To many observers the Aston Martin DB5 is the epitome of the company’s models during the David Brown era, boasting both beauty and refined high performance. It is also perhaps the best known Aston Martin in the world, having starred in the James Bond films Goldfinger and Thunderball, complete with machine guns and other gadgetry. In evolution terms the DB5 is a Series V DB4 but with a 4.0 rather than 3.7 litre engine, its coachwork embodying detail changes; it thus featured similar stunning styling from Touring of Milan, incorporating DB4 GT-style faired-in headlamps, with aluminium panels attached to a lightweight steel frame using Touring’s Superleggera method of construction.
Underneath the platform chassis used independent coil spring wishbone front suspension with a live rear axle located by Watt linkage and parallel trailing arms. Disc brakes were fitted all round, but the Girling items of the DB4 GT rather than the DB4’s Dunlop discs.
Following its launch in July 1963 in saloon and convertible forms the DB5 received much praise, not least for its performance. A maximum of 148mph in standard trim, allied to 0-60 and 0-100mph in 7.1 and 16.9 seconds respectively, made the DB5 one of the fastest cars available and a match for the very best from Europe. Its production, however, was fairly short-lived, ending in September 1965 after 1,021 had been made; of these only 123 were Convertibles while just 65 had the Vantage engine.
This early matching numbers DB5 was first registered in late 1963 in the colour scheme of Caribbean Pearl with a red Connolly leather interior, and fitted with the ZF 5-speed gearbox. The supplier dealer was Brooklands of Bond Street (the Aston Martin agent for London’s West End at the time), with the first owner being the head of Manger & Henley Ltd. of Borough High Street, London. We note that the build sheet also details service work carried out between the car’s delivery and March 1970 (at c.45,000 miles), by which point ownership had passed to builder Jack Rhodes. Jack Rhodes was a successful builder with a liking for the ‘Good Life’, however the recession of the late-seventies hit the building industry hard; Jack’s business took a downturn and many of his assets (including his treasured Aston) had to be sold.
In 1986 the car was bought by John Goldsmith of well-known Aston Martin specialists Goldsmith & Young, at which point this luxury sports GT car become a successful historic racer. As such the car was modified for racing with wider arches to accommodate different wheel choices, which it still wears today. We note that plaques still on the steering wheel show it achieved fastest laps at Brands Hatch in 1986 and at Oulton Park in 1987. In the early-nineties the car changed hands again, being purchased by a Mr. Pitkethley who maintained the car well; in 2000 the engine was rebuilt to a ‘fast-road’ specification, the conversion raising the capacity to 4.2 litres with Cosworth pistons. The Aston was also refinished in its current livery of Silver Birch with black leather upholstery.
In current ownership the Aston has benefitted from a thorough inspection, and we feel provides an enticing prospect for either fast road use, or concours restoration. The DB5 is offered with comprehensive documentation, a heritage certificate, UK V5 document and current MoT. A good example of the definitive GT car of the 1960s, and one with a fascinating history.