US car enthusiast buys Bond's Aston Martin at auction

A US car enthusiast has bought James Bond's famous Aston Martin car, complete with ejector seat and revolving number plates, at auction in London for more than four million dollars.

The 1964 silver Aston Martin DB5 was driven by Sean Connery when he played the fictional British spy in the films "Goldfinger" (1964) and "Thunderball" (1965).

US collector Harry Yeaggy flew into Britain for Wednesday's sale and outbid his rivals to buy the car for 2.6 million pounds (4.1 million dollars, three million euros).

This was less than its pre-sale estimate of more than five million dollars.

Yeaggy said the car's new home would be in a US museum - but beforehand he planned to "have a bit of fun" taking the car for a spin around the streets of the British capital.

"We're going to fire the car up and drive it round the streets of London tonight. We're going to have a bit of fun with it," he told BBC television.

The US collector said he had taken a last-minute decision to fly into Britain for the auction, and confessed to being surprised that an American came out on top in the sale.

"I thought a European would buy it. But I guess they didn't appreciate Bond as much as we do," he said.

The Bond movie car was sold by its US owner, Pennsylvania broadcaster Jerry Lee, who bought it for 12,000 dollars in 1969. The proceeds will go to his charitable foundation.

It is fitted with the full complement of operational "Q-Branch" gadgets, and auctioneers RM Auctions dubbed it the most famous car in the world.

The car is also equipped with machine guns, bullet-proof shield, tracking device, removable roof panel, oil slick sprayer and smoke screen, all controlled by "toggles and switches hidden in the centre arm-rest".

"The machine guns, as you can see, do come out of their intended place. As far as I know, they don't shoot bullets, but then again, I haven't tried," Don Rose, a car specialist for the auctioneers, told AFP.

The gear stick top flips up to reveal the red ejector seat button. It also has a homing radar and a telephone mounted inside the driver's door panel.

The car has been on tour over the past five months, with appearances in Britain, Germany, Monte Carlo, New York and Hong Kong.

Admission to the sale in Battersea, south London, required the purchase of an official auction catalogue available for 50 pounds.

Purchase of the car, lot 197 in the sale, also included a stay at the GoldenEye resort in Jamaica, the original Caribbean estate of Ian Fleming, the British author who created James Bond.

A custom-made suit woven with gold thread made by the tailors who dressed Connery as Bond was also thrown in.

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