monaco auction on Friday. In fact, Bonhams will dutifully point out that the automobile’s paint is chipped and faded, the metal is rusted, the leather seats are ripped and cracked, and the filthy, corroded engine hasn’t been started in two decades. Yet, this rusting hulk is expected to bring as much as $266,000.
That’s because only 983 examples of the classic James Bond Aston were ever made. More important to some collectors: it’s a genuine barn find, an original automobile that can be restored to the specifications of the owner.
Bonhams is a British auction house that was founded in 1793, almost 100 years before the automobile was invented. While the company specializes in fine art and antiques, it has sold some of the world’s most rare and expensive automobiles. The company’s Monaco auction is an annual event that is officially titled “Les Grandes Marques à Monaco.” This year’s auction will be held at the Musée des Voitures du Prince in Monte Carlo.
The automobile expected to bring the highest price is a 1950 Ferrari 166/195S Cabriolet. The rare sports car, one of only a few built to this configuration, features coachwork by Vignale. Bonhams expects it to sell for as much as $1.6 million.
Those who would prefer to buy an automobile in far better condition than the DB5 will be have many from which to choose.
Other interesting choices include an alloy-bodied 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB, estimated at $905,000-$1.1 million; a Ferrari F40 which competed in European motorsports events ($306,000-$372,000); a 1938 Jaguar SS100 that won its class in the 1938 Welsh Motor Rally ($319,000-$346,000); and a concours-winning Jaguar XK120 ($100,000-$153,000).
On the lower end of the scale is a 1970 Fiat 500 Jolly beach car replica (a cross between a dune buggy and a surrey with a fringe on top). It’s expected to sell for a mere $10,500-$16,000.
An authentic Jolly is on the block as well, but it should sell for a jolly-bit more. Its sale price is estimated at $26,600-$40,000.