Aston Martin DB5
1963-1965: Helping hand from Sean Connery sealed model’s status as one of the most lusted-after Astons
Is there a more famous Aston Martin than the DB5? It’s a stunning example of Sixties British cool and a genuine movie legend. A starring role as James Bond’s car in the Goldfinger and Thunderball films confirmed it as a national treasure, and generations have grown up watching it on screen and playing with the toy version – which remains the best-selling Corgi model of all-time.
For many, then, the DB5 is Aston Martin, but the classic machine is so much more than just a film star. The gorgeously proportioned shape was an evolution of the less famous DB4, but a host of major changes under the skin ensured the DB5 was one of the must-have sports cars of its day.
Launched in 1963, the DB5 featured the same six-cylinder engine as the DB4, enlarged to 4.0 litres. Early cars came with a four-speed manual gearbox, with a three-speed automatic as an option, while in mid-1964, a five-speed manual was introduced as standard. Other performance-enhancing features included the adoption of disc brakes, previously only used on the limited-edition DB4 GT.
The camber of the front suspension could be fine-tuned by owners, and adjustable Armstrong Selectaride dampers were available as an option. With 282bhp, the DB5 was down on power compared to contemporary rivals from Ferrari, but in September 1964, Aston came up with a solution – the DB5 Vantage.
Its triple Weber carburettor set-up boosted power to 314bhp, and it attracted 65 buyers.
The firm also offered a glamorous convertible version, which accounted for 123 of the total 1,021 DB5s produced. Rarer still are the 12 Shooting Brake estates made by coachbuilder Harold Radford Ltd.
However, it’s the coupé that remains the most famous DB5, and the gorgeous blue car in our pictures is a fantastic example. Discreet badges on the boot and rear edges of the front wings highlight the famous model number, while the curved grille, side vents and beautiful bonnet lines are all classic Aston styling cues.
The cabin’s leather upholstery, simple instruments and shiny metal trim make sitting in this classic a special experience. Today, DB5s can fetch anywhere between £150,000-£300,000 depending on condition, while the Bond movie car recently sold for an eye-watering £2.6million.
It was in production for barely more than two years, but the DB5 is one of the greatest ever Astons. And 45 years after the last example rolled off the Newport Pagnell production line, the firm still owes much of its style, image and magic aura to this car.
* Value: £70,000-£335,000
* Engine: 4.0-litre straight-six, 282bhp
* Transmission: Four-speed manual, five-speed from 1964 and optional three-speed auto
* 0-60mph/top speed: 7.1 seconds/142mph
* Cars built: 1,021 (886 coupés, 123 convertibles, 12 Shooting Brake estates)
In this review
- 1IntroductionOur celebration of Britain's most famous supercar brand
- 2Aston Martin DB2/41953-1957: Grand tourer set the template for all future Aston Martins
- 3Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato1961: Exclusive racer is one of today’s most expensive classics
- 4Aston Martin DB5 - currently reading1963-1965: Helping hand from Sean Connery sealed model’s status as one of the most lusted-after Astons
- 5Aston Martin V8 & Volante1972-89: Coupé and drop-top hailed new era
- 6Aston Martin Vantage Supercharged1993-2000: Muscular, hard-charging supercar was spawned from the Virage
- 7Aston Martin DB71994-2003: Sales smash secured the maker’s future
- 8Aston Martin Vanquish S2001-2007: Flagship GT brought Aston bang up to date
- 9Aston Martin V12 Vantage2009 to date: Upping the power takes coupé to a whole new level
- 10Aston Martin V8 Vantage2005 to date: Stunning 911 rival is a class act
- 11Aston Martin DB92003 to date: Grand tourer is one of best of breed
- 12Aston Martin Rapide2010 to date: Four-door brings Aston class to luxury sector
- 13Aston Martin DBS2008 to date: Sports car beauty draws inspiration from Le Mans-winning GTs
- 14Aston Martin One-77On sale now: Sensational new V12 hypercar is ultimate Aston – and we get exclusive access to it
- 15Aston Martin Cygnet2011: City car marks the dawn of a new era for luxury manufacturer