DB-era Aston Martins top sellers at British auction

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A 1964 Aston Martin DB4 Series 5 Vantage convertible was the top seller at the home-base auction | Bonhams
A 1964 Aston Martin DB4 Series 5 Vantage convertible was the top seller at the home-base auction | Bonhams photos

Aston Martins of the 1960s shined brightest during Bonhams’ annual Aston Martin Works sale Saturday at the company’s historic home at Newport Pagnell in England.

The Aston-centric auction included 51 cars as well as loads of pricey collector items related to the esteemed British marque, among them such unusual pieces as a full-size styling mockup of the recent Aston Martin One-77 that sold for £10,625 ($15,597 at the current exchange rate).

James Bond's favorite, a DB5 Vantage coupe, attracted strong bids | Bonhams
James Bond’s favorite, a DB5 Vantage coupe, attracted strong bidding

Only 26 cars sold on the block for a just-over 50 percent sales rate, and few of the auction’s headline offerings were sold. The no-sales included the most-publicized Aston Martin in the auction, a 1953 DB3S works race car once owned by renowned company head David Brown, driven by a number of motorsports legends and expected to sell for as much as $10 million. The restored DB3S failed to sell with a top bid of £5 million ($7.36 million).

Bonhams did not provide an auction total in its news release about the results, but published reports state that it is considerably lower than the 2015 auction total of £10 million ($14.7 million). All sales results include auction premiums.

The 2016 auction results were led by one of Aston Martin’s most-sought-after classic models, a 1963 DB4 Series 5 Vantage convertible, one of just 70 produced, that rang the bell with a £1,009,500 ($1.49 million) sale. That was followed by tied sales of £807,900 ($1.19 million) for a James Bond-style 1965 DB5 Vantage coupe and a 1964 DB5 convertible, which sold above expectations.

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The 1955 Lagonda Drophead Coupe had Fangio provenance
The 1955 Lagonda Drophead Coupe project has Fangio provenance

An auction highlight was the rough but rare 1955 Lagonda 3-Litre Drophead Coupe that boasts the provenance of having been used by reigning Formula 1 world champion Juan Manuel Fangio. The restoration project sold for £89,420 ($131,640).

Other notable sales included a 2000 Aston Martin Vantage V600 Coupe, sold for £449,500 ($661,730); a 1968 Aston Martin DB6 Volante, sold for £617,500 ($909,052); and the ex-Works demonstrator 1953 Aston Martin DB2/4 Mark I Drophead Coupe, sold for £326,300 ($480,363).

“We’ve achieved some excellent figures at the day’s sale, with many models fetching far above estimate,” Tim Schofield, Bonhams UK Head of Motoring, said in the news release. ““We continue to see buyers vying to take home these magnificent classic Aston Martins, with models of the David Brown ‘DB’ era enduringly popular.”

Bonhams next sale takes place June 24 during the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

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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.