The DB5 is probably the most famous Aston Martin because of the specially equipped Silver Birch DB5 that starred in the James Bond film "Goldfinger" and in standard form in "Thunderball". The DB5 made a comeback to the big screen in the 1995 film "GoldenEye", and has had a cameo role in subsequent Bond movies.
The launch of the Aston Martin DB5 in 1963 was memorable for many reasons. Its arrival coincided with the departure of John Wyer who had contributed so much to the early David Brown era at Feltham. It also bore the mark of one the masters who continued to work for Aston Martin developing the great V8 engine – Tadek Marek .
Regarded by many as the most beautiful Aston Martin produced, the DB5 shared many similar traits to the DB4 but a major change was the enlargement of the engine. By increasing the bore to 96mm, the capacity increased to a full 4 litre and three SU carburettors helped deliver the smooth torque curve – but more power meant that the old single place clutch needed to be replaced with a 9 inch Borg & Beck diaphragm unit, significantly reducing the pedal pressure needed The valve covers and the exhaust manifolds were stove enamelled and a small hydraulic damper at the front of the engine eliminated vertical shake. There was a larger air filter and later a Lucas alternator to cope with the increase in electrical gadgets.
The four speed gearbox with overdrive from the DB4 was also superseded by the introduction of a full synchromesh ZF 5 speed gearbox. Other chassis changes included the adoption of the Girling disc brakes that had only been used on the DB4GT, along with 15” wheels.
Even though it was a very expensive car at £4,175, 1,021 were built – 89 less than the total number of DB4’s produced - before the introduction of the DB6. But demand for James Bond’s car always outstripped supply – a market position that continues today.
The association of the Aston Martin marque with James Bond started with the DB5 and the model has retained pre-eminence in the market place ever since. Supply can never be expected to keep up with the continued high demand for the model and there have been too many recent examples offered that represent the talents of restorers rather than the benefits of cherished ownership.
But for anyone currently considering acquisition of an Aston Martin DB5, it is hard to beat DB5/1818/R that comes with some replica features of its most famous cousin. So it would be a great addition to an enthusiast’s collection as a tribute to the world’s favourite spy. But with values of concours examples tipping £1 million, it is the soundest of foundations for a restoration of this most important of Aston Martins.
There is very little early history on this lovely car. Through contacts, we have established that the car was acquired by Aston Martin specialist Newlands Motors on 12th August 1993 from an auction at Sussex Plant Sales in Worthing, Sussex.
The car was sold to