Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Touring
Factory Left-Hand Drive ExampleThe Fine Car Store, San Diego, California (acquired by 1987)Private Collection, Newport Beach, California (acquired from the above in 1987)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
The Aston Martin DB5 starred in six James Bond films and is indelibly associated with Sean Connery as the bulletproof Agent 007. DB5s can be seen in almost 50 years of Bond films, from 1964’s Goldfinger to 2012’s Skyfall, when three silver stunt cars carried the original BMT 216A license plate.
An original DB5 is undoubtedly the most desirable Aston Martin, and it remains the brand’s most iconic model. It conveys an unparalleled combination of class, performance, and sophistication, and it established global recognition for the marque that continues to this day.
The DB5 is instantly recognizable by the streamlined headlights developed for the lightweight DB4 GT. The DB5 was launched in 1963 to replace the 5-year-old DB4, but the 1961 Lagonda Rapide sedan spurred its genesis. To make up for the Rapide’s extra weight, engineer Tadek Marek bored out his DOHC six-cylinder engine to 3,995 cc and 282 bhp, which launched the DB5 to 141 mph. The DB5 could be ordered initially with a four-speed with overdrive, or with a three-speed automatic transmission, but a desirable five-speed ZF synchromesh gearbox was available from chassis 1340 onward.
The DB5’s construction evolved from the DB4, which also featured a rigid platform and aluminum Superleggera coachwork by Touring of Milan. Inside, DB5s were equipped with rich Connolly leather hides, electric windows, and a redesigned instrument layout featuring individual gauges in place of the DB4’s combination units. Clearly, the beautiful new grand touring car from Newport Pagnell was built to perform to world-class standards.
All of this performance and style came at a steep price, roughly double the cost of a Jaguar E-Type, but Aston Martin had hundreds of loyal customers worldwide who were happy to pay. As The Autocar said on September 18, 1964: “Second to his house, a man’s car is usually his most expensive single possession. But a house is static, and though a car like the DB5 costs as much as a comfortable dwelling, it is very dynamic and free to go anywhere. It is a car which cries out to be driven well, and driven far.”
Of the 899 DB5 Coupes built, a scant 220 were constructed as left-hand drive cars; of those, just 193 were intended for US delivery. Completed in June 1964, this Aston Martin, chassis DB5/1612/L, was dispatched to legendary car dealer Peter Satori of Pasadena, California. According to factory records, this DB5 was originally finished in the distinctive color scheme of Sand over green Connolly leather and generously optioned with chrome wire wheels, a limited-slip differential, Normalair air-conditioning, and Armstrong Selectaride adjustable suspension. Records also note that a 2" spacer was factory fitted to the steering column to bring the steering wheel closer to the driver.
While little is known of this DB5’s earliest years, by the mid-1980s the Aston Martin had been refinished in its present color scheme and was offered for sale by The Fine Car Store in San Diego. The car was then proudly held as the centerpiece of a private Newport Beach, California collection. Driven sparingly, it has recorded less than 1,000 miles in the past 30 years.
Having apparently spent its life garaged in Southern California, this elegant DB5 presents particularly well. Finished in striking dark green metallic with black leather interior, it is a most attractive example, with many important original details still intact. For example, the chassis number is etched on both headlight trim rings and is written in chalk underneath the rear seat cushion. The engine and chassis stamping appear clear and undisturbed, with the proper red rectangle of paint surrounding the engine number and traces of red oxide primer on the undercarriage.
Boasting an ideal factory specification, long-term single family ownership, and a genuine character, this left-hand-drive DB5 is surely among the most desirable examples of a David Brown Aston Martin. Its appearance at auction marks the first time in decades 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.