The history of the original James Bond Aston Martin DB5 is as fascinating as it is complex. It took Dave Worrall six years to do the research for his definitive account of the film cars The Most Famous Car In The World from which we have attempted to trace the history of the licence plates in this lot.
These number plates are from one of the two Aston Martin DB5s purchased from Eon Productions' Swiss based holding company Danjaq in 1969. Both of these Aston Martin DB5s were commissioned by Eon Productions in 1965 to assist with the promotion of Goldfinger and Thunderball in the States. According to Worrall The 'Goldfinger' campaign, although costly, had paid off. The film had broken box-office records in London, Los Angeles, New York and virtually every city across Europe. Bond was BIG - so was the Aston Martin. Eon realised this and with 'Thunderball' costing $5 million, they were planning one of the biggest movie campaigns ever, and the DB5 was to figure in their plan. 'Thunderball' was to be premiered in New York during December with the nationwide release to follow from January 1966 onwards. Eon Productions approached Aston Martin and commissioned two Silver Birch DB5s to be built to Bond specifications so they could cover both ends of the United States simultaneously.. Initially these two Eon-owned show cars (chassis numbers DB5/2008/R and DB5/2017/R) displayed 007 JB and JB 007 licence plates and were not registered for road used in the U.K.
BMT 216A was the licence plate of the original Aston Martin DB5 loaned by Aston for the film Goldfinger and adapted by John Stears and his team with all the gadgets which made this car so special. It was referred to by the production team as the 'Effects car'. This car had a 'stand-in' also loaned by Aston Martin for the duration of filming of Goldfinger which was registered for road use as FMP 7B. For continuity purposes, the 'stand-in' car had replica number plates BMT 216A for filming (these didn't revolve and the car had no other gadgets installed while it was used in Goldfinger). This car was referred to by the crew as the 'Road Car'.
Both the 'Effects Car' and the 'Road Car' were also used in Thunderball. To cut a long story short, in 1968 the 'Effects Car' was to the astonishment of most, rebuilt by Aston Martin as a standard DB5 and stripped of all its special equipment. This car was then sold, although Aston Martin retained the BMT 216A licence plate and the 'Effects car' was re-registered as 66 33 PP. As Worrall reports: At this stage the two replicas owned by Eon Productions had not been registered for road use in the U.K. Since their construction in 1965, the cars had toured America on promotional work. Then in storage at Newport Pagnell, Aston Martin transferred the BMT 215A licence plate to DB5/2017/R [one of the two Eon replicas] in case it may be needed for further promotional work.. This never occurred and in January 1969, the two Eon-owned show cars were sold. The vendor acquired the licence plates off Aston DB5/2017/R from the original purchaser of the two show cars