Barnfind Astons go bonkers at Bonhams


The hype around barnfind Aston Martins shows no sign of abating following the £6m Bonhams declared for its annual marque sale on 21 May when a project, off-the-road for 35 years DB5 saloon sold for £282,000.

The result, which followed a battle between 11 phone and five absentee bidders – not to mention some seven in the room - was a staggering five times the Superleggera beauty’s lower £50 – 60,000 estimate and even more impressive when you consider that sort of money would buy a fully restored example at most top marque specialists. 

Also making spectacular money on the restoration front was a 60,000miles-from-new barn find 1963 DB4 Convertible that smashed its reasonable £80 – 140,000 guide to change hands for £309,500 while a superb restored 1963 DB4 Series V Vantage Convertible (below) took top slot at the Works Service sale with at £507,500.



Other impressive hammer prices included the guide-busting £430,500 one bidder shelled out for a super-rare DB5 Shooting Brake (estimate £250 – 300,000; below) while James Bond fever stoked up prices on replicas of the Astons used in 007 films.


A copy of the 1968 Aston Martin DBS Vantage (estimate £50 – 70,000) used in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service made £106k while a 1986 Volante (estimate £70 – 100,000), similar to the star in Living Daylights (below), made a whopping £172k.


The bullish saleroom spirit turned out to be charitable, too after a 2009 Rapid Sports Saloon – formerly used by company boss Dr Ulrich Bez – sold for £112,000 with the car maker donating the proceeds to Japan’s tsunami relief fund.

The demand for the Newport Pagnell products meant Bonhams got all but one of the 45 lots on offer away.




Can anyone explain why that DB5 barn find made so much? Was it once owned by Sean Connery or was the boot stuffed with diamonds? Interesting to note that it was the only DB5 in the sale. If there had also been a minter on offer, would it have made so much? And why no other DB5s? Are owners sitting on them in hope of even greater returns in the future? Did the £2.9m achieved by the Bond car at the RM auction last year push prices into the stratosphere? If only I had one in my barn. In fact, if only I had a barn...


James Elliott

It's a mystery to me why people pay more for something they are going to have to restore than they would for an example that has already had the job done. Yes, I can see the appeal of a car that hasn't been used, or has genuinely been stashed away for decades and is totally original and very low-mileage, but the term barnfind seems to be stretching to cover just about anything these days. Its ubiquity is in danger of blurring the lines between ebay and proper cars at proper auctions. The first really mad price I saw was on an ex-middle eastern Royal's Maserati 5000GT about a decade ago. Went for twice a minter would have, as far as I could see, solely because it was a barnfind. Mind you a decade on that turned out to be £200,000 pretty well invested!

Group Editor, C&SC


Reminds me of that saying that auctioneers are always keen to trot out: "You can't pay too much, you can only buy too soon."



RM Auctions held it’s first-ever sale at the Villa d'Este concourse in Cernobbio, Italy this past weekend. The auction boasted a catalog guaranteed to make a vintage vehicle buff salivate. There were a cadre of rare and historically significant vehicles on sale. Several of the automobiles went for multi-millions of dollars. I found this here: Rare cars auctioned for millions,


Never thought I'd ever say this, but at these prices,  I'm sorely tempted to dig out my genuine barnfind DB5 from it's 30 year hibernation !!!!!!!

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