It’s time once more to explore the mythology of one of history’s most iconic vehicles. This month, it’s a car that's long overdue for discussion. This car consistently tops top ten lists the world over for its looks, its illustrious history, and its status as a bona fide legend. It is rare that a car can be classed as a celebrity, but the mere sight of this vehicle on the road is enough to send pedestrians flocking for a closer view, cameras at the ready. This month, we present to you the endlessly elegant, perpetually stylish Aston Martin DB5.
The DB5 is named for Sir David Brown, who headed Aston Martin between 1947 and 1972. The car is a British luxury grand tourer produced by Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera, an Italian coachbuilder with a long track record of making jaw-droppingly beautiful cars. The DB5 was released in 1963, as an overhaul of the popular DB4. The main differences between the DB4 and its successor are the enlarged engine, up to 4.0 litres from 3.7L, three SU carburettors, and a tough ZF five-speed manual gearbox. The engine produced a whopping 282bhp, and gave the car a top speed of 145mph, with a 0-62 of 8 seconds.
The car is certainly exceptional in its own right. It’s fair to say, however, that the Aston Martin DB5 owes the lions share of its fame its most famous driver: that sharp suited, serial supervillain-thwarter, James Bond. The DB5 first appeared in a Goldfinger in 1964, driven through airy mountain passes by a smirking Sean Connery. Despite its inclusion in the films, the DB5 wasn’t intended by the series’ creator, Ian Fleming, to be Bonds wheels. Originally, the books has Bond behind the wheel of another of our Iconic Car of the Month winners: the Bentley Blower. However, by the time the films were produced, the international playboy super spy would have looked a little odd driving around in a car that was a couple of decades out of date.
The car seen in the films was specially altered by Oscar-winning SFX expert John Stears, who conceptualised the deadly DB5 seen tearing through mountain passes with ease. The film version of the car was weaponised, with all manner of gadgets added in true Bond fashion, including, famously, hidden machine guns on the front of the vehicle. Since its debut in Goldfinger, the DB5 has made several appearances throughout the franchise, showing up in films including Thunderball and GoldenEye. Most recently it appeared in Skyfall, in which Judi Dench complains it is uncomfortable and is eventually blown up in the course of saving the day (the car, not Judi Dench). A fitting send off for a silver screen legend.
The car’s use in the world famous franchise has catapulted the-already exceptional vehicle to international fame, which has lasted the five decades since it first graced our screens. The luxury tourer deeply ingrained in British culture, with everything from television series to video games lining up to pay homage. Down the decades, the DB5 has been revered in pop culture as the ultimate vehicle: exuding style, oozing charm and individuality.