Easily the most famous Aston Martin of all, the DB5 has appeared in no less than eight films in the James Bond franchise, starting with Goldfinger and followed by Thunderball, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies and The World is Not Enough. Revived for the first of the Daniel Craig outings as 007, Casino Royale, a DB5 has also appeared in Skyfall and Spectre.
The decision to reproduce the 007 DB5 follows last year’s commitment to build 25 “continuation” examples of the DB4 GT Lightweight. A total of 25 continuation units of the Bond-spec DB5 will be made by Aston Martin Works for public sale, with an additional three to be built: one for Aston Martin’s own collection, a second for EON Productions (creators of the 007 films), with the third to be offered to a yet-to-be-named charity.
Cool…with a Catch. While a DB5 already has a high level of cool, what will make these continuation models even cooler is that the collaboration with Aston Martin and EON Productions will see the 25 cars feature a number of working 007 gadgets.
Inspired by the DB5 from Goldfinger that featured an ejector seat, oil slick projector, smokescreen and nail dispensers, rear bulletproof screen, revolving numberplates, in-car radar tracker, extending wheel hub cutting blades and front-mounted machine guns, amongst other features, the gadgets in the continuation cars will be developed by Aston Martin in collaboration with Chris Corbould OBE.
An Oscar-winner, Corbould was special effects supervisor on eight movies in the 007 franchise and a member of the effects team on six others. Of course, the continuation cars won’t carry functional machine guns or a working ejector seat, but will at least have the appearance of the gadget-laden machine driven to stardom by Sean Connery in 1964.
All 25 will be finished in the same Silver Birch paint as seen of the Goldfinger car, while power will come from modern replicas of the original DB5’s 4.0-litre straight six producing 282hp and 280lb/ft (around 210kW and 380Nm). Presumably this engine will be paired with a 5-speed ZF manual transmission, but Aston Martin says the drivetrain and selected other components in the continuations will feature “sympathetic modifications” to improve build quality and reliability.
The catch with all this is that, while all the continuation DB5s will be functional and drivable cars, they won’t be road legal in most countries as they are considered “new” cars and don’t meet modern safety or emissions laws.
Adding to the Total? Whether the continuation models are “real” DB5s or not is a subject for debate. Aston Martin originally built 898 units of the DB5 between 1963 and 1965, with a smaller number of Volante convertibles and high-performance Vantage coupes bringing the total to around 1050. In period, a handful of DB5 coupes were also converted to shooting brakes (ie. station wagons), with accidents and attrition further reducing numbers over the years.
The total number of surviving DB5s today is unknown, and while genuine examples are valuable collector’s items in their own right, the Bond connection has made these cars additionally desirable and ensured that even ratty and badly-damaged examples are restored and preserved.
The chance to buy a new DB5, built at the same factory that made the originals and featuring a mix of functional and non-functional Bond gadgets will surely present as a more attractive proposition for some than sourcing a genuine example for restoration, or waiting for a DB5 to come up at public sale or auction.
“The connection between Aston Martin and James Bond is something of which we are very proud and it is remarkable that the DB5 remains the definitive James Bond car after so many years,” said Andy Palmer, President and CEO, Aston Martin.“To own an Aston Martin has long been an aspiration for James Bond fans, but to own a Silver Birch DB5, complete with gadgets and built to the highest standards in the very same factory as the original James Bond cars? Well, that is surely the ultimate collectors’ fantasy.
“The skilled craftspeople at Aston Martin Works and the expert special effects team from the James Bond films are about to make this fantasy real for 25 very lucky customers.” Despite being illegal for road use and carrying a price tag of £2.75 million (around AU$4.04 million), excluding taxes, all 25 examples of the DB5 continuation are sure to sell quickly.