The Rich History of Aston Martin and the DB5

The Rich History of Aston Martin and the DB5

We previously looked back at the rich history of Aston Martin and the iconic DB Mark III. But the pioneering DB Mark III is far from the most iconic car in Aston Martin’s history. That title belongs to the DB5, whose claim to fame, aside from its elegant design and super performance, is its association with the James Bond franchise.

The DB5 — the original prototype no less — first appeared in Goldfinger in 1964, and since then has made appearances in subsequent Bond films, including Thunderball (1965), GoldenEye (1997), Casino Royale (2007), Skyfall (2012), and Spectre (2015).

The DB5 Prototype


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The DB5 prototype, one of two models Aston Martin built specifically for Goldfinger, originally featured an assortment of gadgets designed by special effects expert John Stears. After the film, Aston Martin stripped the prototype’s gadgets and sold the vehicle to Kentish businessman Gavin Keyzar, who refitted the car with an exact copy of the gadgets. The famous car was later bought by Richard Loose in 1971. In 1985, Sotheby’s New York sold it to Anthony Pugliese, who used the car for promotional work. Then in 1997, it was stolen from an aircraft hangar in Boca Raton airport in Florida. The fear was that the car was lost forever. However, twenty years later the vehicle may have been found with The National Lifestyle reporting that the DB5 could be in the Middle East. The key to verifying its authenticity according to Art Recovery International chief executive Christopher Marinello is a shot of its chassis number. If it’s ‘dp/216/1’, then it might just be a matter of time before an icon is recovered.

Birth of an Icon


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The DB5 was originally just an upgrade of the DB4, and the two, in fact, look nearly identical. In many ways, the DB5 was the DB4, only bigger, heftier, and more powerful thanks to a 3.7-liter twin-cam straight six designed by Tadek Marek, a Polish engineer who had joined Aston Martin in 1954. It was unveiled at the Earls Court motor show in October 1963, and even then, no one could have ever anticipated the DB5 becoming the icon that it is now.

Striking Gold


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Then again, who would have thought that the Goldfinger effect would be the DB5’s Midas touch? The franchise back in the 1960s was in its relative infancy, with the Sean Connery film being just the third installment. Even Aston Martin owner David Brown hesitated at first before ultimately relenting and giving the go-signal to have the prototype DB5 used in the movie. Pinewood Studios equipped the car with an array of gadgets, repainted it silver birch, and turned it into one of Bond’s coolest rides. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

The DB5 quickly became one of the most popular Aston Martin models ever, outselling its predecessor, the DB4, by more than double. Agent 007 had turned the DB5 from an upgrade into the ‘Most Famous Car in the World’. The car had become such an icon of cinema that it made return appearances in later Bond films, including the last two, Skyfall and Spectre, starring Daniel Craig. Entertainment Daily confirmed that the British actor will reprise his role one final time in the 25th Bond film. News on the upcoming film is scant as of the moment, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if the DB5 appears yet again to mark this milestone for the franchise.

Despite the advances in the automobile industry, car enthusiasts always come back to the DB5 as the pinnacle of British automobile design. It would certainly be great to see the spy driving his iconic DB5 once more in Bond 25. But if it does not happen, the DB5 will remain legendary nonetheless.