'Racing has played a major part in the development of all Aston Martin engines since Frank Halford designed the original 1.5-litre unit for Bamford & Martin. The 3,995cc 6-cylinder light alloy engine fitted to the DB5 is in all major respects the same as that which powered the 4-litre prototype which ran in the 1962 and 1963 Le Mans 24-Hour races.' – Autocar, 21st May 1965.
Aston Martin's post-war evolution took a giant step forward with the launch of the DB4 in 1958. Classically proportioned, the Touring Supperleggera-designed bodywork established an instantly recognisable and elegant appearance that would stand the marque in good stead until 1970. The engine was an all-alloy, twin-overhead-camshaft, six but the old W O Bentley supervised 3.0-litre unit had been superseded by a new design by Tadek Marek. The new 3,670cc engine featured 'square' bore and stroke dimensions of 92mm, and developed its maximum power of 240bhp at 5,500rpm. The David Brown gearbox was a new four-speed all-synchromesh unit.
The Touring Superleggera body construction, which employed a lightweight tubular structure to support the aluminium-alloy body panels, was deemed incompatible with the DB2/4-type multi-tubular spaceframe, so engineer Harold Beach drew up a new, extremely stiff chassis platform. The DB2/4's trailing-link independent front suspension gave way to unequal-length wishbones, while at the rear the DB4 sported a live axle located by a Watts linkage, instead of its predecessor's Panhard rod.
Five series were built as the model gradually metamorphosed into the DB5. Introduced in July 1963, the Aston Martin DB5 boasted a 4.0-litre engine, this enlarged unit having been seen first in the Lagonda Rapide of 1961. Equipped with three SU carburettors, the '400' engine produced 282bhp at 5,500rpm and was mated to a four-speed/overdrive gearbox, with the more advanced ZF five-speed unit being standardised later.
The DB5's distinctive cowled headlamps had first appeared on the DB4GT and the newcomer was the same size as the lengthened Series V DB4. Outwardly, there was little to distinguish the DB5 from the last of the DB4s apart from twin fuel filler caps, though these had already appeared on some cars. Beneath the skin however, there were numerous improvements including alternator electrics, Girling disc brakes instead of Dunlops, Sundym glass, electric windows and an oil pressure gauge as standard equipment.
From September 1964 the 314bhp, triple-Weber Vantage engine became available and was fitted to a total of 95 cars. The DB5 was also offered in convertible form (the 'Volante' name would not be applied to the soft-top Aston until the DB6's arrival) while independent coachbuilder Harold Radford offered a shooting brake conversion. 1,021 DB5s were manufactured between July 1963 and September 1965, a total that included 123 convertibles and 12 shooting brakes.
The DB5 was the first and remains the most famous of all the 'James Bond' Aston Martins, having appeared in no fewer than nine movies of the series, beginning with Goldfinger in 1964. Equipped with rocket launchers and sundry other gadgets, 007's DB5 was finished in Silver Birch with red interior, in which specification it was later issued by Corgi Toys.
This Aston Martin DB5 was first registered in 1965 and supplied new to a Mr J. Adamson in Yorkshire. The car was initially specified in the tasteful combination of Autumn gold over a beige Connolly VM 846 hide. The car was well enjoyed by its first owners (having also been registered to a Mr. P. Ferreira at the time) and covered over 50,000 miles by 1973. During this time the car would see diligent maintenance including: the removal of the engine, fitting and grinding in a new set of valves, compression testing and having new carburettor jets fitted, which is a testament to how conscientious the early ownership of this example was, in consideration of its mileage.
The car continued to be in service, although with a greatly reduced annual milage, throughout the 70s to the millennium, after which it underwent an exhaustive body-off restoration with Mitchell Motors Chicklade, commencing in 2002, which included: 600 hours of metalwork, a 400 hour repaint to a concours standard, a complete new suite of hydraulic and electronic ancillaries, and an optional uprated suspension Handling Package. The work also now sees the car finished in the iconic Silver Birch over Red. Post restoration, the car saw light use and received religiously regular maintenance with the specialists including, but not limited to: D. S. Purcell, The Haynes International Motor Museum, and Marksdanes.
Its most recent service was undertaken in August 2023 by Nicholas Mee, where over £4,000 of work was completed, which, as well as the routine 2,500-mile manufacturer specified service, also included clutch fluid reservoir replacement, the removal of fuel tanks, and disassembly of carburettors to ensure optimal running.
The car presents in an exceedingly tidy condition and in a highly desired colour combination, and provides the opportunity to own an exceptionally well maintained and restored icon of 1960s history. It is presently adorned with a kilometer speedometer for the previous owner, as well as Vantage side badges, and a discrete yet modern in fuction retrofitted Air Conditioning unit and Becker Monaco Stereo.
This beautiful example of Aston Martin's famed DB5 is available to view at our showrooms just outside London immediately, presenting in the iconic hue of Silver Birch and having been recently prepared for sale by Nicholas Mee.