Licensed to rust! Battered classic Mercedes bought by Sean Connery in 1983 goes on the market to the delight of James Bond fans – but you won’t find an ejector seat or hidden gadgets inside
- A letter addressed to the Scot revealed that he bought the 300SD model in 1978
- It boasts an automatic gearbox, climate control and a radio-cassette player
At first glance, it may not have much in common with James Bond’s famous Aston Martin.
But this rusty old banger does share one significant feature with 007’s most celebrated car: it too was driven by Sir Sean Connery.
A white Mercedes saloon formerly owned by the star has now been put up for sale – and is already attracting worldwide interest from fans of the legendary Scot.
Euphemistically described as a “restoration project”, the 45-year-old vehicle currently has very little of the glamour associated with a Bond car – as the paintwork is battered and grimy, there is rust along the wheel arches and roof, the upholstery is stained, and the rear bumper is hanging off.
Likewise, it has none of the ejector seats, rocket launchers or other high-tech gadgets associated with the superspy – although it does boast an automatic gearbox, climate control and a radio-cassette player.
Old banger: Paul Wiggington with the white Mercedes saloon formerly owned by Connery
Sean Connery, left, with Ursula Andress, gave the car to his brother
The chief attraction of the vehicle, however, is the impeccably documented link to one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
By the late 1970s Connery, from Edinburgh, had risen to become one of the world’s most famous actors after starring in six Bond movies – Dr No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever – as well as other blockbusters including Murder On The Orient Express, The Man Who Would Be King and A Bridge Too Far.
A letter addressed to the Scot, who was living in Malaga in Spain at the time, reveals that he bought the 300SD model direct from the manufacturer in 1978.
Donna Noble, the company’s Worldwide Sales co-ordinator wrote to him saying: ‘We appreciate this opportunity to be of assistance to you, and thank you for your patronage of Mercedes-Benz.’
Vehicle registration papers confirm that in 1983 – the same year as he reprised the role of Bond in Never Say Never Again – Connery, who listed his address as Montpelier St in London, registered the car with the DVLA for use in the UK.
In 1988, the actor then donated the second-hand vehicle to his brother. A letter signed by the Scot and dated October 1988 confirms the ‘white Mercedes 300 Saloon number BRK 862Y’ is ‘a gift to my brother Neil’.
For years, Neil drove the car around Edinburgh – and attracted admiration from neighbours who knew its showbiz provenance.
In 2013, one of Neil’s friends, Kevin Wiggington, bought the car off him, having noticed it sitting unused in his driveway.
At that point the car was no longer running and was placed in a garage for storage – where it remained for the next decade.
After Mr Wiggington’s death, the car is now being put on the market by his son Paul, an airline pilot who lives in Cramond on the outskirts of Edinburgh.
Document from the late Sir Sean Connery showing that he has gifted a white Mercedes to his brother Neil
The car boasts an automatic gearbox, climate control and a radio-cassette player
The 45-year-old vehicle currently has very little of the glamour associated with a Bond car
Mr Wiggington, 34, said: ‘In 1978, this was a very nice car indeed, with a powerful engine and luxury interior – exactly what you would expect a film star like Sir Sean to drive.
‘By the time my dad bought it, it was no longer running. Dad put it in an garage for safe-keeping and planned to restore it, but it was a massive project and he never got the opportunity to see it through.
‘I’ve no idea what it’s worth… But it’s not really about making money, more about doing something with the car, for him.
‘It’s a piece of history, a collector’s item. It’s a car that’s only ever been driven by a Connery – either Sir Sean or his brother Neil.’
Although it was only recently listed on the Ebay trading site, the car has already attracted comments from Bond fans and interest from around the world.
In his role as Bond, Connery thundered around some of the world’s most exotic locations in a string of glamorous cars.
In the first 007 movie, Dr No, he raced around Jamaica at the wheel of a blue Sunbeam Alpine convertible.
In Diamonds Are Forever, the spy was chased through the streets of Las Vegas in a bright red Mustang Mach I.
However Bond’s most instantly recognisable vehicles remain the gadget-laden Aston Martin DB5s he drove in Goldfinger and Thunderball – complete with
revolving license plate, bulletproof windshield, machine guns, oil-slick and smoke-screen devices, plus passenger-side ejector seat.
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