1963 Aston Martin DB5, bearing the registration plate seen in Goldfinger. Photos courtesy Miami Auto Museum.
As a globe-trotting superspy, James Bond not only had a girl in every port, but a car and maybe a boat or aircraft in every exotic locale too. That makes for quite the collection, and one such assemblage of vehicles associated with Ian Fleming’s best-known character recently came up for grabs, with a few strings attached: The buyer must take delivery of all 59 items as a single lot, the non-negotiable price is 20 million British pounds ($33.4 million), and a license to kill is not included.
The collection, offered by Miami-based real estate developer Michael Dezer, covers films from 1963′s From Russia With Love (the Fairey Huntress boat) to 2012′s Skyfall (Audi A5, Land Rover), and includes just about every form of motorized transportation imaginable. The collection has two sports cars equipped with skis, including an Aston Martin used in filming The Living Daylights, along with the Lotus Esprit used in For Your Eyes Only; a Soviet T55 seen in Goldeneye, as well the “Dragon Tank” seen in Dr. No; a helicopter shell (procured for, though not used in, The Spy Who Loved Me), a hovercraft from Die Another Day, the Little Nellie Autogiro (acquired for You Only Live Twice, but not used in filming), the Parahawk glider from The World is Not Enough, and a replica of the Mini Bede Jet seen in Octopussy.
Toyota 2000 GT convertible replica, similar to the car seen in You Only Live Twice.
Of the collection’s 59 vehicles, about 42 were actually used in filming the Bond movies, while the rest are replicas. Among the cars claimed to have been used in filming are the 1971 Ford Mustang driven on two wheels in Diamonds Are Forever and an Aston martin Vanquish from Die Another Day. Replicas include an AMC Hornet similar to the one seen in The Man with the Golden Gun, a Citroën 2CV like the one seen in For Your Eyes Only, and, according to BMT 216A: The James Bond Vehicle Library, a Toyota 2000 GT, missing its top and equipped with the same communications equipment seen in You Only Live Twice. As fans of Japanese sports cars will point out, Toyota never officially built the 2000 GT in a convertible variant; instead, the topless cars were created especially to accommodate Sean Connery, who was too tall to fit in the 2000 GT coupe. It’s also not clear if the BMW Z8 in Dezer’s Bond collection was the car used in the filming of The World is Not Enough, as this really wasn’t a BMW; because the automaker didn’t have a production example ready in time for filming, Z8 body panels were fitted to a Dax Cobra V8, which served as a stand-in for the actual car.
As Britain’s Express newspaper pointed out, the lot is being offered for sale exclusively by U.K. brokers Stuart and Barbara Donovan, likely due to their familiarity with its contents. Dezer bought the bulk of the collection in 2011 from the now-defunct James Bond Museum in Keswick, Cumbria, England, and Stuart Donovan was the broker behind this original sale. Since then, Dezer has added to the collection and displayed it in the Miami Auto Museum at the Dezer Collection.
In a phone conversation, Dezer said that he’s in no hurry to sell the collection, which is priced high to eliminate tire kickers. In fact, Dezer admitted that he’s fine with keeping the collection if the right buyer can’t be found, although it’s likely he’ll split its contents between his museum in Miami and Hot Rod City, a combination showroom and auto museum owned by Dezer in Las Vegas. Tourists in Miami, Dezer admitted, prefer the beach to museums, while tourists in Las Vegas are perpetually looking for new things to see and do.
Donovan describes the Dezer Collection as the “best private collection of Bond cars in the world,” and in addition to the lot’s 59 vehicles, the sale will also include Bond-related memorabilia, meaning that a new museum is simply a very large check and sufficient exhibition space away from being a reality.