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Aston Martin DB5: Buying guide and review (1963-1965)

Aston Martin DB5: Buying guide and review (1963-1965) Classic and Performance Car
Aston Martin DB5 Aston Martin DB5 Aston Martin DB5 Aston Martin DB5 Aston Martin DB5 Aston Martin DB5 Aston Martin DB5
It’s probably not possible to write about the DB5 without mentioning a certain secret agent, but if it wasn’t for James Bond the svelte Aston simply wouldn’t have the profile that it does. That wouldn’t make it any less desirable though, because here’s a car that’s beautiful, fast, carries one of the most evocative badges and sounds utterly gorgeous the faster you drive it. What’s not to like?
 
Sadly, the DB5’s rarity and collectability also mean you now need incredibly deep pockets to acquire one and because these cars are so valuable, many owners buy them as an investment rather than to use them. However, despite their huge worth, there’s not much chance of the bottom dropping out of the market; DB5 values have enjoyed a spectacular trajectory in recent years, and even if the market softens in the short term (which is unlikely), in the long term you’re always going to come out ahead. 
 
Which one to buy?
 
The DB5’s huge values are a double-edged sword, because while this is a classic that’s now nothing like as attainable as it was, it’s easy to justify a major restoration of one of these very complex machines. Because of the DB5’s complexity, if you’re buying a car that’s already been restored, make sure it comes with a full photographic record of all work done – and make sure it’s been done by a recognised marque specialist.
 
Most DB5s are sold via the major auction houses or through Aston Martin specialists, in which case you should be in good hands. But if you’re buying privately, make use of one of the many Aston experts out there and get them to do a thorough inspection of any potential purchase. In return they’ll want just a fraction of the car’s value, and it might just save you a fortune. By far the majority of DB5s were regular coupes, but there were some Vantage editions too and some dropheads. Unsurprisingly, the latter variant is especially sought after while the Vantage is valued more highly than the SU-equipped DB5. But it’s not hard to convert a DB5 to Vantage specification, so you can buy a standard car and convert it – and if you’re buying a supposedly original Vantage it’s worth establishing that it is the real deal.
 
Performance and specs 
 
Engine 3995cc, in-line 6-cylinder
Power 280bhp @ 5500rpm
Torque 288lb ft @ 3850rpm
Top speed 142mph
0-60mph 8.1sec
Fuel consumption 15mpg
Gearbox Five-speed manual/Three-speed auto
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2489mm
Length 4572mm
Width 1676mm
Height 1346mm
Kerb weight 1465kg
 
Common problems
 
• It’s easy to be taken in by shiny paintwork, but this can be hiding a catalogue of horrors. The DB5 features an aluminium skin stretched over a steel skeleton. It was built to a high standard though, so cherished cars should be in fine fettle. If the aluminium skin is bubbling, expect far worse underneath as the two metals will have reacted with one another. 
 
• The key areas to check are the sills, which can rot badly. If they both need a complete reconstruction expect much financial pain, If the rust has spread to the chassis, proper repairs will be hugely expensive. 
 
• Also look at the base of the bulkhead, jacking points, trailing arm mounts, bumper supports, door hinge mountings, boot floor and the double-skinned boot lid. 
 
• Although it’s realistically not all too common, crash damage is certainly something that you should look out for. More recent repairs are likely to have been carried out to a high standard, but cars repaired years ago when values were lower could be cause for concern.
 
• If the engine is treated to an oil change every 2500 miles it should just keep going, although the oil will need to be regularly topped up if the straight-six isn’t to run low. It should also have had a fresh timing chain within the last 60,000 miles. If this breaks, the engine will be destroyed. 
 
• An oil cooler having been fitted is a sign of a caring owner; if there isn’t one fitted, bank on installing one sooner rather than later. Expect oil pressure of 80-100psi when cruising; much less suggests that all is not well. 
 
• Overheating engines aren’t unusual, because of blocked up waterways around the cylinder liners – especially at the back of the engine, around the water pump. An electric fan is worthwhile, but if the waterways are clogged up, it’s just a matter of time until things get expensive. 
 
• Gearboxes – whether manual or auto – are very tough. If they’re on the verge of giving up it’ll be obvious (jerky changes on the auto, jumping out of gear on the manual). Rebuilds aren’t costly though, relative to the car’s value. 
 
• The dual-circuit braking system (with Girling discs all round) is conventionally engineered and isn’t prone to problems. The steering is also usually reliable, but worn bushes can lead to it becoming vague; they’re easily and cheaply replaced however. 
 
• The suspension bushes also wear, but of more concern is the spectre of the front suspension arms detaching because of corrosion. The same goes for the rear arms of the lower front wishbones; their sockets can corrode, leading to some interesting dynamic characteristics. 
 
• Most interiors will have undergone at least one re-trim by now, and you will usually find only the best quality leather on the seats. There isn’t much to look out for.
 
Model history
 
1963: The DB5 is introduced, taking over from the DB4. It shares much with the DB4 Series 5 Vantage, but in place of the previous 3670cc straight-six there’s a 3995cc unit. Standard carburation is a trio of SU HD8s, or there’s a triple Weber 45DCOE option in the 314bhp DB5 Vantage. There are also Girling disc brakes at each corner, carried over from the DB4 GT. 
 
1964: The third James Bond film is released, Goldfinger. The Aston Martin DB5 takes a starring role, assuring its place in the Hollywood hall of fame. 
 
1965: Harold Radford reveals its shooting brake conversion on the DB5. Meanwhile, the DB5 is superseded by the DB6. By close of production, 886 DB5 coupes have been built (including 65 with the Vantage engine) along with 123 convertibles and a dozen shooting brakes. 
 
James Bond appearances
 
Since its first appearance in Goldfinger, the Aston Martin DB5 has perhaps been the most readily associated with 007. In total, the DB5 has appeared in a total of seven James Bond movies, although only briefly in Thunderball, Tomorrow Never Dies and most recently Spectre.
 
Goldfinger saw the DB5 utilise the passenger ejector seat, while GoldenEye’s opening sequence saw the classic Aston taking part in a race down a mountain, against a Ferrari F355 Spider. Skyfall was perhaps not great viewing for fans of the car, as it was destroyed by gunfire (thankfully a replica built just for the film), although in Spectre we see a glimpse of the iconic car undergoing a Q branch restoration.
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
www.amoc.org - Aston Martin Owners Club
www.amocna.org - North American Aston Martin Owners Club
www.astonmartindb5hire.com - Hire an Aston Martin DB5 for various events
www.astonmartinlife.com - Aston Martin forum
 
Summary and prices
 
There’s no denying that the DB5 is a true icon, and a fantastic driving experience, so values reflect this. As a general rule, the cheapest viable DB5 project car will cost somewhere around £300,000. It’s interesting that for many, these are the cars that offer the best value, as it allows a healthy budget for a complete restoration. Running cars in better condition, on the market for around £400,000-£500,000, will often need similar levels of money spending if the buyer wants a concours standard car. Top condition BD5 models start from around £750,000. 
 
Spec can affect the values, as genuine Vantages and cars with Vantage upgrades command a premium, while the rare automatic versions are not sought after. Convertibles are by far the most desirable of the DB5 range, and thanks to the limited production run of 123 cars, are also the most expensive. Projects (if you can find one) start from £500,000, with average cars usually falling between £750,000-£900,000. The very best command up to (and beyond) £1.2m. 
 
So, it’s a fairly big step-up from that Corgi model Aston Martin DB5 we all had growing up, but for the lucky few that have the means to drive this beautiful GT, there’s certainly a lot to be said for it! 
 
Words: Richard Dredge
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Last updated: 2nd Mar 2016
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Aston Martin DB5 cars for sale

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Aston Martin DB5
695000 800000 GBP
  • ASTON MARTIN DB5

    POA POA

    IN THE SAME OWNERSHIP FOR THE LAST 20 YEARS Brand Aston Martin Type DB5 Color Green Interior Green Year of build 1965 Price Price On Request 1965 ASTON MARTIN DB5 Aston Martin DB5, well known as being the most famous car in the world One of the most iconic classic cars Superb color combination By driving the car, you definitely feel yourself a bit James Bond The Aston Martin DB5 is one of the most iconic classic cars and because of that a serious investment. Nearly fifty years after its screen debut in 1964, the DB5 has left an indelible mark on popular culture. Due to the amazing impact James Bond had and and still has, the DB5 is a car which has to be part in almost every serious classic car collection. In the late 1950s, Aston Martin was still a small, highly exclusive car manufacturer that produced less than 250 hand-built cars per year. Their clientele was an exclusive base of discerning connoisseurs of grand touring motor cars, many who were attracted to the company due to its successes in sports car racing. The DB5 was costing roughly twice of a new Jaguar E-type. In 1963, Aston Martin introduced the DB5 at the Earl’s Court Motor Show in London. The design was similar to the

    • Year: 1965
    For sale
    The Houtkamp Collection
  • 1964 Aston Martin DB5

    POA POA

    Chassis # DB5/1738/R Engine #400/1726 Built on October 1st 1964. The History of the car can be traced back to 1994 when the car was professionally converted from RHD to LHD by Chapman Spooner Ltd in England at cost of £ 7'400 and sold to Mr. Neelsen in Hamburg/Germany. Since then the car was always very well maintained and serviced regularely. A complete engine rebuild was commissioned in 2002 by its previous owner. It was then acquired by its present Swiss owner in 2006 and imported into Switzerland. The car is Matching numbers and was delivered in “Dubonnet” Red with Grey Connolly Leather – Today the car is painted Silver metallic with dark Blue leather interior. The car was inspected and valuated by the Swiss Aston Martin Heritage Center in Safenwil in July 2013. It is in excellent overall condition and drives very well. Swiss Veteran registered Price on request http://grabersportgarage.ch/1964-aston-martin-db5.html Swiss Tax paid

    • Year: 1964
    For sale
  • Aston Martin DB5 Saloon LHD

    POA POA

    Mayfair 020 7125 1400 | Maldon 01621 879579 Just arrived. Designed by the Italian coachbuilder Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera and launched in 1963, the DB5 was an evolution of the final series of DB4. The iconic DB5 is famous for being the most recognised cinematic James Bond car, first appearing in the film Goldfinger in 1964. The main differences between the DB4 Series V and the DB5 are the all-aluminium engine, enlarged from 3.7 Litres to 4.0 Litres. A new ZF five-speed gearbox (except for some of the very first DB5s) and three SU carburettors. Standard equipment on the DB5 included reclining seats, wool pile carpets, electric windows, twin fuel tanks, chrome wire wheels, oil cooler, magnesium-alloy body built to superleggera patent technique, full leather trim in the cabin and a fire extinguisher. Delivered new to the United Kingdom in left-hand drive this Aston Martin DB5 was first registered in November 1963 and is one of 42 DB5 saloons originally finished in Fiesta Red. Its first owner is recorded as one A J R Whiteway of North Common, Chailey, Sussex, who kept the car until 1970 when it passed to one D Blackmore of Esher. According to the AMOC register it also took part i

    • Year: 1963
    For sale
  • Aston Martin DB5

    £695,000 £695,000

    Engine Size 4.2l Mileage 10,700 miles Previous Owners 8 Bodystyle Coupe Seats 4 Transmission Manual Exterior Colour Goodwood Green Interior Trim Tan The DB5 we are delighted to offer is finished in its original colours of Goodwood Green with Tan hides. Built in 1965 the car was sold in 1967 to its second long term owner by London dealers H.R. Owen and kept for 30 years. During this time it was used for special occasions only, prior to the owner becoming unable to use the car. Purchased In 1997 by a London based gentleman, the car was maintained with Aston Martin Agents Ian Mason before Nicholas Mee & Co acquired it in 1998. Since being in our care with the last owners, the car has benefitted from an extensive mechanical restoration, including a rebuild to its original engine to 4.2 litre specifications, suspension upgrades, brakes rebuilt and meticulous maintenance works, while preserving the original standards of this superb car. Never dilapidated and without need of restoration, it is a pleasure to drive and to be seated, in its gently aged cabin. With matching numbers, original colour combination and superb driving condition, this car is a delight in every respect. Whilst satisf

    • Year: 2014
    • Mileage: 10700 mi
    For sale
  • Aston Martin DB5

    £799,995 £799,995

    This matching numbers UK RHD DB5 is in superb condition throughout, and has benefited from extensive expenditure in recent years. It is a great driving car which has appeared at concours events and shows. Fresh from a body and chassis restoration at an Aston specialist, this lovely example is now attractively finished in Georgian Silver rather than its original colour of Platinum (white). Complete with its original logbook, a copy of the factory build sheet, a very rare original Instruction Book and a Heritage Certificate. The history file also includes extensive ownership and maintenance records, including photographs. Originally supplied in the UK, the car later spent some time in Milan where it was initially repainted red, before being reconditioned, repainted and displayed as part of a James Bond tour of Italy. In 2012 the DB5 was imported back to UK and in 2013 had a full engine rebuild and bare metal respray in Georgian Silver. Further works followed at Aston specialists and most recently the car has had extensive chassis restoration. Following this work this lovely Aston appeared at the 2013 Regent Motor Show London and the AMOC Concours at Hampton Court Palace in 2014.

    For sale
  • Aston Martin DB5

    £800,000 £800,000

    This beautiful car comes with a copy of the original purchase form. It is matching-numbers, and the only alteration in specification from new concerns the colour scheme, originally California Sage, which was changed to Silver Birch prior to the preceding owner's acquisition of the car in 1971. It has the later- DB5 spec upgraded ZF 5-speed gearbox which of course it was supplied with from new. The car was maintained by Ian Mason in the 1970's prior to being laid-up (bills on file). There is a note on file, written in 2005 by the previous owner, Peter Hammerson, which states: 'from 1977 the car was laid-up in a private garage following which it has been undergoing extensive and lengthy restoration.' The latter was carried out by Arthur Birchall & Co of Norfolk between 1987 and 2006, during which period the car benefitted from a body-off, chassis-upwards rebuild while the engine was converted to take unleaded fuel (bills on file). Between 2008 and 2010, the DB5 was looked after by Astin Martin Works. The car then resided in Norway as part of a private collection. It is a lovely example and has covered a believed-genuine 70,000 miles from new (1,000 since restoration) and is in absolutely superb condition. The car is offered with a large history file including workshop manual. It also includes an original and almost irreplaceable Instruction Handbook. The original matching-numbers engine was converted to a 4.2 litre specification in Cheshire Classic Cars' workshop using Cosworth Pistons in 2015. This is photographically recorded. A simply exceptional DB5.

    • Year: 1964
    • Mileage: 70000 mi
    For sale
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