Aston Martin DB5
There’s an overwhelming feeling of Britishness about this classic Aston Martin. It comes from the mix of traditional interior, hand-finished coachwork and race-bred power. The DB5 was a very expensive, cultured and desirable machine.
Cult status was assured when James Bond (Sean Connery) drove one in the film Goldfinger (1964). The DB5 also appeared with 007 in Thunderball, Tomorrow Never Dies, Casino Royale and GoldenEye. The Aston reflected the stylish brutality of early Bond films.
The DB5 was the most expensive and luxurious British sports car at that time – it cost twice as much as an E-Type and only did 15mpg. Yet sales soared after its appearance in Goldfinger. Aston Martin became recognised worldwide as a symbol of 1960s Britain.
The car featured a new four-litre engine - big by European standards - plus state-of-the-art technology like disc brakes and a five-speed gearbox. Standard features included electric windows, reclining seats, 15-inch wheels and a fire extinguisher. Air conditioning was available as an option - again this was much more common in the US than in Europe.
The ‘DB’ series was named after wealthy tractor maker David Brown who bought the company in 1947. Only 886 DB5’s were produced as saloons, 123 as Convertibles. Even rarer were the DB5 Shooting Brake estates, designed so David Brown could carry his hunting guns. Only 12 were produced.
The secret agent’s car was modified to include a passenger ejector seat with removable roof panel, oil slick creator, smoke-screen device, front machineguns and battering rams, wheel-mounted tyre slashers, radar scanner, revolving number plates and a retractable bullet-proof shield.
The DB5/Bond link was probably the highest profile product placement of all time. For example, to celebrate the première of Goldfinger, Sean Connery drove a silver DB5 along the Champs-Elysées in Paris accompanied by 60 women whose bodies were painted gold.
Engine: 4.0-litre, twin-cam 6-cylinder
Design: front engine, rear-wheel-drive two-door sports coupe
Acceleration: 0-60mph in 7.1secs
Top speed: 142mph/229kph
Features: five-speed gearbox (three-speed automatic optional), wire wheels, wooden steering wheel, electric windows, optional air-conditioning, reclining seats
Price then: £4,175 ($11,690)