Aston Martin DB
Aston Martin DB5
2-door 2+2 coupé
2-door convertible (123)
2-door shooting brake
Aston Martin DB6
Aston Martin DB4
The DB4 is a sports car sold by Aston Martin from 1958 until 1963.
Technically it was a development of the DB Mark III it replaced but with a completely new body.
The DB4’s design formed the basis for later Aston Martin classics, such as the DB4 GT Zagato, the Lagonda Rapide 4-door saloon, it was eventually replaced by the Aston Martin DB5.
The lightweight superleggera (tube-frame) body was designed by Carrozzeria Touring in Milan, and its Continental looks caused a sensation on its unveiling at the 1958 London Motor Show.
Although the design and construction techniques were Italian, the DB4 was the first Aston to be built at the company’s Newport Pagnell works in Buckinghamshire, England.
The 3.7 L (3670 cc/223 in³) engine, designed by Tadek Marek, was a double overhead cam straight-6, with cylinder head and block of cast R.R.50 aluminium alloy, a further development of the earlier engine.
The engine was prone to:
Overheating initially, but the 240 hp (179 kW) produced by the twin-SU carburettor version made buyers forgive this unfortunate trait
Servo-assisted disc brakes were fitted all round: early 11.5 in (292 mm) Dunlops were replaced by Girlings.
The independent front suspension used ball-jointed wishbones, coil springs and rack-and-pinion steering.
The live rear axle also used coil springs and was located by a Watt’s linkage. The normal final-drive ratio for British and European use was 3.54:1: in the United States it was 3.77.
A car with the British standard 3.54 final drive ratio tested by The Motor magazine in 1960 had a top speed of 139.3 mph and an acceleration from 0-60 mph in 9.3 seconds.
The test car cost £3967 including taxes.
There were five “series” of DB4.
The most visible changes were:
The addition of window frames in Series II
Adoption of a barred (rather than eggcrate) grille in Series IV
The Series III
The Series III cars differed from the earlier ones in having:
Taillights consisting of three small lamps mounted on a chrome backing plate
Earlier cars have single-piece units and the last Series V cars of September 1962 have similar taillights but recessed.
The Series V also has a taller and longer body to provide more interior space, though the diameter of the wheels was reduced to keep the overall height the same.
The front of the Series V usually was of the more aerodynamic style as already used on the Vantage and GT models, a style that was later carried over to the DB5 cars.
1962 Aston Martin DB4 Series V Convertible
A convertible was introduced in October 1961.
It featured in-house styling similar to the Touring saloon, and an extremely rare factory hardtop was also available.
In total, 70 DB4 convertibles were made from a total DB4 production run of 1,110 cars.
30 of these were Series IV, with the remaining 40 belonging to the Series V. 32 of the total convertibles built (11 and 21 of the different series respectively) were equipped with the more powerful Vantage engine.
Top speed for the regular version is about 136 mph.
The DB4 GT was a special lightweight, high-performance version of the DB4.
Introduced in September 1959, it featured:
A thinner aluminium skin for lighter weight.
The wheelbase was also reduced in comparison to the standard car, which meant many cars didn’t have rear seats.
The engine was what made the GT special.
It was available in 3.7 L (3670 cc/223 in³) and 3.8 L (3750 cc/228 in³) versions
It had two sparkplugs per cylinder with two distributors and three twin-choke Weber carburettors.
Maximum speed for the GT was 151 mph. It had a 6.1 second sprint to 60 mph.
Seventy-five GTs were built with this body style.
Nineteen more were modified by the Zagato works in Italy into DB4 GT Zagatos.
Plain oval grilles
A smoothed out rear end without the stock GT’s tail fins
With the introduction of the Series IV in 1961, a high-performance DB4 Vantage was offered.
Three SU carbs and special cylinder heads, increasing power to 266 hp (198 kW)
It had the enclosed headlights of the DB4 GT.
In all, there were 136 saloons and 32 convertibles with the Vantage engine.
1962 Aston Martin DB4 Series 5 Vantage GT
A tiny number of non-GT DB4s used the GT’s more-powerful engine.
This combination is often called a Vantage GT, though not all included the Vantage package and none was technically a GT.
Three Series III, five Series IV, and six Series V cars have this unusual combination of body and engine for a total of 14.
The Aston Martin DB5 is a British luxury grand tourer that was made by Aston Martin and designed by the Italian coachbuilder Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera.
Released in 1963, it was an evolution of the final series of DB4. The DB series was named honouring Sir David Brown (the owner of Aston Martin from 1947 to 1972).
Although not the first in the DB series, the DB5 is famous for being the most recognised cinematic James Bond car, first appearing in the James Bond film Goldfinger (1964)
The principal differences between the DB4 Series V and the DB5 are:
The all-aluminium engine, enlarged from 3.7 L to 4.0 L
A new robust ZF five-speed transmission (except for some of the very first DB5s
Three SU carburettors.
This engine propelled the car to 145 mph top speed.
Standard Equipment On The DB5
Standard equipment on the DB5 included:
Wool pile carpets
Twin fuel tanks
Chrome wire wheels
Full leather trim in the cabin
All models have two doors and are of a 2+2 configuration.
Like the DB4, the DB5 used a live rear axle
The original four-speed manual (with optional overdrive) was standard fitment, but it was soon dropped in favour of the ZF five-speed
A three-speed Borg-Warner DG automatic transmission was available as well.
The automatic option was then changed to the Borg-Warner Model 8 shortly before the DB6 replaced the DB5.
The DB5 Vantage was introduced in 1964 and featured:
Three Weber twin-choke 45DCOE side-draft carburettors
Revised camshaft profiles
These delivered greater top-end performance at the expense of overall flexibility
This engine produced 315 hp (235 kW).
65 DB5 Vantage coupés were built.
1965 DB5 Vantage convertible.
123 convertible DB5s were produced (also with bodies by Touring), though they did not use the typical “Volante” name until 1965
The convertible model was offered from 1963 through to 1965.
Only 19 of the 123 DB5 Convertibles made were left-hand drive.
12 cars were originally fitted with a factory Vantage engine, and at least one further convertible was subsequently factory fitted with a DB6 specification Vantage engine.
A rare factory option (actually fitted by Works Service prior to customer delivery) was a steel removable hard top.
From October 1965 to October 1966, Aston Martin used the last 37 of the Aston Martin DB5 chassis’ to make another convertible model. These 37 cars were known as “Short Chassis” Volantes and were the first Aston Martins to hold the “Volante” name.
Although calling it a “Short Chassis” is a bit of a misnomer as the “short” comes from comparing it to the subsequent DB6, which has a longer chassis.
When compared to the DB5, it is not “short” but rather the same size, however these cars differ to the DB5 convertible models as they feature DB6 split front and rear bumpers and rear TR4 lights, as also used on the DB6.
A prototype DB5 shooting-brake was custom produced by the factory for David Brown, and 11-12 more coupés were custom modified for Aston Martin by independent coachbuilder, Harold Radford.
The taillights used were Triumph units, and were also adopted for the succeeding DB6.
James Bond DB5
Two Aston Martin DB5s were built for production, one with gadgets one without.
The Aston Martin DB5 is one of the most famous cars in the world thanks to Oscar-winning special effects expert John Stears, who created the deadly silver-birch DB5 for use by James Bond in Goldfinger (1964).
The car used in the film was the original DB5 prototype, with another standard car used for stunts.
The two DB5s were showcased at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, and it was dubbed “the most famous car in the world”
Sales of the car rose.
In January 2006, one of these was auctioned in Arizona; the same car was originally bought in 1970 from the owner, Sir Anthony Bamford, by a Tennessee museum owner
A car, mainly used for promoting the movie, is now located in the Louwman Museum, Netherlands.
The first DB5 prototype used in Goldfinger with the chassis number DP/216/1 was later stripped of its weaponry and gadgetry by Aston Martin and then resold.
It was then retrofitted by subsequent owners with nonoriginal weaponry. The Chassis DP/216/1 DB5 was stolen in 1997 from its last owner in Florida and is currently still missing.
Within the universe of James Bond, the same car (registration BMT 216A) was used again in the following film, Thunderball, a year later.
Yet another DB5 appeared in Casino Royale (2006), this one with Bahamian number plates and left-hand drive (where the previous British versions had been right-hand drive).
Another silver-birch DB5 with the original registration BMT 216A is used in the 23rd James Bond film, Skyfall, during the 50th anniversary of the release of the first James Bond film Dr. No
The DB5 is destroyed in the film’s climactic finale. It is seen again in Spectre, firstly in Q’s underground workshop in various stages of rebuild, and at the film’s ending, fully rebuilt, with Bond driving away with it.
On 1 June 2010, RM Auctions announced the upcoming auction of a DB5 used in both Goldfinger and Thunderball. The owner (Jerry Lee, president/owner of WBEB Radio in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) originally bought the car from the Aston Martin company in 1969. At the auction, the DB5 was sold for £2.6 million.
1964 Aston Martin DB5, produced by Corgi Toys, as a tie-in to the film
With Goldfinger, Corgi Toys began its decades-long relationship with the Bond franchise: they produced a toy of the car, which became the biggest selling toy of
A highly detailed kit was also produced by Airfix between 1966 and 1970.
A highly detailed 1:24 scale die-cast model with many working features was produced as a limited edition in 2006 for Casino Royale, by the Danbury Mint.
In January 2011 a 1/8 scale model was released by part work magazine publisher GE Fabbri in the UK. Over 85 weekly parts, the model builds into one of the biggest 007 scale models to date, with working gadgets and lights.
In popular culture
The DB5 is however unquestionably the most recognised cinematic James Bond car.
It appears in several video games such as 007 Racing, Driver San Francisco (Deluxe Edition), James Bond 007: Agent Under Fire, From Russia with Love, and James Bond 007: Blood Stone. The From Russia with Love movie was released in 1963, one year before Goldfinger (in which the DB5 used the first time), but the video game used the car.
A version of the car appeared in Grand Theft Auto: London 1969, being called a “James Bomb”.
Leonardo DiCaprio was seen driving one in Catch Me If You Can, imitating Bond (even down to the suit) in Goldfinger.
In 2013, Grand Theft Auto V featured a car called the “JB 700” that heavily alluded to being a DB5.
In the 2015 TV series Thunderbirds Are Go a DB5 can be seen as Lady Penelope gets into Fab 1 in the first episode Ring Of Fire.
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