Among British cars, the Aston Martin manufacturer is one of the most popular. The James Bond film series helped catapult the growth of the Aston Martin in general, but one of the most immortalized models is the DB5. Originally driven in the 1960s James Bond films “Thunderball” and “Goldfinger, in which Sean Connery played 007, the DB5 has become known as the quintessential Bond car and also became known as “the most famous car in the world.”
The original car was a larger than average coupe made during 1963 and 1965. Just over a thousand of the car model was made at the time making significant upgrades from the previous DB4 including increasing engine capacity to 4 liters, changing the carburetors and headlamps, adopting Girling disc brakes and 15” wheels, and adding in electric windows and a hydraulic brake system. Some of the original cars were also outfitted as convertibles with a metal, removable roof.
In 1963, two near-identical cars were built by Aston Martin and loaned to Eon Productions for the filming of Goldfinger; one for stunt driving and chase sequences, and the other for interior shots and close-ups, to be equipped with functional modifications by special effects guru John Stears. As legendary weapons-master Q would explain to 007, the DB5 was equipped with front and rear hydraulic over-rider rams on the bumpers, a Browning .30 caliber machine gun in each fender, wheel-hub mounted tire-slashers, a raising rear bullet-proof screen, an in-dash radar tracking scope, oil, caltrop and smoke screen dispensers, revolving license plates, a passenger-seat ejection system, a telephone in the driver’s door to communicate with MI6 headquarters, and a hidden compartment under the driver’s seat containing several weapons.
The smash success of Goldfinger led producers to order two more DB5s; chassis nos. DB5/2008/R, the example on offer by RM Sotheby’s, and DB5/2017/R. The two cars were fitted with all Bond modifications and shipped to the U.S. for promotional duties for Thunderball.
The popularity of the DB5 in the Bond films later carried over to the 1995 bond film “GoldenEye” when Pierce Brosnan played Bond, and finally in “Skyfall” where Bond was played by Daniel Craig. While in many of the more recent Bond films, they have used a more modern Aston Martin, for “Skyfall”, they brought back the original cars to help create the continuity of Bond.
The cars that starred in the films sell for a pretty penny, including a recent sale by RM Auctions in which a DB5 used in “Thunderball sold for over $6 million. A DB5 that wasn’t used in the films is around $450k.
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