Aston Martin DB5 (1963 – 1966) Review

Aston Martin DB5 (1963 – 1966) At A Glance


+It's the car from James Bond

-It's the car from James Bond

It's funny to think that the Aston Martin DB5 was not actually intended to be called anything of the sort. This extensive evolution of the DB4 was actually supposed to be called the Series 6, until a last minute change of heart. It's difficult to envisage telling the DB5's story without mentioning the James Bond films, Goldfinger and Thunderball, not least the newer films in which it has made a cameo - but as its maker proclaimed the DB5 'the most famous car in the world' after the films, it's a matter of fact that they have a bearing on values and classic appeal.

The DB5's styling was much smoother than the DB4's - clearly evolutuionary, but also a step forward, with more faired-in headlamps, and a smoother rear end. And for many, the DB5 ended up being the ultimate incarnation of this family of Aston Martins. The engine was upgraded to 4.0-litres, too, and offered 282bhp as standard, with314bhp for the Vantage. Disc brakes were fitted all-round, and all but the very earliest cars had five gears – less entertaining were the autos.

As before, it was possible to buy the DB5 in a number of body variations. As well as the rare Radford DB5 shooting brake estates, it was also possible to buy an open-topped DB5 - although Aston Martin still had yet to apply the Volante name to these cars. Additional bracing added structural rigidity and compensated for the lack of a roof, although the complex superleggera structure meant the DB5 could cope well with some of its original strength removed.

Production of the coupe (which Aston Martin called a saloon) ended in 1965 but 37 convertibles were built afterwards. Aston Martin would subsequently use the Volante name to describe all its soft-tops. The Superleggera construction is as the DB5 saloon's and the styling was carried over to the DB6 Volante.

Ask Honest John

Do dealers sell luxury cars at cost?

"Please pass this on to Mike Rutherford in relation to his item about dealers selling cars “at cost”. Many years ago David Brown Senior was at a lunchtime cocktail party in Huddersfield when he was approached by someone unknown to him who asked if it was possible for him to have an Aston Martin at cost? Brown replied he would be delighted. At that time Aston Martins were retailing at £5000 but were costing £10,000 to build."
Lunchtime cocktail parties, eh? Just the thing before a 180mph test drive on the M1. Those were the days. Have forwarded to Mike. Aston Martin DB5s are now changing hands for £300,000.
Answered by Honest John
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