18/11-2000, updated 19/1-2022 by MS & PS
Often called 'The Worlds Most Famous Car', the Aston Martin DB5 is synonymous with 007. Despite the fact that the Aston Martin DB5 with numberplate BMT 216A had its very first appearence on screen in a 'The Saint' episode (starring Roger Moore) - But it was the cars appearence in 'Goldfinger', which made the DB5 a star.
The production of the Aston Martin DB5 model ran from 1963 to 1965 with a total build of 1019 units. Around 10% of these were convertibles.
Bond receives this modified car from 'Q' for a mission replacing his Bentley. In several scenes the DB5 demonstrate almost all the extra equipment mounted by 'Q', as well as speed and maneuverability - until James Bond, blinded by his own car lights in a mirror, finally crashes into a brick wall in Goldfinger's factory area.
Here the DB5 returned in the pre-title sequence, where we saw the bullet-proof steel plate shield for the rear window and the two water cannons spray water. I guess only a few noticed the fact that the luggage space of this mighty sport hatchback was big enough to hide the huge jetpack set. Amazing.
We had to wait to 1995 - 30 years - for the next appearance of the Silver Birch silhuette. Here it is seen in a race with a red Ferrari 355 GTS driven by Xenia Onatopp. Now the DB5's number plate is BMT 214A possibly indicating, that the DB5 no longer is a company car, but James Bond's private car! And the gearbox case does not control any gadgets, but contains glass and a chilled bottle of Champagne - Bollinger 1988. Q-branch has obviously removed most of the gadgets. The only gadget in the car is a colour fax and a wireless set of digital camera-binoculars able to communicate with Miss Moneypenny at the office.
4. 'Tomorrow Never Dies'
We just see the Aston Martin in a very short scene and no gadgets are used. Main Bond's car in this film is a BMW 740iL, heavily loaded with gadgets, and the German number plate BMT2144. A tribute to the DB5, we guess...
5. 'Casino Royale'
Bond wins the Aston Martin DB5 in a pokergame and enjoys a short trip, lifting a lady for a drink. The car is registered with Nassau number plate: 56 526, has no gadgets and the steering wheel is on left side. The left-hand drive DB5 would not make a reappearance during Craig's tenure as Bond. Instead, the classic gadget-filled Aston Martin DB5 (with the original registration BMT 216A) inexplicably returned in 2012's Skyfall.
Bond with 'M' as passenger drives his DB5 from the storage to the Skyfall residence in Scotland. The car has the original number plate BMT 216A and all gadgets restored. The machine guns are put to good use, but there is only a hint of the ejector seat. While driving, Bond is joking to eject M when she complains about the lack of modern comfort in the DB5. During the meeting with villains the car is playing vital role in Bond's defence lines, leading to it's total destruction.
In Q's workshop we see parts of the DB5 being restored. Later Bond takes over the now restored car from 'Q' and drives away with Madeleine - in the very last scene of the movie.
8. 'No Time to Die'
The DB5 is seen in a car chase in Matera, Italy, driven by James Bond. The rotating number plate is replaced by a LED version, and a new number A 4269 00 is added to the now long list og number plates. Bond is taking good use of its upgrated gadgets. However, the DB5 is only seen in the pretitle sequence, but it is the center of the action.
It was a close call for the Aston Martin DB5, the world's most famous car could have been a Ferrari or another sportscar. In 1963 the film company wanted an unusual sport car for free - Aston Martin was eager to sell them cars. The newly DB5 advertised by Aston Martin became a needle in the eye of Ken Adam (production designer) - but at the price of USD 4.500 they couldn't afford it. Somehow the parties came to an agreement - a loan - and a legend was born.
Aston Martin delivered two cars for the making of Goldfinger. The prototype (chassis no. DP/216/1, used for Aston Martin promotion and already proven on screen - The Saint), got a factory repaint from Dubonnet Red to Silver Birch and was delivered to Pinewood Studios, England in January 1964. Special effects team led by John Stears fitted all the gadgets for the film within 6 weeks. The gadgets was inspired by Klaus Hugo Adam (Ken Adam) - the movie production designer and former WWII Typhoon pilot - and the director Guy Hamilton, who came with the idea of revolving number plates.
All the gadgets were controlled from a panel between the front seats, a hidden button in the gear lever knob activated the ejector seat. Some sources say that the gadget work and mounting took place at the Aston Martin factory. The scene in 'Goldfinger' where Q presents the car to James Bond, was shot at the Aston Martin premises.
The second car, chassis no. DB5/1486/R, was used for road chase scenes and close-ups - as the gadgets in the other car weighted more than 300 pounds. After the filming this car got gadgets as well.
The film and the cars became a hit and with the growing popularity the two promotion cars was not enough - but now the producers could afford new ones. So Aston Martin received an order for two more cars, both to be fully equipped with gadgets. And soon two younger brothers, chassis no. DB5/2008/R and no. DB5/2017/R joined the marketing team. These two cars were never used in the film, however by fans they are referred to as 'press cars' opposite the two 'real' 007 vehicles.
For 'Thunderball' both movie cars came back on screen with different set of gadgets - Jet pack space in the trunk and water cannons behind the rear lights. The gadget panel is suggesting full load of gadgets, however they were not used. After the filming both cars were sold - car 216 rebuild to normal state without gadgets, but car 1486 rebuild to 'Goldfinger' state.
As the original cars were unavailable for filming, producers had to find others. Research brought one owned by private person in perfect state - so chassis no. DB5/2175/R was loaned and assigned for close up and interior shots. This car was used for filming scenes in Monaco. A rumour says, that it is the real owner of the car, that drives it into the square in front of the Casino.
Two more 'stunt cars' for the driving sequences (chasis no. DB5/1484/R and no. DB5/1885/R) were purchased by Eon Productions Ltd. through the Aston Martin dealer Stratton Motor Company, Norwich. They were in relatively poor shape so they had be renovated. And quite quickly because schedule was tight. The Aston Martin Workshop in Norfolk worked on 3 shifts and completed task within 15 days, including repainting at least 1484. (Previous owner published a picture showing the car in Dubonnet Red.)
The 'Goldeneye' race against the Ferrari 355 GTS on the mountain roads near Nice and Monte Carlo is very well filmed with a good soundtrack. Mainly '1885' was used. This is one of the few chases that James Bond loses. The Ferrari was on loan from the Ferrari factory. During the race filming the cars were accidently damaged. Especially the Ferrari's damages was costly (several thounsand pounds). The producers and Ferrari agreed that Ferrari paid for the damage to their car if it and Onatopp won the race. The DB5 1484 suffered minor damages like metal sheets and right headlamp. It was repaired during one night. Note that Pierce Brosnans "Connery like" DB5 pictures are set with 1484 in a way so he's hiding the broken lamp.
'Tomorrow Never Dies'
The DB5 stunt car chasis no. DB5/1484/R was used in a short riding sequence.
'The World Is Not Enough'
Like in previous film, the stunt car chasis no. DB5/1484/R was filmed in a short sequence but it never appeared on the screen - the scene was deleted in final cut. The car can be spotted in additional DVD material and somewhere on the Internet.
The movie is basically the very beginning of the 007 James Bond chronicles and includes Bonds acquisition of the Aston Martin DB5. Aston Martin put the producers in conjunction with the owners of two cars: chasis no. DB5/1649/L and no. DB5/1399/L, both restaured according the '007'spec. Both cars were left hand driven, and one of them had a very rare option - automatic gearbox. Chassis no. DB5/1399/L with manual was chosen for the movie.
The producers was already having the 1484 car, but were also looking for new car for the role and found it in Newport-Pagnell, home of Aston Martin. A livery green 1965 DB5, chasis no. DB5/2007/R, was waiting for restoration there. The owner had bought it on auction for GBP 224.000, even though it was in poor condition (rusty, non original engine etc). The owner agreed to loan the car for the film.
Note the '007' in the chassis number. Only one DB5 in the world have this combination. Aston Martin restored the body within 6 weeks, repainted it to Silver Birch and changed interior from tan to black. The car was not equipped with gadgets, only with a fake trigger button for the ejector seat and a painted-on outline for the ejector seat on the roof panel.
The German 3D printing company Voxeljet printed three 1:3 scale models of the DB5 for filming the destruction scene. Each scale model was made of 18 parts. The Propshop Modelmakers Ltd. assembled and finished the models. One was sold after filming at Christie's auction for about USD 100.000. Apart from this, for the main explosion scene, another fullsize mock-up of a DB5 was created, built on a Porsche 928 base, using body parts supplied by Aston Martin Workshop from Durham.
'No Time to Die'
For filming the car chase in the narrow streets of Matera, Itali, 10 Aston Martin DB5 were used. Eight were replicas build on BMW chassis and with BMW motors and only two were 'real' Aston Martin DB5s. Probably the ones used in 'Skyfall'.
After filming the Effects Car had all the gadgets removed and was rebuilt to factory state, to be sold as used car. It happened quite quickly. The new owner had a Kent coachbuilder company refit all the gadgets again - not original ones, but lookalikes.
In 1981 the car appeared in the comedy 'CannonBall Run'. Luckily it was only used for close ups and interior shots - its stunt double for chase and stunt scenes had a serious accident, almost killing the stunt driver. In 1986 the car was sold at an auction to the last known owner for USD 250.000. The car was extensively promoted and on display at different occasions.
In June 1997 it was stolen under suspicious circumstances. The thieves broke into the guarded Boca airport. The alarm wires of the hangar were cut. Since the keys were not in the car, traces on the floor showed that car has ben dragged by axle and outdoor for quite nice distance. Traces disappeard suggesting the car was packed into a light cargo plane. Anyway - it vanished without a trace. Just a year earlier it was insured for USD 4,2 million.
But this isn't the end of the story. In 1999 the stolen car, still missing, was a central part of a lawsuit. The trial involved besides the DB5, a wealthy entrepreneur, a family dispute, alleged blackmail and the gun Jack Ruby used to kill Lee Harvey Oswald. The entrepreneurs brother-in-law claimed 10% of the cars insurance and an additional $1,1 million for his research and marketing of the DB5. He got it. Car itself - still missing, presuming destroyed or sunk at open sea.
The case of the stolen DB5 isn't closed though. There's a reward offered to anyone who can provide information that results in the safe return of the undamaged vehicle.
The car 1486 in Thunderball was refitted with Goldfinger gadgets, then sold by Aston Martin in 1969 to Jerry Lee, president/owner of WBEB Radio in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for USD 12.000. It was on display in his private museum. After 42 years in his hands, he decided to sell it in order to fund his charitable work.
This way, Oct 28th 2010 it was put on sale by RM Auctions and sold for 2,6 million GBP (2,9 million GBP including taxes) to another American VIP - Harold Yeaggy (Ohio real estate millionaire and car collector).
The car can be seen in his private collection besides 44 other precious vehicles.
The car 2008 was sold 'as is' after completion of its marketing tasks, to Sir Anthony Bamford from EON in 1969 for USD 3.750. Two years later it was bought by Bruce Atchley and found a quiet and calm parking at display in Smokey Mountain Car Museum, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee rarely leaving the museum. On Friday, 20th January 2006, for the first time in 35 years, it was then put on auction at RM Auctions and sold to Swiss collector for USD 2.090.000. Another opportunity to buy it was in February 2013 where is was sold to RS Williams, Surrey, calling price now GPB 3.000.000.
It can be seen at different occasions at the Transport Museum in Luzern, Switzerland, last seen in 2015 for Spectre premiere.
in 1969 the car 2017 at the end of duty was also sold to Sir Anthony Bamford from EON for USD 3.750. In 1970 the car changed owner two times, the second owner paid USD 21.600 in 1970. The car was on display in Frank Bakers Attic Restaurant, Vancouver - until it was sold in 1983.
In the years 1983 to 2009 the press car changed owner 5 times and finally found its way from USA to Europe - The last 'Goldfinger' masterpiece was bought by the Louwman Collection, Dutch National Motor Museum, Hague in 2009. In 2010 it was up for auction, but not sold - currently (September 2018) it is still on the car list of the Louwman Collection.
The road car 1484 from 'GoldenEye' was attempted to be sold, but auction failed despite fairly low price (around GBP 100.000). It stayed in Eon Productions ownership and that was good decision since it appeared in all further movies. The car is traveling and is on display at different occasions.
The cars 2187 and 1885 were bought few years later by one person - English Bondomaniac, Peter D. Nelson, owner and creator of the Cars of the Stars museum in 1989, (with a special 007 section, of course). Transaction value was not disclosed. Cars were on display in Peter's exhibition in Royal Oak Garage in Keswick, Cumbria, UK.
In 2001 the stunt car 1885, registered FBH281C, was on auction and sold for GBP 157.750 to the businessman Max Reid.
Motifs were rather unusual (this is very nice fairytale)
Max, being a James Bond fan, went to his very first auction, mainly thinking about raising promotion of his computer business. He wanted to buy some paintings. He fell for the auction atmosphere and realized that he could be like James Bond. Impulsively he thought that the auctioned Bond's DB5 could be a very good gift for his wife for Valentines Day - instead of flowers. He reached the goal, Helen Reid became completely stunned finding this beautiful supprise at the garage doors on 14th of February, especially when she was told, Max would buy a few paintings too :) Fact is, that at that time the DB5 was the most expensive pieces of Bond film memorabilia ever bought. The DB5 was declared not to be sold at any price since Helen and the kids instantly became Bond fans :).
The car 2187 registered as JB6007 was on display in Keswick till shutdown of the museum in 2011. All artefacts went on sale and almost the whole Bond section of the museum was bought by Michael Dezer from USA and moved to Miami, Florida.
Goldeneye star became a star part of the museum where it still is on display as a part of Dezer Collection.
In 2014 Michael Dezer annouced sale of his whole Bond collection - The Goldeneye DB5 along with 58 other Bond vehicles were offered for sale for GBP 20 million. Dezer is still waiting for a buyer. The museums Bond lounge is still open.
Chassis No. DP/216/1
The Effects Car used in Goldfinger/Road car in Thunderball. Stolen in 1997, presumed destroyed, but theres a reward for its recovery (2018).
Chassis No. DB5/1486/R
The Road Car, used in Goldfinger/Road car in Thunderball, later fitted with gadgets. Now in Harold Yeaggy collection, Cincinati Ohio, USA. (early 2016)
Chassis No. DB5/2008/R
Press Car, used for promotion in USA; privately owned, in Switzerland - in display at Verkerhhaus, Luzern,Switzerland. (2015)
Chassis No. DB5/2017/R
Press Car, used for promotion in USA. Now in Louwman Museum, Hague, Netherland (2016)
Chassis No. DB5/2187/R
close ups Casino car, GoldenEye, now in Dezer Collection, USA, (2016)
Chassis No. DB5/1885/R
Stunt car, Goldeneye, now in Max Reid Collection, UK (2004)
Chassis No. DB5/1484/R
Road car Goldeneye/Tomorow never dies/Skyfall/Spectre, probably still Eon Productions property (2015)
Chassis No. DB5/1399/L
Road car, Casino Royale; privately owned.
Chassis No. DB5/2007/R
Close up car, Skyfall; privately owned.
In 1965 Corgi made a die-cast model of the Goldfinger DB5 with working ejector seat, opened bumpers, machine guns... . Not silver but gold - it didn't matter... model became toy of the year, sold totally over 2 million pieces worldwide, with sales continuing for next 30 years. In 1994 for the 30 years anniversary of the movie a limited edition of 7.500 DB5 models covered with 24 carat gold was released.
In 1966 another replica of the Bond car was created, a very special one. It was a miniature electric DB5 convertibve toy car with most popular and working gadgets - It was prepared by Aston Martin as a Dawid Browns special gift.
One of them was given to Prince Andrew for his 6th birthday - and was presented to Queen Elisabeth during her visit in the Aston Martin Lagonda factory, by the 6 year old Ian Heggie, the son of Aston Martin's Deputy Managing Director. The boy demonstrated the smokescreen for Her Royal Majesty. Prince Andrew regrets he grew from this toy. Now it can be seen in Royal Childhood Exhibition at Buckingham Palace during summer time.
Second one was a personal gift from David Brown to Reza Pahlavi, the Crown Prince of Iran, demonstrated in Iran Embassy in London, December 1966.
In 1992, an English orthodontist and great James Bond fan - got permission to convert his DB5/1550/R (registered as YHH28B) - to the Goldfinger car.
Dezer collection bought also another DB5 (DB5/1799/R) from Cars of The Stars museum. A car without any relation to an official Bond movie, but used in the 1983 made-for-TV film Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. with onetime Bond actor George Lazenby at the wheel. It was later equipped with Goldfinger gadgets. It looks like the real thing, but it is only a well done replica.
See photos from the Dezer collection on Flickr. Note the plane in the background of the first picture. That's Goldfingers Locheed C-140A.
No Time To Die updates:
Dave Worrall, United Kingdom
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