Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Touring
The most recognizable classic Aston Martin is the DB5, a car that represents the culmination of experience gained on both road and track.
Introduced to the world in 1963, the DB5 combined the sporting qualities of the previous David Brown Aston Martins with a more mature and refined manner. This sophisticated feeling from behind the wheel was echoed in the beautiful aluminum coachwork crafted in the old-world Superleggera method pioneered by Touring of Milan.
Mechanically, the DB5 was a steady improvement over the already superb DB4. Every DB5 was equipped with the updated four-liter Tadek Marek-designed engine and all but the earliest examples were fitted with an excellent ZF five-speed gearbox. Other noteworthy changes included Girling disc brakes instead of Dunlops, standard electric windows, and a more modern charging system.
As a grand touring car of unapproachable prestige and performance, the latest Aston Martin drew universal praise from buyers, journalists, and knowledgeable motorists. When Road & Track tested the DB5 in October 1964, they suggested that, “If one were planning a trip from Paris to Rome, a car such as the Aston would be hard to beat,” and concluded that the Aston represented “the essence of GT driving.” This confident and elegant image has long been associated with the DB5.
Between 1963 and 1965, Aston Martin built just 1,021 examples of the DB5, a total that includes 123 examples of the ultra-desirable DB5 Convertible. Of the convertibles, all but 39 left the factory in right-hand drive configuration, a testament to the car’s immense popularity in Britain. Due to their extremely limited production and prestigious status as Aston Martin’s top-of-the-line offering, the DB5 Convertible has always been prized by discerning collectors.
The exceptional Aston Martin presented here, chassis DB5C/1261/R, is among the earliest DB5 Convertibles produced. It was ordered new by Mrs. Dora Bodycote of Nairnshire, Scotland through her agent Callanders Garages Ltd. in Glasgow.
According to the factory build sheet, this DB5 Convertible was originally finished in the elegant color scheme of California Sage with White Gold Connolly leather upholstery and a black soft top. Equipped with a rare Borg Warner automatic transmission, a 3.54:1 rear axle ratio, and Dunlop RS5 tires, the exclusive Aston Martin was delivered to its first owner on 10 December 1963 and registered as “299 KGD.”
Mrs. Bodycote enjoyed her DB5 Convertible for five years before selling it to George William Pipe of Bradford, England in 1968. Mr. Pipe then retained the Aston Martin until 1970, when he sold it to Edward “Teddy” Townsley, an engineer and proprietor of Barwick Garage in Leeds.
Mr. Townsley was a passionate collector of Lagonda automobiles, having owned some forty-plus examples of the marque. He acquired this DB5 Convertible as a companion to his stable of Lagondas, but used the Aston Martin rarely and ultimately sold it to his friend Daniel Cork in June 1979. Mr. Cork, who owned a motorcycle dealership in Leeds, kept the Aston Martin until he passed away around 2006, whereupon his sons sold it to well-respected Aston Martin specialist Adrian Johnson. In recent correspondence on file, Mr. Johnson recalls his intimate connection with this DB5, which dates back to his childhood, when his father’s firm Post Vintage Engineers, maintained the car for Mr. Townsley and Mr. Cork.
Under his ownership, Mr. Johnson embarked on a complete nut-and-bolt restoration of the DB5, which still remained in largely original and well-preserved condition. As a result, he was able to save the car’s original aluminum bodywork, with the exception of the sills and door skins that were replaced due to electrolysis corrosion. During the restoration, a few improvements were made to make the Aston Martin a better driving car. For example, the original, matching-numbers engine was enlarged to 4.2-liter capacity, the automatic transmission was replaced with a proper S5/325 ZF manual gearbox, the suspension was uprated, and a power steering rack was fitted to improve low-speed maneuverability.
Before the project was completed, the DB5 Convertible was sold to William Rankin, who then had Mr. Johnson finish the restoration in his preferred color combination of Silver Birch over red leather. Soon after the work was finished, Mr. Rankin sold the car back to Mr. Johnson who, in turn, sold the car to William Loughran. Most recently, the DB5 Convertible has been an integral part of the consignor’s exclusive private collection, during which time it has been regularly exercised and dutifully maintained.
A particularly complete example, this DB5 Convertible is accompanied by an original tool roll, jack, and instruction book, as well as a comprehensive history file that includes the original UK logbook, a copy of the factory build sheet, and detailed service and restoration records dating back to the late 1970s.
Boasting a well-known provenance, impressive documentation, and a high-quality restoration by one of the UK’s foremost specialists, this brilliantly presented DB5 Convertible is surely among the most desirable examples of a David Brown Aston Martin. Its appearance at auction marks the first time that this remarkable car has been offered for public sale and we encourage discerning collectors to pay close attention to what may well be the opportunity of a lifetime.
*Please note that this lot is currently located in the UK. It is UK registered and has a UK DVLA issued V5C. For further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Please note that the Seller of this Lot is a private individual.
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