HomeThe MarketPeter Ustinov’s Aston Martin stars in Bonhams’ sale

Peter Ustinov’s Aston Martin stars in Bonhams’ sale


eter Ustinov at the wheel of the 1962 Aston Martin DB4 Vantage convertible | Bonhams photos
Peter Ustinov at the wheel of the 1962 Aston Martin DB4 Vantage convertible | Bonhams photos

A rare and highly sought-after 1962 Aston Martin DB4 Series IV Vantage convertible is spectacular enough, but the car offered at Bonhams’ all-Aston Martin auction May 9 also boasts heavy-hitter celebrity provenance.

This Aston, one of just nine DB4 Vantage convertibles with left-hand drive, was originally owned by the late British actor, playwright and diplomat Peter Ustinov, who had the car delivered to him in royal fashion at the Montreux Palace Hotel in Switzerland in 1962.

Ustinov specified the high-performance Vantage engine, and he ordered the car as a left hooker because he intended to use it on the European continent, which he did through the 1970s. The convertible’s desirable specifications and celebrity history boosts Bonham’s value estimate to £900,000 to £1,000,000, or $1.4 million to $1.5 million at today’s exchange rate.

The Ustinov DB4 was later repainted to Royal Claret
The Ustinov DB4 was later repainted to Royal Claret

The Ustinov convertible is one of more than 50 Aston Martins that will cross the block at Bonham’s annual sale at Aston Martin Works in Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, England. The sale should be of special interest for potential U.S. and European buyers since more than 25 percent of the cars are left-hand drive, which is unusual for an automaker that built predominantly right-drive cars.

The sale also includes 21 of the most-desirable DB4, DB5 and DB6 models, which Bonhams says is the highest number offered in this sale’s history. The sale also has grown 30 percent compared with last year’s Aston Martin auction.

“This year’s sale features a selection of significantly rare left-hand-drive Aston Martins from the David Brown era,” said Tim Schofield, Bonhams UK head of motor cars, in a news release. “At the time, only a small number of left-hand-drive models were produced by the luxury marque, making the models incredibly rare. This year’s sale – in which more than a quarter of cars are left-hand drive – is very unusual indeed.”

This DB4 restoration project is valued at $300,000-plus
This DB4 restoration project is valued at $300,000-plus

With prices for Aston Martins roaring into huge numbers during the past few years, even restoration projects go for premium prices. Bonhams has a few of those scattered among the gleaming restored and preserved examples, such as a distressed 1962 DB4 Series III sedan that despite needing everything after 30 years off the road is valued at £200,000 to £220,000, or $310,000 to $340,000.

A more “affordable” project is a crusty, rusty 1958 DB Mark III sedan with coachwork by Tickford pegged at £30,000 to £50,000, or $46,000 to $77,000.

A number of the convertible DB models at the sale cross into the million-dollar range, with the highest valuation reserved for a 1965 DB5 convertible restored to Vantage performance with a pre-auction estimate of £1.1 million to £1.2 million, or $1.7 million to $1.8 million.

The sale also includes hundreds of pieces of Aston Martin automobilia and parts, plus a 1970 David Brown Selectamatic farm tractor, which would be just the thing for plowing the fields on your British country estate.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

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