1966 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible to 'Vantage' specification Chassis no. DB5C/2114/L Engine no. 400/6863
'More and more cars today reach the magical "ton" but those which can do it with the same ease and rapidity of the Aston can be counted on the fingers of one hand. High-speed stability and safety is not cheap to engineer, and with few people to pay the price, production costs are never reduced by the quantity of the work. The DB5 therefore fills a unique corner of the market, a corner at the top end both in the way it performs and the price one pays for the privilege.' Autocar, 18th September 1964.
Introduced in 1963, the DB5 was a development of the preceding DB4 that had represented such a giant step forward in Aston Martin's post-war evolution on its arrival in 1958. Classically proportioned, the Touring-designed body established an instantly recognisable look that would stand the marque in good stead until 1970. The DB4's engine was still an all-alloy twin-overhead-camshaft 'six' but the old W O Bentley-designed 3.0-litre unit had been superseded by a new design by Tadek Marek. Proven in racing before it entered production in the DB4, the new 3,670cc engine featured 'square' bore and stroke dimensions of 92x92mm and developed its maximum power of 240bhp at 5,500rpm. The David Brown gearbox was a new four-speed all-synchromesh unit.
Touring's Superleggera body construction, which employed a lightweight tubular structure to support the aluminium-alloy body panels, was deemed incompatible with the DB2/4-type multi-tubular spaceframe, so engineer Harold Beach drew up an immensely-strong platform-type chassis. Independent front suspension was retained, the DB2/4's trailing links giving way to unequal-length wishbones, while at the rear the DB4 sported a live axle located by a Watts linkage instead of its predecessor's Panhard rod. Five series were built as the model gradually metamorphosed into the DB5. The latter's distinctive cowled headlamps had first appeared on the DB4GT and the newcomer was the same size as the lengthened Series V DB4. The DB5's 3,995cc engine, first seen in the Lagonda Rapide, produced 282bhp and was mated to a four-speed, overdrive-equipped gearbox, a 'proper' ZF five-speed unit being standardised later. Other improvements included alternator electrics, Girling disc brakes instead of Dunlops, Sundym glass, electric windows and an oil pressure gauge as standard equipment. The DB5 was also offered in convertible form (the 'Volante' name would not be applied to the soft-top Aston until the DB6's arrival) while independent coachbuilder Harold Radford offered a shooting brake conversion. 1,021 DB5s were manufactured between July 1963 and September 1965, a total that included a mere 123 convertibles and 12 shooting brakes.
A desirable five-speed example, this rare left-hand drive DB5 convertible was sold new in the USA via AML Inc and first owned by a Dr Eugene Meyer of Baltimore, Maryland. Its accompanying copy order form reveals that the car was originally finished in black with matching Connolly leather trim and Everflex hood. Normalair air conditioning, chrome wheels, Bosch Koln radio, power operated aerial, Marchal fog lamps, FIAMM horns, detachable headrests and a tonneau cover are among the non-standard items of equipment listed.
Accident damaged in the 1970s and laid up, the Aston was sourced in the 1980s by a British collector whose aim was to transform it into the 'world's best' DB5 convertible. '2114/L' was dispatched to marque specialists Bodylines where a new chassis/body was fabricated, finished in black and trimmed in tan leather by Gary Wright to concours standards. After completion, the car won at the AMOC's 1992 Autumn Concours and then was shipped back to the USA and shown at the Chicago concours in the mid-1990s. It subsequently changed hands, was repainted in silver, re-trimmed in red and fitted with a replacement engine to Vantage specification. A hardtop, in silver, is included in the sale.
Should the vehicle remain in the UK, local import taxes of 5% will be applied to the hammer price.