The launch of a new podcast, The Most Famous Car In The World, has renewed interest in the disappearance of James Bond’s missing Aston Martin DB5. The mystery, which has stumped investigators for nearly 25 years, may finally be solved, thanks to a recent tip.
The Holy Grail of car collecting
The vehicle in question was driven by Sean Connery in 1964’s Goldfinger. It was purchased in 1986 for $275,000 and insured by its owner, real estate developer Anthony Pugliese III, for $4.2 million. On June 19, 1997, it was stolen from an aircraft hangar at Florida’s Boca Raton Airport.
The Aston Martin DB5 seemingly disappeared without a trace. Little to no evidence was located, leading many to believe it was likely flown from the hangar by a cargo plane or a small drug-running aircraft.
The Most Famous Car In The World is hosted by actress Elizabeth Hurley, best known for her role in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. The eight-episode podcast aims to re-open the original case file, re-examine evidence, and look into pre-existing theories.
“I’m a huge fan of James Bond, so I’m excited to share this fascinating heist story,” Hurley said. “I hope this podcast will intrigue 007 fans everywhere and help shine a light on the mystery and see the Goldfinger Aston Martin DB5 returned after all this time.”
Mission: Recover #JamesBond’s missing Aston Martin DB5 Yes, the real one driven by Sean Connery – it was stolen from a private jet hangar in Florida – let’s find it! Reward: $100,000.https://t.co/mj9531TTJ6 @007 @ApplePodcasts @astonmartin pic.twitter.com/ZLh1zHgtUK
— SPYSCAPE (@spyscape) August 18, 2021
The investigation is being led by Art Recovery International CEO Christopher A. Marinello. The firm tracks down valuable goods for insurance companies, including items looted by the Nazis. According to Marinello, the missing Aston Martin would be his “Holy Grail,” and he’s hoping a $100,000 reward for information will result in its recovery.
A promising lead
In an interview with The Telegraph, Marinello claimed to have received a promising tip regarding the Aston Martin DB5’s current location. According to the article, the car’s VIN number was recently spotted, and it is believed to currently be a part of a private collection in the Middle East.
Marinello claims the current owner owns some 4,000 vehicles and is one of the world’s top car collectors. He refuses to publicly name the country in which they live, other than it is located in the Middle East.
“There are major automobile collectors in those countries, and I have intelligence that the car would be in one of them and many have even traveled between them,” he said. “I’m hopeful that the possessor will come forward voluntarily before I have to make an announcement. It’s my policy to give possessors of stolen and looted objects every opportunity to do the right thing.
“I don’t believe the current possessor knew the car was stolen when he or she acquired it,” he continued. “Now they do know, I think they should make every effort to have a discreet, confidential discussion about how we clear the title to this iconic vehicle.”
An iconic vehicle
The silver coupe was the primary vehicle used by James Bond in Goldfinger. One of the more iconic movies in the franchise, it featured Sean Connery as the famed MI6 agent, Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore, Shirley Easton as Jill Masterson, and Karl Gerhart “Gert” Fröbe as Auric Goldfinger.
The Aston Martin DB5 is arguably the most famous Bond car of all. It was fitted with ejector seats; a bulletproof windshield; machine guns; tire shredders; and oil, smoke, and water distributors. The gadgets were removed before the car in question was sold. Four in total were made, and another was kept without the gadgets for use during the faster driving scenes. Two further DB5s were used for promotional purposes, with one selling at auction in 2006.
Author Ian Fleming imagined James Bond driving a DB Mark III, but special effects expert John Stears convinced Aston Martin to let them use a DB5 prototype. The car was used in the next movie, Thunderball, and versions of it can be seen in Goldeneye, Casino Royale, Skyfall, and the upcoming No Time To Die.
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At present, the missing Aston Martin DB5 is estimated to be worth over $25 million.