- ‘Like all classic GT cars, it combines enormous speed with comfort and the more you put into your driving, the more the car returns for your entertainment. And the DB5 really is entertaining to anyone who can exploit its outstanding performance, handling and brakes. It will also carry four people (just) and a fair amount of luggage so the merits of family transport (if need be) have not been entirely sacrificed to speed and elegant looks.’ Motor.
Aston Martin’s post-war evolution took a giant step forward with the launch of the DB4 in 1958. Classically proportioned, the Touring-designed body established an instantly recognisable look that would stand the marque in good stead until 1970. The engine was still an all-alloy, twin-overhead-camshaft, six but the old W O Bentley supervised 3.0-litre unit had been superseded by a new design by Tadek Marek. The new 3,670cc engine featured ‘square’ bore and stroke dimensions of 92mm, and developed its maximum power of 240bhp at 5,500rpm. The David Brown gearbox was a new four-speed all-synchromesh unit.
Touring’s Superleggera body construction, which employed a lightweight tubular structure to support the aluminium-alloy body panels, was deemed incompatible with the DB2/4-type multi-tubular spaceframe, so engineer Harold Beach drew up an immensely strong platform type chassis. The DB2/4’s trailing-link independent front suspension gave way to unequal-length wishbones while at the rear the DB4 sported a live axle located by a Watts linkage instead of its predecessor’s Panhard rod.
Five series were built as the model gradually metamorphosed into the DB5. Introduced in July 1963, the Aston Martin DB5 boasted a 4.0-litre engine, this enlarged unit having been seen first in the Lagonda Rapide of 1961. Equipped with three SU carburettors, the ‘400’ engine produced 282bhp at 5,500rpm and was mated to a four-speed/overdrive gearbox, a ‘proper’ ZF five-speed unit being standardised later.
The DB5’s distinctive cowled headlamps had first appeared on the DB4GT and the newcomer was the same size as the lengthened, Series V DB4. Outwardly there was little to distinguish the DB5 from the last of the DB4s apart from twin fuel filler caps, though these had already appeared on some cars. Beneath the skin however, there were numerous improvements including alternator electrics, Girling disc brakes instead of Dunlops, Sundym glass, electric windows and an oil pressure gauge as standard equipment.
From September 1964 the 314bhp, triple-Weber Vantage engine became available and was fitted to a total of 95 cars. The DB5 was also offered in convertible form (the ‘Volante’ name would not be applied to the soft-top Aston until the DB6’s arrival) while independent coachbuilder Harold Radford offered a shooting brake conversion. 1,021 DB5s were manufactured between July 1963 and September 1965, a total that included 23 convertibles and 12 shooting brakes.
The DB5 was the first and remains the most famous of all the ‘James Bond’ Aston Martins, having appeared in no fewer than five movies of the series, beginning with Goldfinger in 1964. Equipped with rocket launchers and sundry other gadgets, 007’s DB5 was finished in Silver Birch with red interior, in which specification it was later issued by Corgi Toys.
Chassis number ‘1616/R’ was owned in the mid-1970s by Mr C J Hudson of Doncaster, who sold the car to Mr Matthew Philip Coleman of Hounslow in 1985. The Aston was then repurchased in 1995 by Mr Hudson, who owned it until 2007 when it was bought by the current vendor. During the late 1970s/early 1980s the DB5, at that time registered ‘978 FBX’, was raced at club level by C J Hudson and another driver, listed in the AMOC Register as ‘Cliffe’. The car competed successfully at Mallory Park, Curborough, Loton Park, Brands Hatch, Wiscombe Park and Silverstone, the last recorded entry being Curborough in 1982 (Cliffe, 1st).
Soon after acquisition the current vendor commissioned an extensive renovation, which seems to have been undertaken in two stages: the first involving extensive bodywork repairs carried out by Post Vintage Engineers Ltd of Otley, West Yorkshire (see photographs on file). The Aston then went to Classic Restorations of Alyth, Perthshire where the work was completed and the car re-sprayed. There are numerous invoices on file from Classic Restorations, including one for fitting a power-assisted steering kit, together with a payment history listing bills totalling £31,680. Conversion to Vantage specification is believed to have been carried out as part of the restoration.
The rebuild was completed in the summer of 2009, that year’s MoT certificate recording the mileage total as 70,762. The current odometer reading is 72,496, indicating only some 1,700 miles covered since the rebuild’s completion, while an almost complete run of MoTs dating back to 1998 shows only 6,800-or-so miles covered over the course of the last 15 years. Between 2002 and 2006 there was no increase in mileage. Described as in generally good condition, this extensively restored DB5 is offered with MoT to June 2014, Swansea V5 registration document and a large file of history.
- Please note the new registration number for this vehicle is EHS 155B .
James Bond Museum Nybro Sweden