Contessa's Cougar Stars at Bonhams Bond Street Sale

ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE MERCURY COUGAR OFFERED FOR FIRST TIME AT AUCTION

A 1969 Mercury Cougar XR7 convertible, which had a starring role in the classic 'Bond film' On Her Majesty's Secret Service, will be offered for the first time at auction, fittingly at the Bonhams Bond Street Sale on 16 December, following a nut and bolt restoration. The former film star has an estimate of £100,000 – 150,000.

In the motion picture, the Cougar was owned by 'Bond Girl' Contessa Teresa (Tracy) di Vicenzo played by the late Dame Diana Rigg, and famously driven on ice in a high-speed car chase scene.


George Lazenby and Diana Rigg filming On Her Majesty's Secret Service, credit: www.007magazine.co.uk

The filmmakers Eon Productions procured three identical Cougars from Ford's luxury division Mercury, for the film in 1969. Early research suggests that the example offered was used in the 'barn scene' when James Bond, played by George Lazenby in his only outing as 007, proposed to Tracy as they sheltered in the car from a blizzard.

The Cougar was built on 6 February 1969 as a special order and was registered in the UK a week later. One of only 127 XR7 convertibles powered by the desirable Jet Ram V8 engine built in 1969, this example was finished with red paintwork, matching leather interior and steel wheels.

For its film role, it was also fitted with a rack for Kneissl skis – the must have skis of the time – and red French temporary 'visitor' registration plates.


Mercury Cougar in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, credit: www.007magazine.co.uk

However, the Cougar was in a far from red carpet condition when it was purchased by the vendor, initially for its engine, from an advertisement in the classified advertising magazine 'Exchange and Mart' in the late 1980s. Upon discovering the car's illustrious past, he embarked on a 'nut and bolt' restoration, bringing the Cougar up to concours standard over a 30-year period.

Tim Schofield, Head of Department, Bonhams Motor Cars UK, said: "We're delighted to offer this unique Cougar which is not only an important piece of film history but also a stunning example of a 1960s muscle car. We are sure it will leave the saleroom stirred if not shaken."

Other early consignments with a licence to thrill at the Bonhams Bond Street sale include:

A 1953 Bentley Continental Sports Saloon, estimate £550,000 – 700,000


The exclusive Continental – only 2008 cars were built – is considered by many as the pinnacle of the post-war Bentleys and the aerodynamic fastback form by coachbuilders HJ Mulliner, as featured on the example offered, its definitive styling.

Beloved by James Bond creator Ian Fleming, the Continental was the fastest - and most expensive – motor car of its day capable of carrying four passengers and their luggage and was dubbed 'a modern magic carpet' by Autocar magazine. Its performance rivalled sports cars with a 120mph top speed, and effortless cruising at 100mph.

As befitting its name, the Continental was first produced for export. This motor car, one of the first 25 built on a Mark IV chassis, was delivered new to Geneva, before spending much of its life in the USA. This car, like many others, was later upgraded with the more powerful 4.9-litre engine, as well as other enhancements for reliability and driving experience such as air-conditioning.

Bought by a UK collector in 2003, the Continental has since completed two trouble-free tours to continental Europe.

1967 Aston Martin DB6 Vantage Volante, estimate £550,000 – 650,000


Aston Martin, a marque synonymous with the James Bond film franchise, is represented at The Bond Street Sale by this early DB6 Vantage Volante.

The first Aston Martin convertible to be named Volante, the four-seater DB6 was considered the pinnacle in open-top motoring in the 1960s.

One of only 29 high-performance Vantage Volantes built, which are highly prized by collectors, this DB6 was ordered with a host of non-standard equipment including power aerial, Motorola radio and diagonal seat belts.

The DB6 has been owned for the past 44 years by the same family – also the owners of the famous Ecurie Ecosse Le-Mans winning racing team collection – which oversaw its extensive restoration by respected specialists DK engineering in the 1980s.

The Bond Street Sale
The Bonhams Bond Street Sale will take place on Wednesday 16 December, starting with automobilia at 5pm with the motor cars sale to follow.

Subject to local COVID-19 restrictions, the sale will be a traditional live auction with a limited number of clients permitted in the sale room, respecting all social distancing guidelines. The sale will be broadcast worldwide via Bonhams.com, accepting remote online, telephone and absentee bids.

The motor cars will be available to view in person by appointment (adhering to all COVID-19 related guidelines) for an extended period between Thursday 3 December and Wednesday 16 December at Classic Car Storage in Petersfield, Hampshire.

For those who cannot attend in person, virtual, real-time condition reports will be available via Bonhams Preview and all lots will be fully catalogued in print and online.

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