Every spring Bonhams holds an exclusive auction of Aston Martins at the original factory in Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire. Some of the rarest and most beautiful Astons in the UK and Europe go on sale, providing a unique opportunity for a collector to snag something special. On Saturday, May 18th, 2013, the marque's centenary year, a one-off coupe by Bertone set a new world auction record price for an Aston Martin. The 1960 DB4GT "Jet" Coupe sold for £3,249,500 ($4,928,679).
The car was the last DB4GT off the production line and is a complete "one-off" with coachwork by Italian design house Bertone. Therein lies an interesting tale.
In 1960 Aston Martin commissioned Bertone to conceive and build a special Gran Turismo version of the DB4GT to be premiered at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show. It was a young Giorgetto Giugiaro who penned the design with its strikingly angular lines, a hint of his signature style as he went on to become one of the most celebrated automotive designers of our time. In 1969 Giugiaro established Italdesign, a research and development center responsible for the styling of prototypes and dozens of production cars. Including the VW Golf and GTI.
The Bertone Aston Martin was named the Jet, debuting in Geneva in 1961 alongside Jaguar's new E-Type. (What a show that must have been!) Its last owner, now deceased, purchased the car in 1986, then had it restored to concours condition by the factory. Obviously a dedicated enthusiast, he'd owned several other Aston Martins prior to acquiring the Jet. The car has won a remarkable 12 awards including "First in Class" at Pebble Beach and the Hurlingham Club, and "Best in Show" at Villa D’Este.
Clearly the world's well-heeled collectors knew a winner when they saw one. The DB4GT attracted intense interest from bidders in the room and on the telephones, with bidding escalating at increments of £100,000. Is it the most beautiful Aston Martin of all time? I'll leave it up to you to decide although I'm inclined to think the DB4 itself is a contender for that crown. Hard to improve on perfection. Just ask James Bond.