It’s not often that a manufacturer can get away with the phrase ‘world’s most iconic car’ in a press release, but in the case of the DB5 Aston Martin might just be permitted. Thanks to that indelible association with 007, its style, performance and celebration of all things swinging '60s, the DB5 may just be able to lay claim to the description. Along with a few other cars of that decade, in fact - think 911, Miura, 250 GTO, E-Type and so on. What a few years it was.
But that discussion is for another day. What isn’t up for any debate is that it's the DB5’s 60th birthday. The DB4’s replacement was first shown to the world in September 1963 at the Frankfurt motor show. It was powered by an evolution of that car’s straight six, now at 4.0-litres and 285hp, with a beautiful body styled by Touring Superleggera. ‘The fastest regular 4-seat GT car in the world’ would do more than 150mph, which guaranteed the DB5 some attention, as did favourable press reviews. Mick Jagger got one, as did Paul McCartney and George Harrison. And, of course, so did James Bond…
We won’t dwell on the point here, but suffice it to say the starring role of a DB5 in 1964’s Goldfinger worked wonders for the car’s celebrity appeal in the '60s. And, thanks to subsequent cameos in later films, comfortably into the 21st century as well. You can’t think about James Bond without the DB5 coming to mind, and vice versa. And when we're talking about one of the most successful and long-running film franchises ever, that leaves quite a mark, culturally speaking.
The global superstardom is especially notable given precious few DB5s left the Newport Pagnell factory. It was built for just a couple of years from ’63 before the DB6’s introduction, during which time 1,022 were produced. That number was split across 887 two-doors, 123 convertibles and 12 very special shooting brakes. With so much time having now passed since then (the last DB5s were made in 1965), plenty will have fallen by the wayside. One or two must have suffered at the hands of Bond wannabes, for starters…
Lawrence Stroll, naturally, has a DB5. He said of Aston’s most famous model: “The David Brown era gave us so many great Aston Martin sports cars but none more recognisable, revered, and desired as the DB5, which laid the foundations of our identity as a British luxury brand synonymous with style, performance, and exclusivity.” To mark the occasion, Aston has got together both the ‘5 - somehow not a Silver Birch car - with its latest DB, the DB12. Very smart pair they make, too. Stroll again: “We’re incredibly proud that the DB lineage continues today with the critically acclaimed DB12, which like those came before it, is a celebration of all we love about British hand-built sports cars, with a new injection of the latest technology and highest levels of performance.”
The good news for those after a DB5 in this special anniversary year is that there are plenty around - a dozen on PH, in fact. The bad news is that they kick off at £650,000. That amount buys this stunning Sierra Blue example, complete with a recent engine overhaul, Connolly leather retrim, handling kit and brake rebuild. Predictably, the Silver Birch cars carry a premium - this is the only one at less than £800,000 - and those super rare Convertibles even more so. This gorgeous drop-top was subject to a £300,000 restoration (!) in 2010, at which time it was also upgraded with power steering, Koni dampers and a 4.2-litre, Vantage-spec engine. Expect the price on application to be a seven-figure one. And finally, for something really special, try this - a Silver Birch hardtop overhauled by Aston Engineering and Aston Martin Works; it now sports a 4.7-litre engine, uprated suspension, a Becker Mexico stereo, air-con and new Borrani wire wheels. It looks like a spectacular one - even without revolving numberplates.
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