One of the eight original Land Rover Defenders built for the James Bond film Spectre is set to be auctioned by RM Sotheby’s in London on September 6th. Cars from movies and TV that end up on the auction block are often record-setters. Here’s a look at the TV and movie cars that sold for huge money at auction:
DeLorean DMC-12 (Back to the Future)
In 2011, the Profiles In History Icons of Hollywood auction took bids on an authentic DeLorean DMC-12 used in the Back to the Future franchise, and it sold for a record-setting $541,000.
What was most surprising was that it was one of the cars used in Back to the Future III. Typically, cars from sequels don’t perform as well as those from the original film.
The other thing to know is that the proceeds from this DeLorean went to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Typically, charity auctions will generate higher bids that those of a traditional transaction.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang)
This isn’t really the name of the car, but rather the sound it makes as it’s driving along. It’s the hero of the film of the same name, starring Dick Van Dyke.
In 1973, one of the six original movie cars sold for $37,000, which would be about $200,000 in 2017 dollars. Again, the Profiles in History Auction scored a major win when it auctioned another of the originals in 2011. The anticipated price was somewhere around $1.5 million, but when the gavel fell, the most it could generate was $805,000. The winning bidder was director Sir Peter Jackson, who directed the Hobbit trilogy.
1967 Ford Mustang Fastback “Eleanor” (Gone in 60 Seconds)
This one’s hard to figure out.
Exhibit A: It’s from a movie that Variety called “Perfectly dreadful in every respect,” which “doesn’t even rate on the most basic level as a good car-chase picture.” Even car people didn’t like it. It’s like a parody of a car chase movie.
Exhibit B: It’s supposed to look like a Shelby, but it was built by Cinema Vehicle Services with a hand from Chip Foose. It’s just a ’67 Mustang, it’s not a Shelby.
Exhibit C: You can’t go to any major car show in America without seeing six of these running around.
Yet, when Mecum Auctions sold the car in 2013, it sold for $1 million. You could probably buy two original Shelbys, and option a better script than this one for less.
1929 Duesenberg Model J (Spinout)
It’s hard to classify this one as a “movie car.” Yes, it was in a movie, the Elvis Presley film Spinout, which was one of the better of Elvis and Col. Tom Parker’s efforts on the big screen. And yes, Elvis actually got some seat time in the car.
But what made this car sell for $1.24 million in 2011 when RM Sotheby’s sold it at its Arizona auction was the fact that it was a 1929 Duesenberg Model J 116, one of just two short-wheelbase Model J Dual Cowl Phaetons ever built.
1970 Porsche 911S (LeMans)
You could sell Steve McQueen’s old t-shirts for $25,000. Send the Porsche 911S that he drove in one of his most legendary film efforts, and you’re guaranteed to have a comfortable retirement.
Early 911s sell for crazy money these days, even if they’re base model cars in undesirable colors. It was delivered brand-new to Steve McQueen himself, and its authenticity is iron-clad. It was the highest specification 911 available when it was purchased. This Slate Gray 911S sold for $1.375 million when RM Sotheby’s auctioned it in 2011 at its Monterey sale.
1964 Aston Martin DB5 (Goldfinger)
James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 is simply one of the most recognizable cars ever to come out of a movie. It’s also gorgeous in its own right, regardless of the movie provenance.
Four were specially constructed with all the Q gadgetry for the movie. This one was purchased decades ago by a Philadelphia radio station owner named Jerry Lee. Reportedly, he paid $12,000 for it. When it sold at the Automobiles of London RM Sotheby’s auction in 2010, it crossed the block for $4,600,00, including auction fees.
Batmobile (Batman TV Series)
This Lincoln Futura-based Batmobile from the 1966 TV series kicked off the dreams of millions of kids for the last 50 years. It’s no wonder it generated so much heat when Barrett-Jackson sold it at its Scottsdale auction in 2010.
Car customizer George Barris was on hand when the car sold. It gaveled for a staggering $4.6 million.
1965 Shelby Cobra Daytona (Redline 7000)
This is another case of a car’s provenance vastly outweighing the fact that it was in a movie.
Yes, this 1965 Shelby Cobra Daytona was leased to Paramount Pictures for use in the Howard Hawks movie Redline 7000. But that movie isn’t really in the canon of great car films that makes one of the cars in it stand out on an auction stage.
What made this car sell for an insane $7.25 million at the Mecum auction in Monterey, California in 2009 was the fact that Bob Bondurant wheeled it to the winner’s circle in the 12 Heures du Reims on the 4th of July in 1965, thereby securing the FIA title that year. It marked the first time that an American team ever won the championship in the GT class, achieving Henry Ford II’s promise to beat Enzo Ferrari at his own game.
1968 Ford GT40 Gulf/Mirage Lightweight (LeMans)
Another car from the classic Steve McQueen film, LeMans set records when it was sold at RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale in 2012.
Like the Shelby Cobra Daytona, it has has all the 1960s racing pedigree that makes for a truly expensive car at auction: According to its serial number, it’s the first of several lightweight GT40s built for J.W.A./Gulf. It competed throughout the 1968 season from Daytona to LeMans, where it was piloted by Jacky Ickx.
What makes it one of the world’s most expensive cars, though, is its next owner, and how it was used. The car was sold to Solar Productions in 1970, and it was used extensively in the filming of LeMans.
When it sold in 2012, the gavel fell at $11 million, making it the most expensive American car ever sold.