According to media reports, the legendary 007 Aston Martin as driven by the suave superspy in Goldfinger and Thunderball, which was stolen 25 years ago from a private hanger in Florida, has been spotted in the Middle East.
It was stolen in 1997 from a private hangar in Boca Raton Airport in Florida, having originally bought in 1986 by American businessman Anthony Pugliese for $275,000 (£200,000). One of four DB5s used in the film, it was the only example to feature working gadgets and is now reckoned to be worth around £18.2 million.
The car was referenced with the appearance in 2012's Skyfall of an identical DB5, which shared its numberplate: BMT 216A. The original was equipped with ejector seats, tyre-shredders and machine guns, along with a bulletproof shield and oil, water and smoke distributors and it was the catalyst for a relationship between Aston and 007 franchise that still exists today.
According to The Telegraph, the VIN number of a recently spotted DB5 is said to match that of the stolen car, and that it is believed the model is now in a private car collection somewhere in either Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Kuwait or Bahrain. “There are major automobile collectors in those countries and I have intelligence that the car could be in one of them and may have even travelled between them,” Christopher A Marinello of Art Recovery International told The Telegraph.
He added: "I’m hopeful that the possessor will come forward voluntarily before I have to make an announcement. It’s my policy to give possessors of stolen and looted objects every opportunity to do the right thing.”