Aston Martin DB5 – 1963

Possibly the most successful ever example of car product placement, the DB5 achieved film star status in its own right in the hands of Sean Connery as James Bond’s over-the-top set of wheels in the film Goldfinger.

The must-haves for the car chase in the hills above Monte Carlo included twin pop-out 30 calibre Browning machine guns, a three-way revolving front number plate, smokescreen generator, spiked nail dispenser, oil-slick spray nozzle to dispatch tailgaters and a passenger-seat ejector for the instant removal of unwanted company. The car’s starring role in the film led to sales of over a thousand DB5s — a record for the Aston Martin company. The DB5 was the epitome of style and if your sights were trained on Miss Moneypenny, the DB5 was the unchallenged transport of delight.

The DB5 replaced the relatively long-lasting DB4, in two-door, four-seater coupe, convertible or estate versions. The DB4’s 3.7 litre engine was revved up to 4 litres for the DB5. Earlier models maintained the DB4’s four-speed manual transmission plus optional overdrive, or the three-speed automatic alternative but these systems were soon superseded by a standard five-speed manual gearbox. The three SU carburetors of the earlier DB5 model produced a top speed of about 140 mph (225 km/h). The Aston Martin Volante, introduced in late 1964, was slightly more powerful.

While its price/performance ratio couldn’t match such contemporaries as the Jaguar E-Type (at about half the price tag), the DB5’s classic design was infinitely more refined than the E-Type’s blatantly vulgar appearance. With its leather upholstery and classy wood interior fittings (though without power steering), it was a machine for the financially inoculated to die for, or even use as their license for thrills.


United Kingdom


1963 (until 1965)


3,995 cc Straight Six


Top speed of 140 mph (225 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 8.1 secs


The Aston Martin DB series was named after David Brown, its managing director. He bought the company in 1947 and sold it in 1972.


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