Anyone who, like myself, hails from a childhood where James Bond WAS Sean Connery (RIP) – the suave, stylish, Martini-swilling secret agent with a license to kill – would know that the Aston Martin DB5 was the Q Branch tricked-out car by definition. It was every boy’s dream: the ultimate sports car with a host of additional features.
Along with countless other lads of the same ilk, I had the Corgi toy car version. It was a “must-have” for the archetypal six-year-old at the end of the 1960s. The Goldfinger DB5 was so iconic that the modern Bond films brought the car back as vintage, most recently in Spectre and Skyfall, an anachronistic analogue throwback in a digital age much like James Bond himself. Despite the car’s lack of digital technology, it still provided the chance to surprise and overcome the archvillain and his henchmen. The same car is slated to come back in No Time To Die.
With the release of the Aston Martin DB5 Continuation series, every Sean Connery Bond fan out there with Auric Goldfinger’s cash reserves has now the chance to own a modern version. Equipped with various Q Branch-like gadgets, it may not be the most understated vehicle to drive out there but it is the ideal ride if you imagine you are escaping the evil henchmen drafted in from North Korea to aid and abet the plan to destabilize the gold reserves in the US.
Arguably the most recognisable from all the cars used by Bond, the DB5 made its first appearance in Goldfinger. Laden with gadgets and armament installed by Q Branch, the secret agent’s Aston Martin became an instant hit; so much so that the car has made more appearances in Bond films than any actor!
The DB5 has appeared in more Bond films than any actor.– Dr Andrew Hildreth
Fans of the original novels by Ian Fleming would know that Bond actually drove a Bentley in all his adventures but one, Goldfinger, in which he was issued with a DBIII at the suggestion of an Aston Martin Owner’s Club member who thought the debonair spy should drive something more modern in terms of sports cars and wrote to the author to tell him so. Officially, the DBIII was the Aston Martin Works racecar, so it is doubtful Bond would have had access to it. The Aston Martin was the only car in Fleming’s books to have special features supplied by Q. The car was fitted with switches to alter the type of colour for the front and rear lights, reinforced steel bumpers, a Colt 45 pistol in a trick compartment under the driver’s seat and a homing device.
The DB5 was included in the movie thanks to special effects expert John Stears. It was him who persuaded Aston Martin to make its DB5 prototype available and the man who modified the car for use by Sean Connery in the film and fitted it with an array of gadgets, from machine guns and bulletproof shields to revolving number plates and a passenger ejector seat. To provide an idea of the value placed today on these cars and memorabilia, RM Auctions sold the original bought from the Aston Martin company in 1969 for £2.6 million in 2010. Last year, a DB5 Bond car made to promote Thunderball sold for a record £5.3 million.
Fittingly, as the 25th Bond movie prepares to be released -at some point- and with the car making its eighth appearance, a series of 25 Goldfinger DB5 continuation editions are available for customers by Aston Martin Works and EON Productions. Based on James Bond’s car from 1964 and built at Newport Pagnell, the original home of the DB5, they are authentic reproductions of the DB5 seen on the screen, with some updates to conform to modern vehicle requirements and to aid reliability.
In keeping with the Bond authenticity, there will be a few Q Branch functioning gadgets such as revolving number plates. The gadgets will be co-developed with Oscar-winner Chris Corbould, special effects supervisor from the James Bond films. Sadly, I believe that the continuation edition does not come fitted with the ejector seat, which would be ever so useful when you grow tired of your passenger! Equally, working machine guns are not to be fitted despite their potential value getting through traffic on the school run.
The DB5 continuation comes in the same colour as Bond’s in Goldfinger: Silver Birch and are priced at approximately £2.75 million-plus taxes, with first deliveries already out there and more hopefully in time for the latest Bond movie to be released at last.
Words: Dr Andrew Hildreth
Opening Image: Aston Martin DB5 Continuation