While the Aston Martin DB5 will forever be linked to James Bond movies, true enthusiasts understand the more lasting and inspiring impression of the DB5 comes upon examining the car itself. This beautiful successor to the DB4 entered production in 1963 and is widely regarded as the pinnacle of Aston Martin's efforts during this era.
The DB5 shared the same steel chassis and 98" wheelbase as the DB4, as well as that car’s Touring Superleggera coachwork, albeit now subtly revised. The DB5 had the higher-powered, 4-liter, triple SU-equipped Marek I-6 engine as standard, an engine that had previously only been available in the Vantage-spec DB4. This 282-hp motor could propel the four-seat coupe to a top speed of 143 mph, with an independent front suspension, beam rear axle, and 4-wheel disc brakes keeping all of this velocity manageable. Transmission choices were a 4-speed manual that was quickly replaced early on with a 5-speed box, as well as a Borg Warner 3-speed automatic. A convertible version was available throughout the production run, although only 123 examples were built from 1963-1965. Contrary to other British marques of this period, US importation for both fixed and drophead variants of the DB5 was only 148 cars.
A more performance-oriented DB5 Vantage appeared partway through the production run in 1964. The Weber-equipped motor was now good for 314 horsepower while sacrificing some flexibility and low end torque. In all, 65 coupes and 12 convertibles were built to this specification, and a total of 1,023 DB5s were constructed during its run, including 13 shooting brakes (one of which was a factory prototype, and the remaining 12 being converted by Radford). An additional 37 convertibles were built after the introduction of the DB6, and these cars are known today as the SWB Volantes.
Aston Martin is one of the premier British brands, and the DB5 is the brand’s premier model. Few other cars are able to convey the sense of class, performance, and sophistication that a DB5 can, which solidifies the car’s global appeal.