International auction house Bonhams stages classic-car sales all around the world, yet few are anticipated with such enthusiasm as the annual event dedicated to the Aston Martin marque that takes place each spring at the firm’s Works premises in Newport Pagnell.
This year’s auction on 18 May — held in Aston’s centenary year — was the 14th in succession and proved more special than most, establishing a highest-ever total of £9.6 million (£3 million more than 2012) and setting a new record for any Aston Martin when the unique DB4GT Bertone Jet fetched an astonishing £3.2 million, exceeding the £2.9 paid for the Goldfinger DB5 in 2010.
The Jet will be familiar to followers of the international concours scene since sweeping the board at numerous recent events, including taking first in class at Pebble Beach and best in show at Villa d’Este. It was the final DB4GT to leave the production line in late 1960 and was sent directly to Bertone, which had been commissioned by Aston Martin to conceive and build a truly jaw-dropping new body style to be unveiled at the following year’s Geneva show.
As luck would have it, a young Giorgetto Guigiaro picked up the brief and penned the slippery, futuristic lines that earned the car its Jet soubriquet. It has remained in the same ownership for the past 25 years.
There was also considerable interest in a 1964 DB5 saloon that had been in the same family since its late owner, an Aston enthusiast called David Etteridge, bought it for £1,500 in 1972.
The car had been laid up since 1979, but Bonhams got it running and presented it with one half lightly polished; and the other still coated in dust from Mr Etteridge’s shed. It proved irresistible to fans of originality and, after much spirited bidding, found a new home for £320,700.
Among the remainder of the 45 cars was a fully restored 1965 DB5 and an equally superb 1968 DB6 Volante, each of which soared to £460,700.
Even rarer was a year 2000 SWB Vantage Volante Special edition. The Cumberland Grey car with smoke-green interior had clocked up a mere 10,650km from new and was one of just eight SWB Vantage Volantes built on the coupé’s shorter chassis. It doubled its low estimate to fetch £404,700.