A big screen Bond hero on four wheels
In the 1960s, two near-identical cars were commissioned by Eon Productions for filming, with each fulfilling various roles; one for stunt driving and chase sequences and therefore needing to be lightweight and fast, and the other for interior shots and close-ups in promotional activity, to be equipped with functional modifications created by Stears.
As Desmond Llewelyn’s legendary weapons-master Q would go on to explain to Sean Connery’s 007, the Snow Shadow Gray-painted DB5 was equipped with front and rear hydraulic over-rider rams on the bumpers, a Browning .30 calibre machine gun in each fender, wheel-hub mounted tire-slashers, a raising rear bullet-proof screen, an in-dash radar tracking scope, oil, caltrop and smoke screen dispensers, revolving license plates, and a passenger-seat ejection system. Although never used during the film, the car was also equipped with a telephone in the driver’s door to communicate with MI6 headquarters and a hidden compartment under the driver’s seat containing several weapons.
The smash success of Goldfinger was also a success for Aston Martin, which lead to DB5 sales surging to fuel an unprecedented level of production. The producers at Eon also took notice of the enormous appeal and potential marketing opportunities. In preparation for Thunderball’s release, the company ordered two more DB5 saloons, receiving chassis nos. DB5/2008/R, the example on offer at RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale, and DB5/2017/R. The two cars were fitted with all of Stears’ Goldfinger modifications and were shipped to the United States for promotional duties for Thunderball.