For those who appreciate the best cars in the world Aston Martin is often the first choice as Bonhams sale at the home of Aston Martin in Newport Pagnell, Bucks, on May 19th shows once again.

For sale on the day there are 50 breathtakingly beautiful cars including three with particularly fascinating histories - one was converted to James Bond specification including skis; one was owned by Lennox Lewis when he was World Heavyweight Boxing Champion; and one is a particularly rare production, a DB4GT Zagato Sanction II Coupe estimated to sell for £1.2m-£1.5m was owned by rock star Phil Collins manager, Tony Smith.

Lennox Lewis

Lot 227, formerly the property of Lennox Lewis, is a 1994 Aston Martin Virage Limited Edition Coupe, estimated to sell for £15,000-20,000.

Number seven out of nine, this Virage Limited Edition, chassis number '50417', was manufactured in December 1994 and owned from new until 2005 by Heavyweight Boxing World Champion Lennox Lewis. At the time of its acquisition, Mr Lewis was WBC Heavyweight World Champion, a title he subsequently lost and regained before going on to become the undisputed World Champion by defeating Evander Holyfield to take the WBA crown. He retired from boxing while still World Champion in February 2004.

Externally, the Virage Limited Edition was subtly re-styled in 'wide body' Vantage fashion and looked much like the successor V8 model, its mesh grille with 'V' motif excepted. Mechanically the Limited Edition was virtually standard Virage.

The car has covered circa 33,000 miles from new and is presented in generally very good condition, benefiting from an overhaul of the automatic transmission carried out in 2006.The Virage has formed part of a large collection of Aston Martin and Lagonda motor cars kept on museum display in recent years. It is finished in deep Jewel Green metallic with 'special' tan hide interior, while a satellite navigation system, custom-built stereo and a stainless-steel exhaust are other noteworthy features. The car is offered with MoT to November 2012 and Swansea V5C registration document.

007 James Bond Replica: 1985 V8 Vantage Saloon

The second car to stand out amongst the stunning Aston Martins in the sale is Lot 230 a works service converted to 'Living Daylights' 007 Replica'. This 1985 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Saloon is estimated to sell for £90,000-120,000.

The car was purchased at Bonhams' sale at Aston Martin Works Service in 2003 (Lot 231) by the previous owner, who commissioned AMWS to convert it into a replica of the V8 Vantage saloon that featured in winter scenes in the James Bond motion picture, 'The Living Daylights' starring Timothy Dalton as '007'.

Modifications include a full Vantage '580' upgrade of the engine (plus conversion to unleaded compatibility); installation of the five-speed manual gearbox; suspension, brake and cooling upgrades; and fitting 16" wheels. The body was refinished in Cumberland Gray, the interior leather re-Connollised and matching black carpets fitted, while other noteworthy features include an Alpine CD stereo system, Webasto sunroof and the optional extra of ski blades. Aston Martin's rebuild schedule and 22-page invoice are included in the car's extensive history file together with a photographic record of the works, which were completed in April 2004 at a cost of £135,000.

Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato Sanction II Coupe £1.2m-£1.5m

Another fascinating car in the sale is top lot 239, a 1991 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato Sanction II Coupé estimated to sell for £1,200,000- £1,500,000. Chassis number '0198/R' was first owned by Tony Smith, manager of singer Phil Collins and an historic racer, who over the years has owned some of the world's greatest cars. The Aston passed to the current owner in Germany via Michael Brinkert and David Clark of Taylor & Crawley some 17 years ago. Now offered from long-term ownership and with only 4,748 miles showing on the odometer at the time of cataloging, it is described as in good overall condition.

With only four Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato Sanction IIs made, '0198/R' represents a possibly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire on of these fabulous cars, which will become increasingly collectible.

Specification highlights of the Sanction II cars include an engine built to 4.2-liter specification (the originals used 3.7-liter units); four-speed David Brown gearbox; limited-slip differential with 3.07:1 final drive ratio; all-disc, dual circuit braking; wishbone independent front suspension with co-axial spring/damper units and anti-roll bar; live rear axle with coil springs and double-acting telescopic dampers, located by parallel trailing links and a Watts linkage; rack-and-pinion steering; and a 35-gallon (159-liter) fuel tank. With 352bhp on tap (some 50 horsepower more than the 3.7-liter DB4GT) the Sanction II raced to 60mph in 5.5 seconds and reached the 'ton' in 12.2 on its way to a top speed of 153mph.


NOTES FOR EDITORS

Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and appraisal services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com

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