Aston Martin DB5
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The ex-Eon Productions and as featured in the Motion Picture 'GoldenEye' driven by Pierce Brosnan as James Bond 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Sports Saloon
Registration no. FBH 281C
Chassis no. DB5/1885/R
Representing a wonderful opportunity for collectors, this beautiful Aston Martin DB5 featured in the famous opening scene of the motion picture GoldenEye, where secret agent James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) engages in a high-speed dice with arch villainess Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen) in her Ferrari F355 through the hills above Monaco.
Aston Martin has become synonymous with James Bond, and no model more so than the DB5, though it is not the first car from the British manufacturer to be associated with '007'. That honour falls to the DB Mark III, which was driven by Bond in Ian Fleming's novel, Goldfinger. The DB Mark III had been out of production for years when the movie franchise commenced, so Aston Martin's latest model - the DB5 - was used when Goldfinger was shot in 1964. Finished in Silver Birch and laden with M's latest gadgets, it has become the definitive James Bond Aston Martin, a status only enhanced by further appearances in Thunderball (1965), GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999), Casino Royale (2006), Skyfall (2012), and Spectre (2015). The DB5 thus became the only Aston Martin to be driven by three different Bonds: Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig.
Why an Aston Martin? As one of Her Majesty's secret agents, James Bond could hardly be expected to drive a foreign car, and as a connoisseur of the finer things in life, would not have accepted anything less than the very best. He might briefly have considered a Bentley Continental or Jaguar E-Type, before dismissing the 'Captains of Industry' Bentley as too middle-aged and the relatively affordable Jaguar as too commonplace. Aston Martin's DB5, though, ticked all the boxes: British, hand-built, exclusive and expensive, while at the same time exuding a youthful, high-performance image.
The DB5 was a direct descendent of the first of this particular family of Aston Martins, the DB4, which had represented a giant step forward for the marque when it arrived in 1958. Classically proportioned, the Touring-designed body established an instantly recognisable look that would stand Aston Martin in good stead until 1970. The engine was still an all-alloy, twin-overhead-camshaft, six but the old W O Bentley supervised 3.0-litre unit had been superseded by a new design by Tadek Marek. The new 3,670cc engine featured 'square' bore and stroke dimensions of 92mm, 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. The DB2/4's trailing-link independent front suspension gave 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. Introduced in July 1963, the Aston Martin DB5 boasted a 4.0-litre engine, this enlarged unit having been seen first in the Lagonda Rapide of 1961. Equipped with three SU carburettors, the '400' engine produced 282bhp at 5,500rpm and was mated to a four-speed/overdrive gearbox, a 'proper' ZF five-speed unit being standardised later.
The DB5's distinctive cowled headlamps had first appeared on the DB4GT and the newcomer was the same size as the lengthened Series V DB4. Outwardly there was little to distinguish the DB5 from the last of the DB4s apart from twin fuel filler caps, though these had already appeared on some cars. Beneath the skin however, there were numerous improvements including alternator electrics, Girling disc brakes instead of Dunlops, Sundym glass, electric windows and an oil pressure gauge as standard equipment.
From September 1964 the 314bhp, triple-Weber Vantage engine became available and was fitted to a total of 95 cars. 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 123 convertibles and 12 shooting brakes.
Makers of GoldenEye, Eon Productions, contacted Aston Martin Lagonda for assistance in procuring the cars required for filming. Accordingly, AML instructed Stratton Motor Company to purchase two DB5s to be used for the driving sequences, while a third was borrowed for static filming in Monaco. Stratton prepared all three DB5s to identical cosmetic specification to avoid any continuity issues, while the driving-sequence cars were further modified to cope with the high-speed on-road stunts. The driving-sequence cars carried the registration 'BMT 214A'.
Rémy Julienne, a veteran of previous Bond films including A View To A Kill, co-ordinated the stunt driving, which on this occasion involved making two sports cars from starkly different eras - the Aston Martin DB5 and Ferrari F355 - appear evenly matched on screen. Eon Productions used '1885/R' for promoting GoldenEye once production had been concluded.
Bringing back the DB5 to the Bond franchise was well received by the World's press. There had been a gap of six years since the last film and 30 years since the appearance of an Aston Martin DB5 in the hands of 007. The dramatic opening scene of GoldenEye features one of the most memorable chase sequences. Performed along the Grande Corniche towards Monaco, James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) is accompanied by MI6 colleague Caroline (Serena Gordon) having been sent by M to evaluate 007's performance. Whilst dicing with Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen) in her Ferrari F355, Bond has numerous hurdles and encounters to overcome. The climax of the chase ends when Caroline orders Bond to stop the car, which he does in dramatic fashion and immediately produces a bottle of Bollinger from a custom made Champagne holder (included in this lot) inviting Caroline to toast to a "very thorough" evaluation.
Also included with the Champagne holder are a film prop Bollinger Champagne bottle, two Champagne flutes, Alpine stereo with colour fax paper, original 1995 cinema poster (71"x47"), original rare complete 1995 GoldenEye press pack, Serena Gordon signed photograph, original 1995 Empire and Flicks GoldenEye film review magazines and film scripts (1st draft and final copies).
Aston Martin used '1885/R' to promote its new DB7 and this particular car was taken to the Detroit and Los Angeles Motor Shows where it was driven onto the stand by Sir Stirling Moss. One of the two racing-sequence DB5s, '1885/R' was extensively restored by Stratton Motor Company both before and after filming. The latter rebuild included removing the body from the chassis and refurbishing it with a new nose section, new tail section and new door skins, which was followed by a full repaint in the current livery. It is understood that Stratton also carried out considerable mechanical refurbishment at this time.
In 1996, '1885/R' was sold to the immediately preceding owner, Peter Nelson, proprietor of the 'Cars Of The Stars' exhibition in Cumbria. When purchased at a Bond themed auction by the current owner in February 2001, this DB5 became the most valuable piece of Bond memorabilia ever sold and subsequently was recorded as such in the 'Guinness Book of World Records'. As a true James Bond DB5 it has brought with it unique experiences for the current custodian and his family, including attending Bond Premieres / after-show parties and even playing extras in the recent Spectre movie!
The DB5 has been well looked after, receiving occasional leisure use with service work provided by Aston Martin Works, RS Williams and Stratton Motor Company. The car featured in Chris Evans' Famous Five and Magnificent Seven car collection for BBC's Children In Need 2013 Appeal and has been on display as the star exhibit at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, as well as the key attraction of the 'Bond in Motion' exhibition at London's Covent Garden.
The DB5 is one of the most recognisable and desirable British classic cars and also the ultimate Bond car. Every fan remembers Pierce Brosnan tearing through the hills in this car, which makes it something very special indeed in the history of both Aston Martin and the James Bond movie franchise. A unique opportunity.