Type: Movie Car
Named for British industrialist David Brown, who purchased Aston Martin in 1947, the DB5 first graced British roads in 1963. In Ian Fleming’s original novel, 007 drove a DB Mk III. By the time the film version was in production, the DB5 was Aston Martin’s new hotness, and thus, James Bond’s, as well. Bond’s car was outfitted with several features that the road-going model didn’t have. Special effects gadgetmaster John Stears gave it revolving license plates, twin Browning .303 machine guns, a bulletproof rear window, an ejector seat, battering ram bumpers, vicious tire slashers, and what may have been the first-ever in-car navigation system.
What isn’t as well-known is that there were actually two DB5s used during filming. More specifically, the car with all the expensive special effects gadgetry was a DB4 prototype made to look like a DB5. An actual DB5 was used by Eon for high-speed work, as the producers didn’t like the possibility of their expensive special effects car being ruined. However, the gearbox on the stock DB5 couldn’t take the strain of the famous Alps chase scene, meaning the gadgets car ended up doing the heavy lifting anyway. After production wrapped, the stealth DB4 did a publicity tour, and Eon fixed up the stock DB5 with replicas of the DB4’s expensive gadgetry so they could begin filming Thunderball.
The popularity of Goldfinger made the DB5 popular as well and is credited with saving Aston Martin from a period of financial peril. Only around 1,000 DB5s were sold before Aston scrapped production to begin offering the DB6. Keep in mind, the cost to buy a new DB5 at the time was the equivalent of around $85,000 in 2012.