Dalai Lama 9.5; James Bond 9.9; Steve McQueen 11.4; Carrol Shelby 15.8; Karol Wojtyla 59.0

  • 27 March 2020
  • 4 min read
  • 6 images
Dalai Lama 9.5; James Bond 9.9; Steve McQueen 11.4; Carrol Shelby 15.8; Karol Wojtyla 59.0 image

“My name is Bond, James Bond, and my job is to increase the value of cars”. We’ve finally discovered how an agent of HMSS – Her Majesty’s Secret Service – can afford Aston Martins, Omega watches and trips to exotic locations, a lifestyle of a consummate billionaire rather than a state employee...

Let’s take the his most famous car, the Aston Martin DB5. At Pebble Beach they sold two at the same auction on the same day. The first one was white, left-hand drive (therefore more desirable because it is more practical in the USA), the fifth example produced and it went for $643,000. The DB5/2008/R frame, on the other hand, belonged to the world’s most famous spy, right hand drive, without any particular details except for the fact that it was one of the four examples used during the production of the film Goldfinger. Well, hold on tight, because she went for... $6,385,000. In essence, Bond multiplied the value by a factor of ten (9.93 times to be exact). If I were James Bond, I would devote myself to the car trade rather than chasing the world’s worst international terrorists intent on exterminating humanity.

Aston-Martin-DB-5 1965 Aston Martin DB5 "Bond Car"

Now, the story is a playful one, but the concept is very serious: the history of a car makes a significant impact and a well-known character multiplies its value. But by how much exactly? Well, it depends on who the character is, how much his or her name is linked to the car and vice versa, but also on whether the car has features that make it unique.

The Ford Mustang GT390 used in the Bullitt film was sold for $3,740,000 but in reality, it is the Steve McQueen brand that multiplied its value. There are two Porsches that exemplify the concept perfectly.

One is the Porsche 911 2.2S Coupe chassis 911030-1502 from 1970 which was used in the opening scene of the Le Mans movie of the same year. Unlike the Bullitt Mustang, this one really was owned by Steve McQueen who bought it from Solar Productions (the producers of the film) immediately after filming had come to an end. The car was in anything but excellent condition, and yet in 2011 it still managed to go for $1,375,000, when in the same year this model was being sold at around $120,000. This time the multiplying factor was 11.4 times the market value, but it could have been even greater if the condition of the car had been different.

At the time, it also caused a sensation because it was the first Porsche 911 to break the $1 million threshold and, if we exclude the competition versions, this record remained unbeaten until it was overtaken by another 911... ex-Steve McQueen!

Porsche-2.2S 1970 Porsche 911S Steve McQueen Le Mans Movie Car

Let’s take a four-year leap forwards to Pebble Beach. This time the Porsche 911 was one of the first 3.0 Turbos (therefore from 1976) chassis #930680-0408. At that time an example without distinguished owners was worth about $250,000. The auction house – perhaps out of modesty – did not indicate the estimate but in the end an anonymous buyer took it home for $2,106,000. At 8.4 times market value, the multiplying factor was slightly less than the 1970 example, but it should be noted unlike the earlier model, this one had never appeared anywhere. Small curiosity: on this car the “King of Cool” had installed a small switch to turn off the rear lights in case, during a night out, he had to avoid being chased by the police.

Porsche-930 1976 Porsche 930 Turbo Carrera

You don’t have to be a famous actor to multiply the value of a car. Sometimes the public figure is so famous for his or her “work” that collectors go the extra mile or two to bring her home.

The most emblematic case is a 1976 Ford Escort 1100GL Sedan. Two years ago an example went up for auction and was sold for $121,000, about 60 times the normal market price for this model. Its peculiarity? It once belonged to Karol Wojtyla, better known as Pope John Paul II. In reality, this was not the craziest price because the seller – the late John O‘Quinn – had bought it in 2005 for $660,000.

Ford-Escort 1976 Ford Escort 1100 GL Sedan

It’s funny to mention it, but in the same location, one year later, the 1966 Land Rover S2A 88 of the fourteenth Dalai Lama, which had been in his family until 2005, was offered (and sold). A clash of philosophies. The British off-road vehicle went for $143,000, a figure that was slightly higher than the Ford Escort, but if we look at it from the point of view of increases in value, with prices around the $15,000 mark, we can say that his eminence multiplied its value by 9.5 times. Can we venture a hypothesis? Could it have something to do with the greater number of practising Christians in the United States?

Land-Rover-S2A 1966 Land Rover Series 2A

If you’re not a famous actor and have ruled out becoming the Pope, there is one last option you could try to multiply the value of your car. become famous in the world of cars.

This is the case of the 1949 MG TC, the first competition car owned by an ex-US Army pilot who had started life off raising chickens without much success. The gentleman in question was Carroll Shelby… In 2015 his first competition car, the MG TC was sold for $539,000, almost 16 times the $34,000 average price.

MG-1 1949 MG TC Roadster Race Car