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Coachwork by Touring
*Please note that this car’s original matching-numbers engine is 400/2272; the last two digits of this number were transposed in the catalogue.
The most recognizable and revered classic Aston Martin is the DB5, a car that represents the culmination of nearly a decade of constant improvement based on experiences gained on both road and track.
Introduced to the world in 1963, the DB5 combined the sporting qualities of the DB-series cars that came before 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 by Touring of Milan. As a grand touring car of unapproachable prestige and ample performance, the latest Aston Martin drew universal praise from buyers, journalists, and devoted motoring enthusiasts.
Just 1,021 examples of the DB5 were manufactured between July 1963 and September 1965, and the exclusive road car added a level of panache to Aston Martin’s considerable competition pedigree. 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 elegant, confident image has long been associated with the DB5.
Presented here is the Aston Martin every collector dreams of finding: a well-worn and ideally specified DB5 that has been stored for over 30 years in a California garage.
The history of this remarkable car can be traced back to August 2, 1965, when DB5/2227/L was delivered to its first owner, George G. Cheney of Woodside, California, through British Motor Car Distributors in San Francisco.
As evidenced by factory records, this late-production DB5 was originally specified in left-hand drive and finished in the quintessential Silver Birch livery with black Connolly leather upholstery. Destined for American shores, the exclusive Aston Martin was appointed with rare optional features, including Normalair air-conditioning, Marchal driving lights, a Bosch Koln TR radio, FIAMM horns, chrome wire wheels with three-ear knockoffs, and Avon Turbospeed whitewall tires.
Records indicate that a factory representative serviced the DB5 in September 1965, at which time a new gearbox, two new rear hubs, two new wheels, pedal extension brackets, and a set of TDO/2 air horns were installed. In the early 1970s, the DB5 was sold to a San Francisco resident, and by 1980 the car had been retired from regular road use.
After nearly 40 years of single-family ownership, this Aston Martin has finally been returned to the public eye.
Having sat for decades in static storage, the DB5 received recent mechanical attention that included cleaning the fuel system, rebuilding the carburetors and fitting a new brake booster. At this time the spark plug wires were replaced, the distributor was adjusted, and the aging exhaust was replaced with a new stainless steel system. In preparation for its appearance at auction, a Gooding & Company specialist spent some time behind the wheel of the DB5 and was delighted by its wonderfully patinated presentation and surprising performance. Although the Aston Martin performed well on this recent outing, a thorough mechanical inspection is encouraged before future use.
Significantly, DB5/2227/L retains its matching-numbers engine, the original Normalair air-conditioning condenser and its distinctive blue and yellow California license plates, with the last registration sticker dating from 1979. Though the bodywork has been resprayed in white and displays evidence of prior repair, it remains very complete and largely original; the identification number is stamped in numerous locations, much of the glass appears to be original, and factory-correct fittings are present throughout the chassis and engine bay.
The interior is remarkably well preserved, with the leather upholstery, carpeting, headliner, and aluminum door caps all in good, serviceable condition. Like other high-quality British cars, there is nothing like the feel of a well-kept original Aston Martin interior – the leather is lovely, the controls have a solid high-quality feel, and the entire car exudes a charm not found in restored examples.
This DB5 is particularly notable for being a factory left-hand-drive car, a rare configuration that accounted for just a quarter of overall saloon production, which itself was only a modest 886 cars built over 27 months. It has been estimated that 30 left-hand-drive DB5s were originally finished in Silver Birch and fewer still were outfitted with the expensive Normalair air-conditioning system.
Given its rare options and ideal factory specification, this matching-numbers example is a deserving candidate for a high-point concours restoration. However, its current presentation is sure to appeal to those with a reverence for unrestored automobiles, and it is virtually guaranteed to draw a receptive audience wherever it is seen.
A charismatic example of this iconic British automobile, this unrestored DB5 is an important find and a tremendous opportunity to acquire the most beloved Aston Martin of the David Brown era.