Bond is back. And to mark the occasion it seemed a good time to pull together a special-agent version of our luxury investment index, which tracks the value of 10 investments of passion including classic cars.
Well, OK, it’s really an excuse for me to write about Aston Martins, arguably the most iconic of British sports cars (sorry Jaguar), but having been born in Newport Pagnell, the home of the Aston, I’m a bit biased.
But it’s not all about cars, it would be hard to talk about Bond without mentioning his favourite tipples – and he really does get through a few, especially in the books. We’ve also worked out how much his flat might be worth now.
So, how much would it cost you to drive, drink and live like James Bond?
Barring a few aberrations – I can forgive the Lotus, at least it was British, but the less said about Pierce Brosnan’s flirtation with BMWs the better – 007 has always driven Aston Martins since MI6 forced him to give up his original Bentley 4.5 litre both for business and pleasure.
The DB5 – complete with ejector seat, is of course the iconic Bond car, appearing in Goldfinger for the first time and coming to a bullet-strafed end in Skyfall, although it does reappear briefly in Spectre.
In the books, however, it was an earlier version, the DB 2/4 Mark III, that Bond drove, but when the film Goldfinger was produced the DB5 was Aston’s latest model.
As well as the DB5, a host of later models have featured in the films, right up to the special concept DB10 that Daniel Craig drives in Spectre.
To find out how much it would cost to own a Bond car I recruited Dietrich Hatlapa of HAGI, which provides the classic car data for our Luxury Investment Index, to join my mission.
Dietrich has provided a handy guide comparing the original price of each of the Astons with what they would cost now.
|Model||Film||Price when new||(year)||Price 2015||% change|
|DB 2/4 Mark III||Book||£2,600||1955||£200,000||
|DB5 Saloon||Goldfinger + others||£4,175||1963- 1965||£750,000||
|DBS||On Her Majesty’s Secret Service||£4,473||1967-1972||£65,000||
|V8||The Living Daylights||£7,000||1972-1989||£85,000||
|V12 Vanquish||Die Another Day||£180,000||2001-7||£100,000||
|DBS V12||Casino Royale||£160,000||2007-12||£90,000||
Staying true to the novels and buying a DB 2/4 Mark III will save you a cool £550,000 compared with getting your hands on a DB5, which now sells for around £750,000 – almost 18,000% more than it cost to buy, although of course that doesn’t take into account inflation. Convertibles tend to fetch over £1m.
However, if you’d bought one in 1997 you could have paid as little as £25,000, according to Dietrich, who says the bottom had fallen out of the classic car market at that point. Since then of course prices have spiralled. Hindsight!
If £750,000 sounds a bit too much, your cheapest option for obtaining the classic Bond look would be to go for the DBS, which was driven by George Lazenby in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Hardly a giveaway at £85,000, but I think it’s a very good looking car.
Despite its iconic status however, it’s not a DB5 that has achieved the highest auction price for an Aston Martin road car.
That honour goes to a 1960 DB4 GT Bertone “Jet” Coupe sold by Bonhams for £3,249,500.
Bonhams holds an annual auction at the old Aston Martin works in Newport Pagnell and over the past five years says it has cleared more than 90% of the lots on offer, which apparently is very good going.
The 2015 auction grossed over £10m and for the real aficionado some of the notable sales are included below.
1966 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible to ‘Vantage’ Specification, sold for £1,524,700
LHR 1962 Aston Martin DB4 Series IV Vantage Convertible, sold for £1,513,500
1962 Aston Martin DB4 4.0-Litre Sports Saloon, sold for £830,000
Image courtesy of Bonhams
Bond has always enjoyed the odd drink – if you’ve ever read the books you’d wonder he could ever shoot straight the amount he puts away – so out of interest I phoned up Peter Robson at Wine Owners, which puts together the Knight Frank Fine Wine Icons Index, to see if he had any leads.
Obviously a Bond fan himself, Peter rustled up the following guide to notable wines drunk by 007 quicker than I could say ‘shaken not stirred’. Handily for the latter day Bond wannabe who can’t stretch to the original vintage he’s also included some more recent comparable options.
Taittinger Blanc de Blancs 1943 – Casino Royale
The first drink Bond orders in the novel Casino Royale, he describes it as “probably the finest champagne in the world”, and Taittinger was Ian Fleming’s favourite marque. Taittinger’s Prestige Cuvee, Comtes de Champagne, is probably the best contemporary equivalent (the cuvee was launched in 1953, coincidentally the same year Casino Royale was published).
Best recent vintages would be 2002 and 2004, with 1996 a strong option for drinker who like older champagne.
1943 Taittinger Blanc de Blancs – could still be drinkable but so rare almost impossible to price
1996 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Champagne- £184
Bollinger R.D. 1975 – The Living Daylights
Substituted by Bond for the ‘questionable’ brand included in a hamper for defecting Russian General Koskov. Bollinger makes frequent appearances as a favourite, in its Non-Vintage, Grande Annee and R.D. cuvees. The latest release of Bollinger R.D is 1997, 1990 is probably the best to drink now.
Bollinger R.D. Extra Brut Champagne – none offered worldwide. 1976 £641
Bollinger R.D. Extra Brut Champagne 1990 – £200
Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac Premier Cru Classe 1947 – Goldfinger
All the wines served to Bond by Goldfinger in the 1959 novel are exceptional, but perhaps the most awesome is the legendary 1947 Mouton Rothschild. It’s still possible to drink this amazing wine if you’re lucky enough to find a bottle. At 12 years old in 1959 the 1947 was perhaps a little on the young side – the nearest equivalent would be a relatively recent great vintage like 2005.
Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac Premier Cru Classe 1947 – £3,194
Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac Premier Cru Classe 2005 – £367
Chateau Angelus Saint Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classe A 1982 – Casino Royale
Bond and Vesper Lynd drink this wine travelling by train in the 2006 film Casino Royale. Angelus is a great estate, enjoying well deserved favour, but the 1982, though a great vintage in the region, wasn’t their finest hour. Drink better than Bond with the awesome 1990.
Chateau Angelus Saint Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classe A – £375
And as of course the experts at Knight Frank know a thing or two about London houses, it would be remiss of me not to look at how the value of James Bond’s house has changed, and whether it could even outperform his car.
To be fair, Bond is generally too busy serving queen and country to spend much time lounging around at home, but his residence is mentioned in the novels and 007 scholars reckon they have pinpointed the location that Ian Fleming used as the basis for his hero’s house.
Apparently James Bond’s home was a ground-floor flat in Wellington Square just off the Kings Road – a pretty groovy place for our super-spy to wind down when not bumping of baddies in the swinging 60s.
Rupert Des Forge is our special agent in that part of town, so I asked him for some numbers. Apparently ground floor flats don’t actually exist now in Wellington Square, but if they did Rupert reckons one would set you back about £6m.
Back in 1964 when Bond first hopped into his DB 5 a similar property would have cost around £15,000. That gives a startling increase of almost 40,000% – even better than the DB 5.
So there you have it, to get the car, the house and a few cases of wine to recreate the classic Bond look you’re going to need the best part of £7m.
But it feels like something is missing. Aha, of course, where would Bond be without his trusty Walther PPK? Well, for just £400 you can buy a legitimately deactivated period weapon. Just don’t go waving it around in public.