History of the 1963 - 1965 Aston Martin DB5
Designed by Harold Beach at Aston Martin and built by Touring of Milan, the Aston Martin DB5 is one of the most iconic sports cars ever built. With a front-engine, rear wheel drive layout, the DB5 has 2+2 seating and is a luxury GT car. Now forever associated with James Bond, the car was manufactured between 1963 and 1965 (with a few ‘Short Chassis Volante’ cars being made into 1966).
The Aston Martin DB5 was an evolution of the last series DB4, using a tubular ‘Superleggera’ design which had magnesium-alloy body panels attached and an all- aluminium 3995cc Tadek Marek straight-six twin-cam engine. The DB5 was built by Carrozzeria Touring and the majority of cars were built in the saloon form, although convertibles (never referred to as ‘Volante’ at the time) were also manufactured by Touring. 12 Aston Martin DB5s were converted to Shooting Brake estate cars by Radford.
The 3,995cc DOHC engine produced 282 hp and reached 60mph in 8.1 seconds. The DB5 could be ordered with a 4-speed and overdrive, or 3-speed Borg-Warner automatic transmission, and later with a ZF 5-speed manual transmission. From October 1964, the 325 hp Vantage option was available, with triple Weber carburettors and 9.4-to-one compression ratio, offering almost 160 mph.
The Aston Martin DB5 first entered the public consciousness through its association with James Bond’s 007, and has appeared in a number of films from Sean Connery’s 1964 ‘Goldfinger’ to Daniel Craig’s ‘Skyfall’ in 2012. Fitted with such gadgets as an ejector seat and headlamp-mounted machine guns, the Skyfall car was shown to be shot to pieces, but fortunately a 3d-printed replica stood in for the real thing.
The Aston Martin DB5 is a delight to drive. Never intended to be an out and out sports car, it combines luxury with performance and does so in an eminently stylish way. The cabin is spacious, luxurious and comfortable, and the engine smooth and responsive. This is a superb grand touring car.
The DB5 is one of the most desirable cars for the world’s collectors and values tend to have little fluctuation between countries. The drop-head convertible is the most highly-prized, although the saloon values follow closely behind. Vantage specification cars command an additional premium. Shooting brakes are very hard to value as they come to market so rarely, but their rarity also gives them an added premium.
The car is such an icon that period alternatives are hard to define, but buyers may like to consider the Jensen Interceptor, Ferrari 275 GTB, the Ferrari 330 GTC or the Maserati 3500 GT. Alternatives from Aston Martin include the DB4, the DB4 Zagato and the DB6.