The original DB5 from ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘Thunderball’ – the ‘effects car’ as it was known – is one of those enduring mysteries. Aston Martin still dines out on the car today, with the recent run of continuation cars proving the case. We all know where it came from and what it did. But do you know what happened to the James Bond DB5 after it was returned to Aston Martin after its last outing in Thunderball? Its story is every bit as fascinating as its on-screen presence.
My father buys The James Bond DB5.
In 1968, my father, Gavin Keyzar, had just bought a Rover 2000 as a company car. But he really wanted a DB5, so he set about finding one within budget. In the end, he contacted Fred Hartley at Newport Pagnell after looking at a few others that were too expensive. As it happens, they did have one that might be in his budget. One that had also been in the recent James Bond films. So, the next day he went up to Newport Pagnell to see it, made an offer of £1,800 on the spot and bought it just like that. And on a summer’s evening in 1968, he collected it from Aston Martin’s London showroom in Piccadilly.
For a car now reported to be worth over £15m were it to come to light again, £1,800 seems like quite good value. Because of its life as the Goldfinger car and subsequent world tour before Thunderball, there were quite a few imperfections. Hence, it was cheaper than the other DB5s for sale then. In fact, he had to take it back to Newport Pagnell under warranty twice. The car was delivered with the now famous BMT 216A registration number plate, even though it had already been pre-sold to Anthony Bamford of JCB fame. Bamford then registered it to one of the two promotional DB5s he was buying. But, for a few months, BMT 216A was seen roaming the streets, schools and shops around Chislehurst in Kent. Eventually, my father chose 66 33 PP from a list of Newport Pagnell-based registrations.
Time to sell the car.
When one of the promotional cars went up for sale in 1970, it was being advertised as THE James Bond car. So, knowing he had the original (and best) and being a canny salesman, my father decided to have the gadgets reinstalled. With the help of some engineering and coach-building firms in Kent, along with his electrical engineer brother Mike, the James Bond magic was restored. Of course, his idea was to make the car more sellable. And so, for nearly two years, the car was on the market, but amazingly not with much interest. Even what is now the Beaulieu Motor Museum said it wasn’t for them as they believed ‘there wouldn’t be sufficient interest in it by the public to warrant its purchase.’ Funny how times change.
However, in mid to late 1972, the car was finally sold to Utah-based jeweller Richard Losee. From then to Anthony Pugliese III of Florida and then to…well, who knows?
Will the Aston, our former family car and the most famous car in the world, ever be found again? Yes, I think so one day. I have no memory of it at all, as I was barely two when my father sold it. But I would like to know her again. And I know he would dearly love to see her again too.