1965 Aston Martin DB5
Year of manufacture1965
Number of seats2
Single family ownership since 1973
1965 Aston Martin DB5 Sports Saloon
Registration no. DRP 3C
Chassis no. DB5/2026/R
Engine no. 400/1823
'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.
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engine was still an all-alloy, twin-overhead-camshaft, six but the old W O Bentley supervised 3.0-litre unit had been superseded by a new design by Tadek Marek.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 of 1963. 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 3,995cc engine - first seen in the Lagonda Rapide - was mated to a four-speed overdrive-equipped gearbox; a proper ZF five-speed unit being an option at first and standardised later.
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. In production for only two years, during which period 1,021 were manufactured, the DB5 is considered by some to be the nicest of the Marek six-cylinder cars, combining as is does the short wheelbase of the original DB4 with the 4.0-litre engine as found in the larger DB6.
Chassis number '2026/R' was retailed via Francis Motors (Moto Baldet) and first owned by a Mr Cyril Parry of Lloyds Bank Chambers, London N10. The accompanying copy guarantee form records the original colour scheme as Goodwood Green with black Connolly hide trim, and lists a heated rear screen and Marchal fog lamps as the only items of non-standard equipment. The original registration was 'DRP 3C'.
Purchased by the current vendor's father from a Mr Elwell in August 1973 (receipt on file), the Aston was next owned by his mother and thus has been in the family's possession for some 40-plus years. 'DRP 3C' comes with one of the biggest and most comprehensive history files we have ever seen, containing every bill since 1973 and even some relating to Mr Elwell's ownership (close inspection recommended). There are also 28 expired MoTs, showing the recorded mileage increasing from 76,000 in January 1973 to 89,682 (actually 189,682) in January 2014, a distance of a little under 114,000 miles in 40 years.
Many of the bills are from Aston Martin Lagonda, including one for an exchange engine in March 1974 and overhaul of same engine the following year. Of particular historical interest is a letter from Mr R Handley, AML's Chief Executive, Parts & Service, assuring the owner 'that the Service & Parts Division of Aston Martin Lagonda has resumed operations under the direction and authority of the Receiver and the full range of facilities is once more available backed by a very extensive stock of spares.' Although undated, this letter would have been written in the aftermath of Aston Martin's rescue from bankruptcy by Company Developments.
Many of the other bills on file were issued by marque specialists R King & E Meakins of Wolverton, Milton Keynes, who were entrusted with the Aston's maintenance for many years. One of the most significant of these relates to a bare-metal re-spray, full interior re-trim and other works carried out in September 1990 at a cost in excess of £24,000. Subsequently the car was looked after by marque specialists Aston Engineering, whose works included converting the cylinder head to 'lead free' specification and fitting electronic ignition, while in more recent times its maintenance has been entrusted to Nicholas Mee. The latter's most recent bill, dated February 2014, is for various engine works, a carburettor overhaul, replacing the fuel pump and various related operations at a cost of £15,087. Apart from the aforementioned 'lead free' conversion and electronic ignition, the only notified deviation from factory specification is an electric cooling fan.
Benefiting from uncompromising 'no-expense-spared' stewardship of over 40 years, this exceptionally well-documented DB5 is presented in generally excellent condition and offered with old-style logbook, current MoT/tax and V5 registration document.