The fascination with cars preserved liked old farm implements has only grown in recent years with the rise of old car values at auctions. Here's the latest example: a 1964 Aston Martin DB5, similar to what James Bond drove in "Goldfinger," that had sat in a barn for 33 years. At a Bonhams' auction to be held at Aston Martin's factory in May, the DB5 is expected to fetch about $300,000 — and that will be only the new owner's downpayment.
As much as the finely restored cars draw all the attention on the cable channel auction shows, the world of "preservation" vehicles takes far more luck and just as much wealth. Whoever buys this DB5 with 48,000 miles on the odometer will do so with the knowledge that the only way to preserve the investment lies in restoring the car's original equipment.
According to Bonhams, the DB5 was bought by a now-deceased owner in 1972, who drove it until 1980, then parked it. Lucky for would-be shoppers, the engine does still turn over, but given that mice apparently nested under the hood in the DB5's slumber, every bolt and wire will need scrutiny.
And after that's done, the DB5 will be qualified to roll onto the grounds of Pebble Beach or several other high-end classic car shows as a true original. Or they could just keep it as is — with barn dust, rodent homes and three decades of decay, awaiting the next owner who might pay even more for an extra few years of storage. As Murray Kempton once wrote, nothing decays like progress, and nothing preserves like neglect.