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When the DB5 was unveiled at the Earls Court motor show in October 1963, it’s unlikely that anyone at Aston Martin anticipated just how successful it would be. Why would they? The new model was little more than an update of its DB4 predecessor – a car that had already been around for five years – and it looked virtually identical.
That was probably no bad thing, though. When the DB4 was being developed in the late ’50s, Aston general manager John Wyer had insisted that its styling should come from an Italian coachbuilder, and it was a decision that paid off – the body created by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan was so beautiful that it was no doubt responsible for a large number of DB4 sales all by itself.
What the DB5 would soon have on its side, though, was one of the most memorable examples of product placement in history – a starring role in the third James Bond movie, 1964’s Goldfinger. Ironically, Sean Connery’s Bond could easily have ended up in an E-type – Ken Adam, Goldfinger’s production designer, drove one himself and thought it would be perfect for 007, but when the film’s producers asked Jaguar if they would supply a car, they were turned down.
Amazing as it may sound today, Aston owner David Brown was also reluctant when he was first approached. He eventually relented, though, and dispatched the prototype DB5, still wearing its original BMT 216A number plate, to Pinewood Studios to be equipped with a full complement of Secret Service gadgets before it was treated to a Silver Birch respray.
Aston had considered the DB4 a success, but the DB5 sold twice as fast, with 1021 being built during its brief two-year production run. The DB5 may have been a better car, but it didn’t hurt that, when Goldfinger was released in September 1964, it also became the most famous car in the world.
Undoubtedly, any example of such a motor car, including this example, can only be referred to as an item of historic interest and should be revered by any passionate enthusiast for many years to come.
Aston Martin DB5 1315R was delivered in original UK Right Hand Drive specification, finished in Silver Birch with the interior trimmed sumptuously in red Connelly leather. The car was supplied with engine number 400/1272, which is still fitted in the car, a 3995cc Aston Martin Straight Six, and four-speed manual gearbox, number S432/4/1366, which is again still fitted to the car. The car is sitting on a set of Turrino fully-polished wire wheels, with 4-wheel disc brakes all round, and as such the car retains all its original major factory delivered components.
It was first registered in the UK in January 1964 More recently, the vehicle remained unused and in dry storage from 1977 through to 1999, when it was recommissioned for road use.
More importantly, in 2015, the car was subject to a full restoration, including all bodywork, interior, wiring and all other control systems, such as brakes, steering and suspension, and a full engine rebuild and gearbox overhaul. This work was completed by John Smith of Wren Classics, latterly Tudor & Black Ltd, and John’s work is of the highest international regard, with further finishing embellishments by JD Classics Ltd.
The car has only covered very limited mileage since the restoration work was completed, with an overall mileage on the vehicle of some 58,500 miles. It has remained in professional dry storage conditions over the last three years, and is currently being serviced and recommissioned to the highest possible standard, to be effectively as new.
The car is complete with a very large documented history file and historical transcript, including photographs, receipts and invoices, and a British manufacturer’s heritage certificate. As part of its sale, DK carried out a major service totalling some £15,000 in parts and labour making the car fir for the next owner and the open road.