The James Bond Vehicle Library

Aston Martin DB5
The first glimpse of the Aston Martin DB5 in Q's workshop

Published 18/11-2000
Updated 05/05-2017 07:05

Content

Notes

Often called 'the world's most famous Car', the DB5 is synonymous with 007. It makes it's first appearance in 'Goldfinger' using most of the gadgets, and returned in the pre title sequence in 'Thunderball', where we saw the bullet-proof steel plate cover the rear window and 2 water cannons spray water. (note: BMT 216A first appeared in The Saint)

 The production of the Aston Martin DB5 ran from 1963 through until 1965 with a total build of 1021 units. Around 10% of these were in convertible form.

It was a close call, the world's most famous car could have been a Ferrari or another sportscar. The film company wanted the car for free - Aston Martin wanted to sell the cars. Somehow parties came to an agreement and a legend was to be born.

Aston Martin delivered two cars for the making of Goldfinger. First one within 6 weeks got equipped with gadgets for the film, by the special effects team leaded by John Stears. Inventions were inspired by Kenneth Hugo(Ken) Adam - movie production designer and former IIWW Typhoon pilot and the director Guy Hamilton who came with the idea of revolving registration plates. All the gadgets were controlled from a panel between the front seats, the ejector seat button was hidden in the gear lever.

Goldfinger Brothers

Second car was used for road chase scenes and close-ups. After filming it got equipped with gadgets as well. With growing popularity of the movie 2 demonstration cars were not enough - Aston Martin was ordered for two more equipped for the promotion purposes, all of them were extensively used ( as exposition) for Goldfinger marketing. 

In 1964 Corgi made a die-cast model of the Goldfinger DB5 with working ejector seat. The model became Model of the Year with 2 mln pcs sold within one year...

For 'Thunderball' two original cars came back on the screen with different set of gadgets - Jet pack and water firing cannons from the rear. After movie completion the original car (216) had all the gadgets removed, rebuilt to factory state, then sold as second-hand car. Second car (1486) was refitted again with Goldfinger equipment and then sold to private collector in 1968.

The DB5 was not seen again until 'Goldeneye'. Here it was seen in a race with a red Ferrari 355 GTS driven by Xenia Onatop. Now the number plate is BMT 214A possibly indicating, that the DB5 no longer is a company car, but James Bond's private car ! The gearbox case no longer controls the gadgets, but contains glass and a chilled bottle of Champagne - Bollinger 1988. Q-branch has obviously removed most of the gadgets. The only gadgets were a colour fax and a wireless set of digital camera-binoculars able to communicate with Miss Moneypenny at the office.

The race against the Ferrari 355 GTS on the mountain roads near Nice and Monte Carlo is very well filmed with a good soundtrack. This is one of the few chases that James Bond loses. The Ferrari was on loan from the Ferrari factory, and during the filming the cars incurred several thousand pounds of damage, the Ferrari was especially badly damaged. The producers and Ferrari agreed that Ferrari paid for the damage to their car if Onatopp and Ferrari won the race.

3 different cars were used for filming - one for closeup and interior filming, 2 others for stund drivings. A rumour says, that it is the real owner of the "ideal" car, that drives it onto the square in front of the Casino.

In 'Tomorrow Never Dies' we just sees the Aston Martin in some short scenes and no gadgets are used. But the gadget loaded BMW 740iL has the German number plate BMT2144. It must be a tribute to the DB5.

In 'Casino Royale' James Bond wins the Aston Martin DB5 in a pokergame. The car has the driver in the left side !!! And of course no gadgets. We presume, Q rebuilds the DB5 and moves the driver position to the right hand side of the car for 'Goldfinger'. The car is equipped with blue Nassau number plate: 56 526.

The 'Skyfall' DB5 has the original number plate, BMT 216A, and gadgets restored. The machine guns are put to good use, but there are only a hint of the ejectorseat. James Bond is joking to eject M when she complains of the lack of modern comfort in the DB5.

The German 3D printing company Voxeljet printed  three 1:3 scale models of the DB5 for the filming. Each model was made of 18 parts. The Propshop Modelmakers Ltd. assembled and finished the models. One was sold after filming for about USD 100.000,-. Apart from this for the main explosion scene, another mock-up of DB5 was created , built on the Porshe 928 chassis, using the newly made body parts supplied by Aston Martin . 

The original 'Goldfinger' Aston Martin DB5 was bought privately in 1968. New owner let the Kent coachbuilder company refitted again all the gadgets. The latest known owner bought it on an aucion in 1986 for $250.000. 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 and the car vanished without a trace into the night, eventhough the keys were not in the car.

But this isn't the end of the story:
The stolen car was a central part of a lawsuit in 1999. The trial involved 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 amount and an additional $1.1 million for his research and marketing of the DB5. The car was insured for $4.2 million. The car itself - is still missing. Supposedly destroyed.

Second car went as well to the private hands and was rarely exposed to the public. After 42 years, in 2010, car was put on sale by RM auctions and sold by cosmic price 2.6 mln USD to another American collector. 

Overview

Chassis No. DP/261/1
The 'Effects Car' used in Goldfinger/Road car in Thunderball. Stolen.
Chassis No. DB5/1486/R
The 'Road Car', used in Goldfinger/Road car in Thunderball, later fitted with gadgets. Now in USA.
Chassis No. DB5/2008/R
'Press Car', used for promotion in USA.Now in Verkershaus, Luzern, Switzerland..
Chassis No. DB5/2017/R
'Press Car', used for promotion in USA. Now in Louwman Museum, Hague, Netherland

James Bond Aston Martin DB5 on Auction

On Friday, 20th January 2006, one of the 'Press Cars' (Chassis No. DB5/2008/R) was for sale for the first time in 35 years. On the auction at RM Auctions the car was sold to Swiss collector for US$ 2,090,000. Car can be seen in Transport Museum in Luzern 

"Press car' on exposition in Luzern

Chassis DB5/2187/R - GoldenEye - close up and interior shots. 

Chassis DB5/1885/R - Goldeneye - stunt car for the driving sequences. 

Chassis DB5/1484/R - Goldeneye - stunt car for the driving sequences; Tomorrow never dies/Skyfall - driving sequences.

Chassis DB5/1399/L - Casino Royale, close ups.

Chassis DB5/2007/R - Skyfall - Close ups. 

In 1992, an English Orthodontist, Bond fan asked the copyright owner company for permission to convert his DB5/1550/R (registered as YHH28B) - to the 'Goldfinger'car. Permision was granted. Car was exposed in "Cars of the stars" museum in Keswick, Cumbria, England. since 2011 car is a part of a Dezer Collection in Miami Auto Museum, Florida, USA. 

The full DB5 story is available in Dave Worrall's book 'The Most Famous Car In The World'. Discover how the car was built, the publicity tours, the filming etc. Reprint of the 1993 edition with a foreword by Desmond Llewelyn and featuring over 380 photographs and illustrations. Available from Solo Publishing.

by MS & PS

007 relation

Goldfinger (1964)

  • Company vehicle
  • Vehicle Bond drives

Thunderball (1965)

  • Company vehicle
  • Vehicle Bond drives

Goldeneye (1995)

  • Bond's private
  • Vehicle Bond drives

Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

  • Company vehicle
  • Vehicle Bond drives

Casino Royale (2006)

  • Villain/henchmens vehicle
  • Vehicle Bond drives

Skyfall (2012)

  • Bond's private
  • Vehicle Bond drives

Spectre (2015)

  • Vehicle Bond drives

Technical data

  • Manufactor: Aston Martin (UK)
  • Model: DB5
  • Year: 1963
  • Engine: 6 cylinder 4.0 litre light alloy
  • Power: 282 bhp at 5.550 rpm
  • Transmission: David Brown 4 speed gearbox. Rear wheel drive.
  • Brakes: Disc
  • Wheels: 15" wire wheels.
  • Perfomance: Max. speed 140 mph.
  • Body: Light alloy construction around a small diameter multi-tubular framework, the hole mounted on a platform chassis.
  • Colour: Silver birch.
  • Number plate: BMT 216A

Gadgets

  • Rotating number plates: BMT 216A, LU 6789 and 4711-EA-62 (British, French and Swiss).
  • 2 shortbarrelled ,303 Browning machine guns behind the front parking lights.
  • Smoke-screen unit.
  • Oil ejecting device behind near side tail-light.
  • 2 Water cannons rear. (Thunderball)
  • Caltrops behind offside tail-light.
  • Hydraulic bullet-proof steel plate covering rear window.
  • Bullet-proof windows.
  • Radar - homertracking.
  • Extendable rams in front and rear bumper for close combat.
  • Tire cutters in the wheels.
  • Passenger ejector seat.
  • Radiophone housed in driver's door panel. (not used)
  • Colour fax. (Goldeneye)
  • Champagne refrigerator. (Goldeneye)

Sources

Links:

Related BMT 216A pages