In 1963 Aston Martin rolled out its 5th generation of David Brown cars named after the company’s owner and post war saviour, the Aston Martin DB5. The cowled headlamps of the DB5 gave this car a distinctly similar impression of the DB4GT; indeed, the DB5 was in many ways a continuation of the previous generation car. However, far from being a simple facelift, the DB5 constituted a giant step forward in Aston Martin technological evolution.
One of the key improvements came from the car’s new power train. The new Aston Martin DB5 featured one of the most powerful engines of the time. The increase in power came principally from increased capacity, with the Tadek Marek designed, square piston engine from the DB4 being uprated from 3.7 litres to a more potent 4 litre block. The cooling was also improved after complaints from DB4 owners of frequent overheating. The inline 6-cylinder engine now produced a heady 282Bhp and breathed through 3 sonorous SU carbs.
In addition to the engine upgrades, the DB5 also improved upon the DB4’s interior. Learning from Ferrari, Aston Martin looked to capture the US market whose discerning customers were used to big cars with sumptuous interiors. As a result, the DB5 had larger seats, lighter steering and was the first Aston Martin to feature electric windows. As standard the car came with a 5-speed ZF gearbox with full synchros but as a premium optional extra, a 3-speed Borg-Warner automatic transmission was also available. Whilst on some cars this option may seem like a disadvantage, it particularly suits the cruising nature of the car and takes away all of the stress of stop-go driving through bustling Riviera villages.
In 1964 Goldfinger hit the silver screen and Bond, James Bond immortalised the Aston Martin DB5. Shots of the Silver Birch Coupé perched on a Swiss Alp are well known to each and every motoring enthusiast. However, while the coupé was best suited for an undercover agent, Aston Martin also designed a convertible version for people who were happy to look a little less inconspicuous. The DB5 Convertible was seen as the epitome of British elegance and class. Celebrities of the time were sure to be seen with the roof down. VIPs such as Peter Sellers, Beryl Reid and even the flamboyant HRH Princess Margaret could be spotted in a DB5 Convertible and priced at £4490 in 1963, only celebrities and royalty could afford such a luxury car. In total only 123 Convertibles were made with the production of the Coupé running to nearly 1000 units.
The Aston Martin DB5 offered here is surely the best example currently available. Chassis 1269/R was delivered new to Roy James Mc Auliffe and was subsequently purchased by the previous owners from a dealership in Sheffield in 1978. At that time the recorded mileage was only 7500 miles. The next owners of the car were a company in Sheffield who only drove the car a sparing 200 miles per year on average. It is said that the car saw such limited use because had one single employee driven it any further it would have had to appear as a benefit on their tax return! While under the long-time ownership of the company this Aston Martin DB5 Convertible was properly maintained and well looked after, including a full engine overhaul in 1993 by Aston Service Dorset in Wimborne. However, since being acquired by the present owners, it can truly be said that no expense has been spared. After being purchased at auction, this car was sent back to the factory it was made in some 50 years previous. Aston Martin Works in Newport Pagnel lavished a 2-year cosmetic restoration on the car in 2016. The invoices and detailed pictures are available in the history file and make for impressive reading. In total £251,541.98 was spent on the body and interior of this car.
With only 123 convertible DB5s built and even fewer being optioned with the superb automatic gearbox, a car as rare as this almost never comes up for sale. As such the opportunity to own such an iconic British classic cannot be missed.
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