James Bond Mercury Cougar sells for a record $481,000 in London
A 1969 Mercury Cougar XR-7 Cobra Jet convertible, one of several used in the 1969 James Bond action film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, sold for a world record £356,500 (about $481,000) at Bonhams Bond Street Sale in London on December 17.
The sale more than doubled the pre-sale estimate of £100,000–£150,000 ($130,000–$200,000) and easily eclipsed the previous Cougar record of $228,000 paid for a 1968 Mercury Cougar GTE XR-7 428 Cobra Jet in 2015. It’s also about five times the current #1 (Concours) condition value for a ’69 Cougar XR-7 Convertible, proving that the James Bond aura is about more than just bulletproof Aston Martins and swimming Lotus Esprits.
The Cougar in question played a starring role in the only Bond movie in which George Lazenby portrayed Agent 007. In the film, the car belongs Bond’s love interest, the Contessa Teresa (Tracy) di Vicenzo, played by the late Diana Rigg. Its most memorable moment is a nighttime chase scene during which Tracy (with Bond riding shotgun) flees her Mercedes-driving pursuers on snow and ice in the Swiss Alps, sliding into the middle of an ice race and taking out several competitors in the process. After a few laps, the Mercedes chase car flips and (of course) bursts into flames.
According to Bonhams, just three of the Cougars have survived, and this one was used in the barn scene in which Bond proposes to Tracy (one very rare twist in a 007 film). That means it was saved from the usual secret agent antics and crash damage, so it got through filming in good shape. It then remained with the same owner from 1990–2020, when it received a full body-off restoration but still retained the movie extras like the Kneissl skis, ski rack, and temporary French “visitor” registration plates. A member of Hagerty’s UK team looked over the car in person, described it as “smart, crisp, and an impressive car with known history,” and rated it in #2 (Excellent) condition.
Finished in Candy Apple Red over dark red leather, equipped with the optional XR-7 package and 428 Cobra Jet engine, and displaying a fresh high-quality restoration, this would be a very desirable car even without the Bond connection. The American boat would also be a standout on English roads, even without the ski rack. But lest you think your uncle’s Cougar is suddenly worth a half-million dollars, the vast majority of the money in this result is about the screen time. Despite it not being a “Bond car”—in the sense that Q didn’t build it and Bond didn’t drive it—movie magic can translate to big prices in the collector car world, and anything with a Bond connection sold in the UK (and on Bond Street, no less!) is always going to excite.
We’ll have fuller, more in-depth coverage of the Bonhams Bond Street sale next week on Hagerty Insider.