LIFE-LONG James Bond fan’s suave automobile, worth an eye-watering £400,000, has made the final of a prestigious classic car competition.
Keith Clements, 57, from Rochford, is the proud owner of the stunning silver Aston Martin DB5, which he bought in 2005 for £60,000. Keith happily recalled how he jumped at the chance to buy it on ebay and is delighted it has made the final of the Classic Car of the Year 2012.
Yet it has been quite a bumpy ride for the mean machine, similiar to the one driven by Bond in Goldfinger, as it only narrowly survived a collision with a drunk driver.
Keith, whose son Ian, 30, narrowly escaped injury during the smash, recalled: “Ian was driving over flyover to Old Leigh in 2007 when a drink driver came around the blind corner on the wrong side of the road and hit Ian head on.
It was pretty traumatic but luckily he wasn’t hurt. “It did £60,000 of damage though and when the insurance money came through my son and I spent five years completely rebuilding it.
“Everything on the outside is new but the inside, which you couldn’t really replace is original. We actually finished it on the day we had to drive it to Lake Como in Italy for Ian’s wedding.”
The car is one of five shortlisted for the prestigious award being presented at the Classic Motor Show in Birmingham’s NEC this week.
Keith, who normally drives a Mini Cooper, added: “Just getting to the final is great because there were hundreds of entries.
“It’s quite exciting because they put the finalists up in a posh hotel for three nights so we’re really looking forward to it.”
Since its wedding car duties in the summer the DB5 has travelled to Prague for a TV commercial, and to Le Mans.
Keith added: “We are very lucky to own this lovely car which will never be sold.” The Aston Martin is up against three cars from the 1930s - a Morris, a Jowett and Austin Seven, as well as a rare 1970s Bristol.
The winner of this nationwide competition, organised by Classic Car Weekly, Classic Cars and Practical Classics magazines in association with Lancaster Insurance, will receive a first prize valued at more than £3,500 with more than £700 worth of runners up prizes up for grabs.
The public has been voting for its favourite cars from a shortlist of 20 selected by an expert judging panel.
The five finalists will be on display in Birmingham from Friday until Sunday when the overall winner with the most votes will be revealed and the grand prize awarded.
For more details on the finalists, visit www.ccoty.co.uk