In the 25 James Bond films released from 1962 to the present, the seven different actors who were the famous secret agent have used and driven vehicles of all kinds: in the air, on the water and on the road. Among other things, motorcycles, scooters and even a tuk-tuk. But above all, dozens of cars: from the famous Aston Martins – which are as much part of the character’s mythology as the “agitated, not mixed” Vodka Martini and the “license to kill” – to the Maserati Quattroporte or the Land Rover Defender of certain scenes from No Time To Die, the latest film in the series.
As with many other things used in movies, James Bond movie cars are often preserved and celebrated for just being in one of those movies. Some end up in dedicated exhibitions, others still are sold at auction. On the occasion of the release of No Time To Die, Hagerty – an insurance company that also deals with car price assessments – then went to look (with all the necessary calculations and adjustments) at how much some of the cars that appeared in the James Bond films were sold. And he noted that among the cases considered, the value of cars increased by an average of one thousand percent (and that in one case it increased by just under five thousand percent) compared to the average value of the same cars not featured in films.
As pointed out to Bloomberg Jonathan Klinger, executive of Hagerty, is not a common thing: “Often the fact that a famous person has owned a car does not increase its value much, it only happens with people like Elvis Presley or Marilyn Monroe”.
The car whose value has risen nearly five thousand percent over the value of another similar car not featured in a Bond film is the Lotus Esprit S1 seen in the 1977 film. The spy who loved me and which is nicknamed “Wet Nellie” (“Wet Nellie” (because in fact, among its many qualities and its many options it is also amphibious).
In 2013, Hagerty wrote, Elon Musk paid more than $ 700,000 to win it at a Sotheby’s auction. According to Hagerty’s calculations, just over 10 thousand would have been enough for an equivalent model not led by Bond. The model bought by Musk among other things does not have wheels, because it was used only for aquatic scenes. Also according to Hagerty, the same model had been lost after the shooting of the film, and it only came out in 1989, when, because it was obviously not working, it was sold for a hundred dollars.
The second car with “the greatest difference in value to its counterparts” is the 1974 AMC Hornet of Agent 007 – The man with the golden gun, Roger Moore’s second Bond. The car in the film was sold in 2017, again at Sotheby’s, for just over 89 thousand pounds and “when compared to the price that car had in 1974 – equal to about 5 thousand pounds – the jump in value was 1,614 percent. “. Even today there are similar models that, used, are sold for around 10 thousand euros.
In third place in the Hagerty ranking there is instead a much more recent car, on which it is easier to make calculations and to have terms of comparison: it is in fact the Land Rover Defender 110 Double Cab SVX that in Spectre, released in 2015, is shown in the Austrian Alps. One of the cars (more than one were used in the film) was sold for 365 thousand pounds, about 400 thousand euros. In this case, the increase over the average price of that same model at the time of sale was 940 percent.
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Among other cars, Hagerty also takes into consideration the Aston Martin DB5, Bond’s car par excellence, used by Bond in Agent 007 – Goldfinger mission and then reappeared several times, the most recent of which in No Time To Die, on the streets of Italy.
In 2019, one of these cars was sold, again at Sotheby’s, for nearly £ 4.67 million – more than € 5 million, and 759 percent more than a ‘standard DB5’. It must be said that there are also other DB5s that have appeared in Bond films that, over time, have been sold for less, but still much more than the standard price.
Generally, all models being equal, it seems to matter a lot what a certain car was used for in the film or in its promotion, if it was driven by the actor who was Bond or just a stuntman and if that car was the “protagonist” of a scene more famous and remembered than others.
In his analysis, Hagerty also cited the Aston Martin DBS V12’s Quantum of Solace (+ 245 percent compared to that model’s average value) and the Aston Martin DBS-6 from the 1969 film Agent 007 – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (+ 182 percent). The latter was bought in 1978 by an apparently unsuspecting Australian buyer who, according to Hagerty, still owns it and who, interviewed by ABC News shortly after the purchase he said: “The ad said it was the used car in a movie, but I didn’t believe it because – no offense – nobody believes anyone who sells a used car.”
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