1964 Aston Martin DB5
Year of manufacture1964
Number of seats2
1964 Aston Martin DB5 4.3-Litre Sports Saloon
Registration no. FPF 38B
Chassis no. DB5/1758/R
'Like all classic GT cars, it combines enormous speed and comfort and the more you put into your driving, the more the car returns for your entertainment. And the DB5 really is entertaining to anyone who can exploit its outstanding performance, handling and brakes. It will also carry four people (just) and a fair amount of luggage so the merits of family transport (if need be) have not entirely been sacrificed to speed and elegant looks.' Motor, 6th February 1963.
Aston Martin's post-war evolution took a giant step forward with the launch of the DB4 in 1958. Classically proportioned, the Touring-designed body established an instantly recognisable look that would stand the marque 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engine was still an all-alloy, twin-overhead-camshaft, six but the old W O Bentley supervised 3.0-litre unit had been superseded by a new design by Tadek Marek.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.
The DB5 was the first and remains the most famous of all the 'James Bond' Aston Martins, having appeared in no fewer than five movies of the series, beginning with Goldfinger in 1964. Equipped with rocket launchers and sundry other gadgets, 007's DB5 was finished in Silver Birch with red interior, in which specification it was later issued by Corgi Toys.
Its accompanying (copy) guarantee form reveals that '1758/R' was manufactured on 10th November 1964 and retailed via HWM to its first owner, a Mr Longhurst of Walton-on-Thames, Surrey. Its original colour scheme was Caribbean Pearl with dark blue interior trim. The second owner is recorded as one R C Davey of Camberley, Surrey. Aston Service Dorset maintained the car for Mr Davey and bought it from him in 1980. One of the marque's most respected specialists, Aston Service Dorset had been founded by Captain Ivan Forshaw, and the DB5 remained in the Forshaw family's possession following his death in 2006. It left the Forshaw family in 2016, passing to the late Paul Jennings in February of that year; as such, it represented a very sound purchase having been maintained by one of the best in the business for some 36 years.
Aston Service Dorset has always enjoyed close connections with the factory, and when Aston Martin set up a new paint facility at its Works Service department at Newport Pagnell in the early 1990s, they asked ASD if it could supply a car for repainting to demonstrate the quality of finish that customers could expect. ASD supplied this DB5 which, consequently, received a world class re-spray that still presents superbly.
Aston Service Dorset fully serviced the DB5 prior to its sale in 2016, at which time the radiator was re-cored, new Perspex headlight covers fitted, and some minor under-seal imperfections addressed. The following year, in December 2017, Paul Jennings had a replacement engine built up around a new Aston Martin-supplied cylinder block by renowned marque specialist Bill Goodall of Newlands Motors (see bill on file for £18,815). The removed engine (not the car's original) is included in the sale (Lot 324).
Presented in beautiful condition and 'on the button', driving superbly, this lovingly cherished and fastidiously maintained DB5 is offered with tool roll, instruction book, parts catalogue and workshop manual (reprints), MoT to January 2019, and a V5C Registration Certificate.
Aston Martin's association with the James Bond movie franchise commenced with the DB5, which has enjoyed an exalted status and continuing high demand ever since. Exceptional examples such as this one are rarely offered for sale, and '1758/R' - never restored, highly original, and benefiting from long-term ownership by one of the most respected Aston Martin specialists - is worthy of the closest inspection.