Known for building gorgeous cars and winning major races for more than a century, there’s more to Aston Martin than its connection to James Bond. And for that past 19 years, Bonhams has been celebrating the storied marque with an auction dedicated to all things Aston Martin. In addition to hard-to-find parts and memorabilia galore, the auction features a few dozen mouth-watering Astons to choose from every year (plus a handful of projects). Typically, the sale has been held on Aston’s home turf in Newport Pagnell, but for 2018 it will take place near Reading, UK, in association with the Aston Martin Owners Club’s “Concours D’Etat.” Here are the six most noteworthy cars of the auction.
If Aston Martin had a golden age, it was the years spanning DB4–DB6 production, or 1958–70. During that time, Aston Martin won Le Mans, established the reputation of building high-end GT cars, and became a household name thanks to Goldfinger. The DB4 launched Tadek Marek’s newly designed alloy twin-cam six, and the Touring Superleggera bodywork established the look that would evolve in the DB5 and DB6. The car offered by Bonhams is an early example, the 26th DB4 built. It underwent a full restoration by a specialist that was finished in 2014, so it should have no needs, and it is currently fitted with a five-speed gearbox while the original four-speed is included in the sale.
The DB5 is arguably the most attractive of the David Brown era road cars, and since everybody wants to be like Bond, the connection to 007 helps make it one of the most valuable Aston Martins as well. It’s also rarer than either the DB4 or the DB6. This one was in single-family ownership for decades, and aside from a single repaint it is totally unrestored. It’s been consistently maintained and has been a proven event car, so it appears ready to enjoy.
Any DB2/4 is a special car, and with fewer than 800 built, it is also extremely rare. The most common body style was a four-seater with a hatchback rear, but a two-seat fixed head coupe and a drophead were also available. Surprisingly, the two-seater is even rarer than the drophead with just 34 built, this two-tone green example being one of them. Some also believe its engine is a pre-production DB4 unit. It previously sold at Bonhams’ Goodwood Festival of Speed sale four years ago for $365,900.
Classic Aston Martin convertibles (Volantes in Aston speak) are typically way more valuable than their closed cousins, largely due to the fact that they are significantly rarer. For example, there were 1575 closed DB6s compared to 178 Volantes. And of those 178, just 38 were late Mk2 versions like this. The Mk2 has flared wheel arches and wider wheels, and often sell for a little more. This one is a consistently maintained older restoration with documented ownership history from new.
Aston Martin didn’t start using the “Volante” name until the DB6, so the open DB5 was just dubbed a good-old-fashioned convertible. Just 123 were built compared to over 900 coupes, so it’s a highly collectible version of an already very collectible car. This example was converted to a ZF five-speed in period and has been restored with the exception of the original red leather interior.
The DBS marked a major departure for Aston Martin as the voluptuous curves of the 1960s gave way to the square edges and sharp creases of the ’70s. It also marked the company’s move to V-8 engines and was the last production Aston under David Brown’s ownership, which ended in 1972. The DBS offered by Bonhams is actually the prototype for the DBS model, retained by the factory for development and all original aside from a repaint. That makes it one of the more significant cars in the sale despite its relatively modest presale estimate.