The 1964 Aston Martin DB5 is perhaps the most famous and most recognized automobile of the famous movie spy franchise, James Bond. The DB5 first appeared in Goldfinger (1964), and then in Thunderball (1965), GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), Casino Royale (2006), Skyfall (2012), and Spectre (2015).
Powered by a 282-horsepower all-aluminum 4.0-liter DOHC inline 6-cylinder engine with three SU carburetors and mated to a ZF 5-speed manual, the factory DB5 featured reclining seats, full leather trim, wool pile carpets, electric windows, twin fuel tanks, oil cooler, chrome wire spoke wheels, and a magnesium-alloy Superleggera body.
James Bond’s DB5 spy car added two front-firing Browning .30 caliber machine guns hidden behind the front signal lights; a tire-shredding blade hidden in the rear wheel; a bullet-proof rear screen that rises from the trunk; radar scanner and tracking screen; passenger ejector seat; oil slick dispenser behind the rear light cluster; smoke screen vented from the exhaust pipes; bullet-proof windshield; revolving number plates that change from BMT 216A (UK), 4711-EA-62 (France) and LU 6789 (Switzerland); rear water cannons; radio telephone; front and rear extending battering and a hidden compartment that contains several weapons.
In the novel, author Ian Fleming had placed Bond in a DB Mark III but the DB5 was Aston Martin’s newest model when the film was being made. The car used in the film was the original DB5 prototype, with another standard car used for stunts. Two more modified cars were built for publicity tours after the film’s release.
Initially, the script had the DB5 armed only with a smoke screen but the gadgets rapidly increased as crew members began suggesting devices to install in it. Director Guy Hamilton conceived the revolving license plate because he had been getting lots of parking tickets, while his stepson suggested the ejector seat. Some changes were made during production, like the replacement of a caltrop-dropping gadget with an oil dispenser because the producers thought the caltrop-dropper could be easily copied by viewers.
Production designer Ken Adam and engineer John Stears overhauled the prototype Aston Martin DB5 coupe, installing these and other features into the car over six weeks. Only two of the gadgets – the wheel destroying blades and the ejector seat – were not actually installed in the DB5.The same car was used again in Thunderball where it was equipped with two rear-facing water cannons.
In January 2006, one of the original DB5s from the Bond films with Sean Connery was auctioned for more than $2 million. An Aston Martin DB5, albeit with the incorrect BMT-214A license plates instead of the original BMT- 216A plates, appeared in one of the Bond films starring Pierce Brosnan. In the Daniel Craig films, an automotive homage was made for the original DB5 that was driven, destroyed but later underwent restoration. We guess that the DB5 will probably last as long as 007 himself.