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The majority shareholder in Aston Martin has reportedly already been talking to potential buyers, including Toyota and Indian giant Mahindra. Bond fans might consider the move is perfectly timed, with unmatcheable free marketing around the appearance of a vintage Aston Martin DB5 in the latest 007 movie, Skyfall, the eleventh in which the British luxury car brand has featured.
Skyfall hits Australian cinemas on November 22, but is already raking in ticket box takings overseas that could see it the biggest-grossing film in the series. The publicity could help the sale by Kuwaiti company Investment Dar, which holds 64 per cent of Aston Martin and has appointed Rothschild bankers to consult on the sale, according to a report by business website Bloomberg.
Saying five people with knowledge of the sale had spoken to Bloomberg, the article cited two of them as explaining the sellers have hit a hurdle over price, with potential investors unwilling to shell out the 503 million pounds ($769 million) reported asking price.
That’s the amount Investment Dar paid for its share in Aston Martin five years ago, and is now said to be sought to help the Kuwaiti company clear sizeable debt. Aston Martin last year made a before-tax profit of just 76 million pounds ($117 million).
However Bloomberg says Investment Dar has denied it has put its share of the carmaker on the market, and that representatives of Mahindra and Toyota have declined to comment on the matter.
Skyfall sees the return of the quintessential Bond car, the Aston Martin DB5 voted the greatest 007 car in several online and magazine polls over the years. A silver-birch DB5 made its debut in Goldfinger in 1964 with an array of gadgets such as pop-out machine guns, bullet shield, tyre-shredding Boadicea-style wheels, an ejector seat, a car phone and revolving number plates which would be considered illegal in these days of speed cameras.
One of the two DB5s built specially for Goldfinger sold at auction for $4.1 million in 2010. The other was rebuilt as a regular road car and sold on, only to be stolen from its last owner in Florida.
While most people associate the British master spy with Astons, the original Ian Fleming books had him driving a Bentley. In a new book commissioned by Ian Fleming Publications, author Jeffery Deaver has returned 007 to a Bentley in the pages of Carte Blanche.
Despite Bond driving a Bentley in Fleming's books, his first car in a movie was a Sunbeam Alpine in the 1962 film Dr No. He didn't drive a Bentley until the second Bond flick, From Russia With Love, in 1963 in which the licensed-to-kill agent drove a Bentley Mark IV. He also drove Bentleys in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) and Moonraker (1979). It wasn't until the third Bond movie, Goldfinger in 1964, that Bond drove the famous DB5.
James Bond cars
Dr No (1962): Sunbeam Alpine, Chevrolet Bel Air convertible
From Russia With Love (1963): Bentley Mark IV
Goldfinger (1964): Aston Martin DB5, Rolls-Royce, Mercedes 190 coupe, Lincoln Continental, Ford Mustang convertible, Rolls-Royce Phantom III
Thunderball (1965): Aston Martin DB5, Ford Mustang convertible, BSA Lightning 650cc motorcycle, gyrocopter
You Only Live Twice (1967): Toyota 2000 GT, BMW 2000 CS
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969): Aston Martin DBS, Mercury Cougar, Bentley Mark II Continental, Rolls-Royce Corniche
Diamonds are Forever (1971): 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1, Triumph Stag, moonbuggy
Live And Let Die (1973): Glastron speedboat, double-decker London bus, Chevrolet Impala convertible, Mini Moke
The Man With The Golden Gun (1974): AMC Hornet and Matador, Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977): Lotus Esprit, Wetbike concept, Ford Cortina 2.3 Ghia, Mini Moke
Moonraker (1979): Bentley Mark IV, Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith II
For Your Eyes Only (1981): Citroen 2CV, Lotus Esprit Turbo, Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith II
Octopussy (1983): Merc-Benz 250 SE, BMW 5 Series, Alfa Romeo GTV
A View To A Kill (1985): Renault taxi, Ford LTD, Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II, Chevrolet Corvette C4, Jeep Cherokee (XJ)
The Living Daylights (1987): Aston Martin DBS and V8 Vantage, Audi 200 Quattro
Licence To Kill (1989): Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, Kenworth petrol tanker
GoldenEye (1995): BMW Z3 roadster, Aston Martin DB5, Russian tank, Ferrari 355
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997): Aston Martin DB5, BMW 750iL, BMW R1200C motorcycle
The World is Not Enough (1999): BMW Z8, Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow
Die Another Day (2002): Aston Martin Vanquish, Jaguar XKR, pink Ford Thunderbird convertible
Casino Royale (2006): Aston Martin DBS and DB5, Jaguar E Type Roadster, Fiat Panda 4x4, Ford Transit, Ford Mondeo
Quantum of Solace (2008): Aston Martin DBS V12, Alfa Romeo 159 & 156, Audi A6, Ford Ka & Edge, Jaguar XJ8, Volvo S40T5, Volkswagen Type 1.