Every time a car featured in a starring role in a James Bond movie appears at an auction, it's a big deal. Of course, when the car in question is an Aston Martin DB5, it's a very big story.
OK, that's not the case here. In fact, this latest Bond-related car to head for the auction block, a 1969 Mercury Cougar XR7, was not Agent 007's car. In the movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service, it was the property of one Tracy di Vicenzo, who also happened to be the only woman the swinging agent planned to marry. In that installment of the franchise, James Bond, played for the one and only time by George Lazenby, drove an Aston Martin DBS.
But still, this car is one of the iconic models to burst forth across the big screen during the course of the blockbuster movie series. Perhaps it's because it's dressed in bright red, and maybe because the sight of a Mercury Cougar involved in a crazy car chase across a European winter landscape had and still has a little something special about it too.
Chances are anyone who has ever seen the scene where Tracy finds herself involved in the middle of an ice demolition race remembers it very well.
The 1969 Mercury Cougar XR7 is being auctioned off by the Bonhams Group. It was one of three used during the filming of the movie; better yet for collectors, it was one of only 127 ever produced to be equipped with the 429-cc Cobra Jet V8 engine, which delivered 335 hp at the time.
It should also be noted that in 1969, the Cougar was given a facelift, and although that revised version lasted last for two years, 1969 was the only year the car had horizontal slats extending above the headlights.
The auction is scheduled for December 16, and the Bonhams Group estimates the bidding could reach between $130,000 and $200,000 US. Considering the rarity of the model and its role in the history of the James Bond film series, chances are pretty good bidding will hit expectations.
The irony is that the person who found it in the late 1980s had acquired it for its mechanics. It wasn't until he discovered the connection to the film that he set about having it restored.