With Spectre, the next James Bond film, ready to barrel its way into U.S. theaters, I’m serving up a little bit of a 007 salute and showing off a North American version of a cinematic classic — the 1965 Aston Martin DB5.
If there was an automotive version of Mount Rushmore, the DB5 would have to find a place up there. Even without its massive pop culture popularity as Bond’s ejector seat-packing spy mobile, its classic styling and perfect blend of sportiness and luxury make it immortal.
Unlike other cars featured on these virtual pages, you can get your hands on this 1965 Aston Martin DB5. It’s yours to own and drive. All you have to do is visit The Keno Brothers’ 2015 Rolling Sculpture automotive auction on November 19th in New York with about $1.5 million in your hand, and you’ll have at least a puncher’s chance of driving it home.
The most iconic of all movie cars (with apologies to Steve McQueen’s 1968 Ford Mustang 390 GT 2+2 Fastback from Bullitt) the DB5 proved so popular that it returned for a rousing cameo in the last Bond movie, Skyfall – proving the timelessness of its styling.
The DB5 was designed by Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera. Over the last century and in different incorporated forms, the Italian company specialized in the design and construction of elite automobiles. The firm started out making cars for Italian and French automakers, including Alfa Romeo. However, after World War II and the arrival of the mono-body construction systems, the Carrozzeria fortunes declined. To stay afloat, the firm did contract work for smaller projects.
Such a deal brought Carrozzeria and Aston Martin together for what may very well be the greatest British sports car of all time. Only the Jaguar E-Type – another strong contender for that imaginary four-wheeled Mount Rushmore – can stand shoulder to shoulder with the DB5.
According to Aston Martin, the use of DB5 in Goldfinger practically doubled the automaker’s sales overnight. In fact, despite building modern luxury performance legends like the DB9 and the Vanquish, the DB5 undoubtedly remains Aston Martin’s most famous creation.
Strangely enough, legend says the marriage of car and super spy almost never happened. When 007 producers wrote the executives behind Aston in the 1960s hoping to acquire a car for Bond, the automaker initially declined the request. Evidently, the British car builder told Cubby Broccoli and company MI6 could head out and buy a car if they wanted their agent to drive an Aston. If all parties hadn’t come to their senses, the man with a license to kill could’ve spent the next 50 years driving a Jaguar or a Bentley (as he drove in Ian Fleming’s novels).
Its DB nomenclature refers back to David Brown, the British entrepreneur that secured ownership of Aston Martin in post-war England circa 1947. The company emerged onto the global stage under his leadership. Thought Aston experienced its ups and down through the last 70 years, Brown’s early contributions are hallowed at the company. Obviously, the initials stuck through subsequent sports car editors up through the DB9 the bespoke (and fictional) DB1o James Bond drives in Spectre. Aston built that last one specially for the movie.
What always made the DB5 so popular was its mix of class, power and style. It exudes gentlemanly class, but the aggressive slope of the fenders and subtle rear fins hint at ample speed — especially for a mid-1960s car. This edition has the 1965 Body with Engine No: 400/1099. The coachwork was done entirely by Carrozzeria Touring.
Bond’s DB5 was silver and not this edition’s Sage Green. While that verde exterior just misses the essence of British Racing Green, it matches well with its interior color of Tan Leather. The car is fully registered with the Aston Martin Owners Club and placed second in its class at the Concours at Lime Rock.
Unlike the car that took on Oddjob, this DB5 is left hand drive for American roads. The sparkling restoration kept the original steering wheel, the owners manual, roadside toolkit and radio.
While it’ll be a gorgeous addition to the collection of whichever collector secures the car, he or she should be aware of some missing features. The cap of the manual gear shift knob doesn’t flip up to reveal a red button. The passenger side roof is fixed in place and will not explode free to allow any ejector seat to fire a human body skyward. There are alas no machine guns under the headlamps, no oil slicks ready to squirt from the back bumper, no bullet proof rear windscreen shied, no spinning wheel blades to ruin another car’s tires, no rotating license plates and no radar screen in the dash.
In fact, the only thing this car can do that Bond also pulled off is turning the head of any woman with a pulse.