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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
725000 835000 GBP
  • Aston Martin DB5

    £725,000 £725,000

    1965 Aston Martin DB5 for sale, RHD, UK car, originally supplied by HWM Motors. The car comes from a private Aston Martin collection and has been maintained regardless of cost by Marques specialist Desmond J Smail, and Aston Martin “Works”. Chassis No. DB5/1997/R is finished in it’s original stunning silver birch. This DB5 was the subject of extensive restoration work in the early 80’s including a full bare metal respray and today looking every bit as fresh. Engine, gearbox and driveline work perfectly with excellent oil pressure. The car has had comprehensive engine, suspension and brake work over the years resulting in the car feeling taught and refined on the road. It retains it’s original blue interior with good patina and excellent original carpets.

    • Year: 1965
    • Engine size: 4
    For sale
    £725,000 £725,000
    Claire Adamou
    Claire Adamou
  • Aston Martin DB5

    £799,000 £799,000

    Variant: Coupe This beautiful Aston Martin DB5 is in outstanding condition and ticks all the right boxes when owning such car. Not the usual James Bond Silver Birch, but a really lovely Bronze with its original Beige leather trim, something different and classy. Delivered and supplied new to Eton Garages in Slough, on 18 June 1964 before being sold to Drake and Gorham Ltd in Salisbury with a registration number 312 KM, this is supported by to original buff logbook for the car. When sold to the next owner in April 1964 the registration number was changed to the current 5736 PP, which comes with the car. A further private owner is on the documentation before the third owner a respected ex-motor museum owner in the west country purchased the car in late 1990’s. Invoices in the large history file indicate that the bodywork was freshened up. Airways Garage in Hayes, Middlesex, rebuilt the engine in 1970 and the odometer was reading 64,489 miles, which we feel is correct. Following this all the MOT’s and other documents support the mileage. The was purchased by the current owner at the Bonham’s Newport sale in May 2012 and used for a few thousand miles and two years and a few minor repairs, before the car was taken off the road. Then over the next two years he commissioned the total body and chassis restoration, including a total engine rebuild to 4.2 litre by Bill Goodall. The interior leather was kept as he felt it was so original and good, he just replace all the seat foams and carpet, just to freshen the car up. Totally rewired, brakes suspension refurbished, new Turrion wheels and tyres, the car wants for nothing. The owner has driven the car for 2,000 kms in the last two years, for special occasions only and lives in a controlled heated garage.

    • Year: 1964
    • Mileage: 60000 mi
    • Engine size: 4.2
    For sale
    £799,000 £799,000
  • 1965 ASTON MARTIN DB5 CONVERTIBLE

    POA POA

    --Aston Martin Midnight Blue with Fawn leather interior, Blue carpeting and Blue cloth convertible top, 5-speed ZF transmission, Rare Factory air conditioning. This DB5 Convertible is well-known to Autosport Designs, Inc. having been my personal car many years ago and prior to its last ownerships. Sold in 2000 in excellent restored condition after just having won a Best in Class award at the 2000 Greenwich Concours, it was decided to completely disassemble this DB5C with the thought of making it a concours winner the world over. This said, if you read its accolades below, you will agree, the job was accomplished! Restored by marque specialists Steel Wings, this DB5C received a body off restoration with absolutely no stone unturned. It has been received the following concours awards as follows… 2007 AMOC Lime Rock CT / 1st Place in Class DB5-6 Aston’s AMOC Lime Rock Classic / Best in Show Radnor PA Concours d’Elegance and Tour / Best New Restoration 2008 Greenwich CT Concours d’Elegance / Best Post-War Convertible AMOC Lime Rock CT / 1st in Elite Class / Best in Show Buckingham PA Concours d’Elegance / Best in Show & George Carr Memorial Award 2009 Pebble Beach CA Concours d’Eleganc

    • Year: 1965
    • Mileage: 2017 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
  • ASTON MARTIN DB5

    €835,000(£0) €835,000(£0)

    IN THE SAME OWNERSHIP FOR THE LAST 20 YEARS Brand Aston Martin Type DB5 Color Green Interior Green Year of build 1965 Price € 835.000,- 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 DB4,

    • Year: 1965
    For sale
    €835,000(£0) €835,000(£0)
  • Aston Martin DB5 - ex Robert Plant

    POA POA

    Engine Size 4 l Mileage 62,400 miles Previous Owners 3 Bodystyle Coupe Seats 4 Transmission Manual Exterior Colour Dubonnet Rosso Interior Trim Tan There is no doubting the Aston Martin DB5’s classic credentials. With some justification it is often referred to as the most famous car in the world. DB5s adorn collections worldwide. Of no doubt also are the credentials of Led Zeppelin. Rock anthems such as Stairway to Heaven, performed by Robert Plant CBE, have endured and with some justification. The band have become an icon of 20th century popular cultural. The Aston Martin DB5 we are delighted to offer, chassis number 1744/R, was built in 1965 and found its way into Robert Plant’s ownership in the early 1970s. Robert Plant, a West Midlands resident, held ownership until the summer 1986, when it was sold to father and son collectors, also based in the West Midlands. Shortly thereafter the car was entrusted to Aston Martin agents, Chapman Spooner, for restorative works bringing the car to its current and exemplary condition. Entered into a number of AMOC and local concours during the 1980s, the car remained in this ownership until 2008 when it was purchased by the current owner from

    • Year: 1965
    • Mileage: 62400 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
  • Aston Martin DB5 Convertible 1965

    POA POA

    Full Description This DB5 convertible was restored in 1985 by Steel Wings to a very high show standard using as many of the original parts as possible. Since then, this car has remained with the current owner and has been stored in a climate controlled environment and seen minimal miles put on it. Although an older restoration, the DB5 Convertible has held up extremely well. This car is a dream to drive with 310 hp producing a spectacular exhaust note. The engine was rebuilt by Steel Wings eight years ago and at that time the Weber conversion was done and the capacity was increased to 4.2 liter. The original carburetors, manifolds and air box come with the car. A full original tool roll and jack come with the car and also an owner's handbook. The car was originally purchased by Mr. Harold Dubilier of York Electronics Corporation in New York. The second owner was Mr. Robert Stockman of Danbury CT. The current owner acquired the DB5 Convertible from Mr. Stockman. The build sheet for this car lists the interior trim as black with red piping and paint is listed as Fiesta red. Mr. Dubilier was interested in getting a DB5 Convertible but did not want a red car. This car was painted black

    • Year: 1965
    • Mileage: 77634 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
  • 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

    • Year: 1964
    For sale
    POA POA
  • Aston Martin DB5

    £739,995 £739,995

    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
    £739,995 £739,995