Iconic Cars: The Aston Martin DB5 And Its Bond Odyssey

The only thing better than a ‘good’ car is an iconic car, and the Aston Martin DB5 is just that; arguably both! Produced in the 60s, it’s class and sophistication has won it worldwide admiration.

Aston Martin At Its Best

The Aston Martin DB5 was not the first in its series. Named in honour of Sir David Brown, (Aston Martin’s owner between 1947 and 1972), it followed the successful DB4 in 1963 which formed the basis of the company’s later classics. The brainchild of Italian coachbuilder Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera, the DB5 boasted an all-aluminium engine, enlarged from 3.7 litres to 4.0 and housed three SU carburettors. This meant the engine was capable of 282 bhp and a top speed of 145 mph. The interior came with all of the features you’d expect from a luxury brand. These included electric windows (still novel at the time), chrome wire wheels, a full leather trim cabin and, curiously, a fire extinguisher.

The DB5 came in a number of variants. The Vantage was a high-performance version. It delivered greater top-end performance at the expense of flexibility. Its engine yielded 325 bhp at 5,500 rpm. Just 65 were made. A convertible variant was also assembled (123 to be precise) as well as a custom shooting-brake variant for industrialist and hunter David Brown.

The Name’s Bond…

The DB5 is inseparable from the figure of James Bond. Appearing in the film ‘Goldfinger’ in 1964, it’s been consistently voted the most iconic of the spy’s motors. As always, Bond’s version came outfitted with a plethora of gadgets and gizmos; most famously an ejecting seat. In addition, it had concealed machine guns fitted at the front, bullet shields and even a champagne holder.  Some commentators have even argued that it was the car’s gadgets that proved to be famous, not the car itself. Either way, the Aston Martin DB5’s appearance in Goldfinger is arguably one of the most successful examples of product placement in recent history. It’d appear in a further thirteen James Bond films, the most recent being the film ‘Spectre.’

An Eternal Icon?

With on-going film appearances and a cult-following, the DB5 is set to remain an enduring automotive icon. Aston Martin has recently unveiled plans to build 25 new DB5s based on the one that appeared in Goldfinger; gadgets (most of them) included. Each will cost just shy of three million and, unfortunately, won’t be road legal. There aren’t many people in the world who’d be willing to spend that sum on a largely useless vehicle, so we expect some of the wealthiest to line up for them.

The DB5 is typically Aston Martin; it’s regal, elegant and radiates confidence. Its fusion with the career of Britain’s most famous spy was an unlikely, but hugely successful, experiment. Whilst many people probably couldn’t name it if they saw it in the street, they certainly recognise it…And undoubtedly would like to drive it.

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