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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
799995 800000 GBP


    --Sierra Blue with Tan leather interior and Dark Blue carpeting, 5-speed ZF manual transmission, Concours restoration by marque specialists, 4.2 liter engine. This DB5 was original delivered through Aston Martin agent W. H. Benhams in the UK in its current color Sierra Blue. It made its way to the United States circa 1980. By the early 2000’s it was in the ownership of Mr. C. Sheehan, Tigard, Oregon. During this ownership, this DB5 was used on several vintage rallies and made appearances at several British automobile meetings/concours. It was serviced and received sympathetic restoration by Kevin Kay Restorations in California. Mr. Sheehan sold this DB5 to Autosport Designs, Inc., January 2006 where it was offered for resale. In March 2006, this Aston was sold to a good client of Autosport Designs, Inc., Mr. M. Bless, who has recently moved from New York to Carmel, California. Mr. Bless was also the owner of a DB Short Chassis Volante and more modern DB7 Vantage Coupe at the time. While in California the DB5 was serviced and maintained by Randy and Ricky Reed of Antique Auto Restorations, Monterey, California. Subsequently, this DB5 was consigned to the 2013 Gooding and Company, Pe

    • Year: 1965
    • Mileage: 2017 mi
    For sale
    Autosport Designs Inc
    (631) 425-1555 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • 342 - 1964 Jaguar E-Type Series I Roadster


    Introduced in 3.8 litre form in 1961, the Jaguar E-Type caused a sensation when it appeared with instantly classic lines and 150mph top speed. While, inevitably, the car's stupendous straight-line performance and gorgeous looks grabbed the headlines, there was a lot more to the E-Type beneath the skin. The newcomer's design owed much to that of the racing D-Type and, indeed, the E-Type would be one of the last great sports cars developed directly from a successful competition ancestor. Just as in the D-Type, a monocoque tub formed the main body/chassis structure while a tubular space frame extended forwards to support the engine. The latter was the same 3.8-litre, triple-carburettor, 'S' unit first offered as an option on the preceding XK150. With a claimed 265 horsepower on tap, the E-Type's performance did not disappoint; firstly, because it weighed around 500lb less than the XK150 and, secondly, because aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer used experience gained with the D-Type to create one of the most elegant and efficient shapes ever to grace a motor car. This exquisite Series I roadster was manufactured on the 28 th April 1964 and dispatched to distributor Peter Lindner in Frankfurt

    • Year: 2016
    For sale
  • 272 - 1964 Apollo 5000 GT


    The Apollo project was the dream of a young California engineer, Milt Brown, who desired to build an American answer to European GTs such as the Aston Martin DB4 and Ferrari coupés. Brown, who was looking for a coachbuilder, met Reisner at the Monaco Grand Prix in 1960. A deal was made and the first Apollos were built by early 1963 by Intermeccanica. Intermeccanica made and trimmed the steel bodies in Turin, Italy and then sent them to Oakland, California, where the drive train was installed. The prototype's design was by Milt Brown's friend, Ron Plescia, but the nose was too long and the rear vision limited, so Reisner commissioned former Bertone stylist Franco Scaglione to revise it. The Apollo's foundation was a straightforward ladder frame. Suspension and drive train components were adopted from the then-new Buick Special, including a 200hp, aluminium V8 and Borg-Warner manual transmission. The final production bodywork was refined by Franco Scaglione, in Italy. A 1963 Car and Driver magazine road test clocked an Apollo from 0-to-60mph in 8.2 seconds and called it 'a purposeful, distinctive, and practical automobile that an enthusiast will enjoy'. From the beginning, the compan

    • Year: 2016
    For sale
  • 206 - 1964 NSU Quickly


    The NSU Quickly was manufactured from 1953 until 1964 with more than one million Quicklys were produced in total. The frame was a pressed-steel single spar unit with a headset at the front of the unit and wheel attachment points at the end of the arms at the rear of the unit. The unit also incorporated a tower in which the seat post was mounted and attachment points for the engine and the petrol tank. The engine was a 49cc two-stroke unit mated to a two-speed transmission, a bicycle pedal assembly to start the engine and assist propulsion up hills. In need of re-commissioning although appearing to be complete, this NSU should not be a difficult project for a DIY mechanic to restore this motorcycle to its former glory. Once a common sight on the roads, these quaint machines are rarely seen these days; supplied with a V5C registration document.

    • Year: 2016
    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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