HomeCar CultureCommentaryCould James Bond’s stolen Aston Martin be in the Middle East?

Could James Bond’s stolen Aston Martin be in the Middle East?


In 1997, an Aston Martin DB5 that was driven by Sean Connery in the James Bond flick Goldfinger was stolen from a storage facility in Boca Raton, Florida. More than 20 years later, the car may have been found.

“A few months ago, I received a very interesting tip that it may be in the Middle East and we’ve been investigating that tip,” said Christopher Marinello, chief executive of Art Recovery International, a group working to track down the car.

Marinello said the car was one of four used for the 1964 film. Two of those were promotional vehicles, another served as a second stunt car used for high-speed scenes but the stolen car — chassis DP/216/1 — was the star.

“This car was the first one,” Marinello said. “It had all the gadgets installed.”

And what a list of gadgets it was. At the time of the theft, the 1964 DB5 was equipped with a rotating license plate, a device in the hubcap to disable tires and, believe it or not, machine guns.

“There’s not too many cars that have that array of material,” he said.

Another look at Sean Connery standing next to the DB5, which is regarded as one of the most iconic James Bond cars. | Facebook photo
Another look at Sean Connery standing next to the DB5, which is regarded as one of the most iconic James Bond cars. | Facebook photo

Marinello said the one-of-a-kind car has been valued between $10 million and $15 million, but it could fetch more.

“This is one of the most iconic cars of all time. It’s hard to put a number on it.”

That may have been the motivation for the theft, as the thieves had to use some rather Bond-esque tactics to steal a car that was purchased for $250,000.

“Someone or a group of individuals broke into that storage unit, dragged the car out by its axle,” Marinello said. “From the reports at the time, the car put up quite a fight — there were skid marks leading all the way up to where a cargo plane would have been located. We believe the car was on a cargo plane and spirited away somewhere.”

Marinello would not say which country the car was thought to be in or who may be in possession of it, citing a need to keep the investigation secret. However, he did ask anyone with information about the car to come forward.

“A car like this needs to be serviced, parts need to be found, professionals need to be called in,” he said. “This is not something one takes to the local gas station and have service done on it. There might be other people out there who have seen the car, who have serviced the car, who know where the car is, have been shown the car. That’s really what we’re looking for right now.”

Art Recovery International was offering a six-figure reward for information. Tips can be emailed.

Marinello said his group was working closely with law enforcement and would not interfere with any ongoing criminal investigations.

“I have been approached by the FBI and they’ve offered their assistance in recovering this vehicle if it is overseas or in a country that’s difficult to operate in,” he said.

Marinello compared the theft of the DB5 to the 1990 heist of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. He said the vehicle is a work of art and should be shared with the world.

“As a collector of classic vehicles myself, I understand how important this vehicle is,” he said. “It’s a stunning, beautiful, iconic vehicle and I think everybody would like to see it returned.”

Carter Nacke
Carter Nacke
Carter Nacke is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He began his career at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix, the largest news radio station in Arizona, where he specialized in breaking news and politics. A burgeoning interest in classic cars took him to the Journal in 2018. He's still on the hunt for his dad's old 1969 Camaro.


  1. As a past silver DB5 owner in the 80s and 90s I always payed attention to stuff like this. The car belonged to Anthony Pugilese in Florida, many people thought there was some insurance hanky panky going on. Glad to see the car exists (perhaps) there was concern that it was destroyed or cut up al la Anthony Bamfords Ferrai’s. Many very expensive cars seem to just disappear on order and reappear in towns and in collections where money is no object, in other countries. Specially in the middle east. In fact as i write this I am holding the card that Pugliese made up when he owned the car showing snow capped Mts in the back ground and a pic of the car and pic of serial number brass data plate with DP216 on it and Brit plate on the front reading 6633PP. The card reads, Global stars never retire they just wait for global roles. then on the back there are tons of detail on the car with Anthony’s address in Boca

  2. Oh, one more thing, the car was referred to as the DB5 prototype on the card. Engine serial number on the data plate was 400/P/4 being that it was the first 3995cc production engine from the UK factory. There were three authorized cars built "replicas" as they were called but DP/216/1 was the star car. DP/216/1 was also used in the movie Thunderball and Cannonball Run. The hard cover book titled "The Most Famous Car In The World" reviews the history of the original and its three replicas. I’m reading and making notes here for readers from the card I have in my hand.

  3. Couple more details reading from the Pugeliese card on the DB5. The car is referred to as the DB5 prototype as serial number DP/216/1 with prototype engine serial number 400/P/4 the first 3995cc engine produced by the factory in the UK. There were three authorized replicas made for the movie but DP/216/1 was the star car

  4. Like many,many ,many other people that find themselves in the same situation. I myself had a Classic stolen right out from my driveway. It’s been since May 2011 and no were to be found. Searched and searched everything with rewards put out. And still nothing. These theves no when to spot your car, follow you or run your tag illegally get your address and just wait for the perfect moment. Mine was gone between 12:15am and 6:40am!
    Dubai is the Hot spot for American Muscle cars… with gas there so so so cheap…
    It’s a big money maker and law enforcement just don’t seem to care. Comments like Gee I hope you had insurance… People like me though we had insurance on the car… Don’t want it stollen.
    Anyone find a 1984 HURST OLDS out there let me know…

    • Not to challenge the theory that this car was loaded on a Cargo plane at the Boca Raton Executive Airport causes me to question if this is even possible. As a former Chairman of the Boca Raton Airport Authority and Board member for 10 years, an air craft of the size needed to transport an automobile of this nature is highly thoughtful. The article did not state where the Cargo plane took off so it may have been taken to another airport in West Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale who could accommodate such an aircraft.


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