Since appearing in the 1964 feature film Goldfinger, the Aston Martin DB5 has become one of the most famous cars in the world. The DB5, driven by Sean Connery as British agent James Bond, was the first Bond 'gadget' car with special modifications by MI6's 'Q' Branch including a revolving number plate, bulletproof shield and machine guns. The DB5 emerged from the film with iconic status, a Corgi toy car complete with gadgets became the best selling toy of 1964. Appearing in another four films in the James Bond franchise, the DB5 proves the car's the star.
The Aston Martin DB5 was an evolution of the DB4, with production beginning in 1963. The design of the DB4 was led by Aston Martin's chief engineer Harold Beach (1913-2010), who collaborated with Carrozzeria Touring of Milan on the 'Superleggera' lightweight bodywork.
The DB5 featured an enlarged 4-litre aluminium engine designed by Polish-born Tadek Marek (1908-1982) and other improvements over the DB4, including a five speed gearbox and uprated disc brakes and hydraulics. Externally, the DB5 differs with its recessed headlights behind fairings.
At launch in September 1963 Aston Martin manufactured a two-door, four seat coupe (costing £4,175) and a convertible version (costing £4,490). In autumn 1964 a high performance Vantage version was introduced with uprated carburettors and revised camshafts, pushing the power from 282bhp up to 315bhp.
In 1965 a prototype 'Shooting Brake' version was produced by coachbuilders Harold Radford of South Kensington, a further twelve examples were built. Production of the DB5 ceased in 1965, a run that lasted just over two years. Aston Martin manufactured 1 023 examples across all DB5 variants, including 123 convertible examples.