Leave it to Monterey Car Week (15–21 August) to bring some of the coolest cars we’ve ever – or never – seen on the auction stage. In that group, as usual, is a cadre of cars previously owned by actors, rock stars, and famous racers. Some stars may imbue a bit more value to their former cars or motorcycles than others, but regardless of estimates, we’ve collected a few ex-celeb stars here for your perusal. Bid high enough, and you just might share a seat with a personal hero.
Sean Connery’s 1964 Aston Martin DB5
Broad Arrow, lot 18. Sold for: $2,425,000 (£2,061,019)
The name’s Connery. Sir Sean Connery. Wow – that reads exactly as cheesy as it sounded in my head. Anyway, Broad Arrow’s 1964 Aston Martin DB5 is not one of the handful of DB5s to get screen time in one of Connery’s 007 endeavours, and for decades the legendary actor and definitive Bond eschewed a public connection with the British super-spy. Consequently, a DB5 wasn’t high on his list of favourite cars to be seen in when not on set.
He got his high-speed kicks elsewhere: Connery has ties to a Jaguar E-Type, Jensen CV8, and a BMW E24 6 Series, as far as we know – but no Aston Martin. Well, not until 2018, at least; Connery warmed to his inextricable association with 007 in his later years, and sought a DB5 of his own just two years before his death.
He grabbed a good one, too. Marque specialists RS Williams prepped the DB5 after years of infrequent use by the previous owner, a process that included a respray from Silver Birch to Snow Shadow Grey, matching the Bond car. Here’s an interesting factoid for the super-fans among us: As the star car was actually a prototype DB4 wearing DB5 components, the Bond “DB5” wore a paint shade that was subsequently discontinued with the end of the DB4.
After his car was completed, Connery enjoyed it quietly and privately, noting to his son Jason how much nimbler and engaging the DB5 is when unladen with all the gizmos and gadgets shoehorned into the star car. Despite that, Jason notes his father did wish it still had an ejector seat – although he’s not quite sure for whom.
Bidders should also be pleased to know a “significant” portion of the proceeds will go to the Sean Connery Philanthropy Fund, a charity that supports causes like Sir Jackie Stewart’s Race Against Dementia. As such, the winner will get the chance for a drive in the DB5 with Stewart as part of the sale.
Steve McQueen’s 1971 Husqvarna 400 Cross
Bonhams, lot 1. Sold for: $186,500 (£158,507)
Not a car, but hey, McQueen liked bikes as much as he liked cars, if not more. He raced and kept a sizeable stable of each, including this 1971 Husky 400 Cross that he kept until his death in 1980. According to Bonhams, the bike was sold from the McQueen estate in 1984 at the estate auction, passing through three owners until it landed with the current seller eleven years ago.
If it’s authenticity you’re after, oh boy – Bonhams bills this as one of the most “genuine” McQueen-adjacent vehicles to hit the market, sitting in “last ridden by McQueen” condition and “not started,” still wearing all the dents and dings from the King of Cool’s regular rides.
Paul Walker’s 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7
Mecum, lot S58. Sold for: $1,072,500 (£912,464)
Cars associated with the late Paul Walker are no stranger to the auction block. 21 cars from the Walker estate brought $2.3 million in early 2020, an eclectic collection that included an R32 Skyline GT-R and a stunning six examples of the BMW E36 M3 Lightweight. Last year, Walker’s iconic orange Toyota Supra from The Fast and the Furious brought another $550,000.
Big numbers to be sure, but Walker’s old 1973 Carrera RS 2.7 headed to Mecum’s Monterey sale is a cut above the rest. While a not-insignificant portion of the previous sale results were driven by fans of Walker and the FF franchise, we expect the new owner of this Carrera RS to find the celebrity association a secondary factor in the purchase.
Carrera RS’ are among the most desirable production air-cooled 911s, with a longstanding blue-chip status in the classic car market. As such, valuation is relatively straightforward. According to the Hagerty Price Guide, a 2.7 RS Touring in condition #1 (Concours) – as is the ex-Walker car – trades for an average of $859,000, or £730,000 in the UK. Mecum’s estimate predicts a final sale between $1 million and $1.25 million, putting this yellow Touring in the same bracket as a Condition #2 Carrera RS 2.7 Lightweight.
Hey, in this market, anything goes. We’ll be watching this car to see if the Walker association has legs enough to match the cash required for a far rarer variant.
Humphrey Bogart’s 1956 Ford Thunderbird
Bonhams, lot 22. Sold for: $106,400 (£90,502)
This one is perhaps the most melancholy of all the celebrity cars on offer this year. Reeling from the pain of his illness (esophageal cancer) Humphrey Bogart decided to trade in his beloved Jaguar XK120 with its manual transmission for a new 1956 Ford Thunderbird equipped with its Ford-O-Matic automatic transmission. Originally white, Bogart had the T-Bird resprayed in Slate Grey to match his bygone Jag.
Sadly, he passed away one year after purchasing the T-bird. It remained with the estate until 1959, when Bogart’s widow Lauren Bacall sold the car to an employee of 20th Century Studios. The T-Bird accrued some 90,000 miles with the new owners before hopping between major collections up to the seller’s acquisition.
The roadster – headed to Bonhams – presents in impressively original condition, retaining Bogart’s Slate Grey paint and untouched interior spec.
George Harrison’s 1980 Porsche 928 S
RM Sotheby’s, lot 206. Sold for: $100,800 (£85,746)
My Sweet Lord! It’s George Harrison’s 928! Long known as a petrolhead, the quiet Beatle had a penchant for parking some serious metal in his driveway, including an E-Type, Aston Martin DB5, Mercedes-Benz 500 SEL AMG, and of course, his aubergine McLaren F1. This Porsche too, of course. Harrison racked up over 11,000 miles in the right-hand drive 928, replacing it with the 500 SEL soon after.
Once out of Harrison’s hands, RM Sotheby’s mentions the “engine block” was replaced for unspecified reasons, and over 108,000 miles was added with the new guts. When the seller acquired the car in 2017, he commissioned a comprehensive, bare-metal respray and mechanical overhaul that totalled an impressive $125,000 by the time the paint cured.
Via Hagerty US