The DB5 is most famous for being the third, but most recognized, James Bond car. The vehicle first appeared in EON Productions' 1964 film Goldfinger and went on to appear in Thunderball (1965), GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), Casino Royale (2006), Skyfall (2012), Spectre (2015) and No Time To Die (2020). In addition, the vehicle has appeared in the video-games 007 Racing (2000), Agent Under Fire (2001), From Russia with Love (2005), Blood Stone (2010), James Bond: World of Espionage (2015) and the Best of Bond DLC for Forza Horizon 4 (2018).
The principal differences between the preceding Aston Martin DB4 Series V and the DB5 are: The all-aluminium engine was enlarged from 3.7 L to 4.0 L, A new robust ZF five-speed transmission (except for some of the very first DB5s) and three SU carburettors Producing 282 bhp (210 kW), which propelled the car to 145 mph (233 km/h), this engine, available on the Vantage (high powered) version of the DB4 since March 1962, became the standard Aston Martin power unit with the launch in September 1963 of the DB5. Standard equipment on the DB5 included reclining seats, wool pile carpets, electric windows, twin fuel tanks, chrome wire wheels, oil cooler, magnesium-alloy body built to superleggera patent technique, full leather trim in the cabin and even a fire extinguisher. All models have two doors and are of a 2+2 configuration. A three-speed Borg-Warner DG automatic transmission was available as well. At the beginning, the original four-speed manual (with optional overdrive) was standard fitment, but it was soon dropped in favour of the ZF five-speed. The automatic option was then changed to the Borg-Warner Model 8 shortly before the DB6 replaced the DB5.
James Bond's DB5
Sean Connery Era
The Aston Martin DB5 is the most famous Aston Martin car due to its use by James Bond in Goldfinger (1964). Although Ian Fleming had placed Bond in a DB Mark III in the novel, the DB5 was the company's newest model when the film was being made. The company was initially reluctant, but were finally convinced to a product placement deal. 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. In January 2006, one of those cars was auctioned for more than $2 million.
Famous for its array of gadgets, the film's script initially had the car armed only with smoke screen. However, the gadgets rapidly increased as crew members began suggesting devices to install in it. For instance, director Guy Hamilton conceived the revolving license plate because he had been getting lots of parking tickets, while his stepson suggested the ejector seat (which he saw on television). Some further changes were made during production; including the replacement of a caltrop-dropping gadget (located behind the rear light cluster) with an oil dispenser because the producers thought the original 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 were not actually installed in the vehicle: the wheel-destroying blades, inspired by Ben-Hur's scythed chariots (entirely made on studio); and the ejector seat. The scene where the DB5 crashes was filmed twice, with the second take being used in the film. The first take, in which the car drives right through the fake wall, can be seen in the film's trailer.
The vehicle was used again in the following film, Thunderball (Reg: BMT 216A), where it was equipped with two rear-facing water cannons for Bond's escape from Bouvar's château. The effect was achieved using two fire hoses mounted under the vehicle, the hose pipes clearly visible in some shots.
Pierce Brosnan Era
After a thirty-year absence from the film series, the Aston Martin DB5 reappeared in 1995's GoldenEye - sporting a new number-plate (Reg: BMT 214A). The car is fitted with an Alpine 7817R car radio that doubles as a printer and communication device, and a champagne cooler concealed under the centre arm rest. During the film, Bond is accompanied to Monte Carlo by Caroline, an MI6 psychiatric evaluator, and engages in a race against a Ferrari F355 GTS owned by assassin Xenia Onatopp. Three different DB5s were used for filming. The BMT 214A also returned in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), and was set to make a cameo at Castle Thane in The World Is Not Enough (1999). Although the scene was cut, the outline of the Aston Martin can still be seen in the closing scenes of the film; as M and her staff attempt to locate Bond with a thermal-imaging satellite.
Daniel Craig Era
Following the series' reboot in 2006, a further DB5 (Reg: 56526) made an appearance in Casino Royale, in which Daniel Craig's Bond wins an Aston Martin in a game of poker against villain, Alex Dimitrios. Unlike the classic British vehicle, it had Bahamian number plates and was left-hand drive, whereas previous versions had been right-hand drive. 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.
Attempting to protect M from the vengeful ex-MI6 cyber-terrorist Raoul Silva, 007 swoops by a London warehouse to swap his vulnerable government car for an Aston Martin DB5. The pair travel to Bond's ancestral home, Skyfall Lodge, and use the vehicle's concealed weaponry to stage a defense of the building. The car is subsequently destroyed by heavy machine gun fire from a helicopter belonging to Silva - much to Bond's fury. To achieve the effect, replica miniature cars were used and destroyed. 3D printing techniques were used to create models a third of the size of the real DB5. In the subsequent film, Spectre, Q attempts to painstakingly reconstruct the DB5 from the wreckage. In the final scene of the film 007 retrieves the newly restored car from Q and drives off with his new flame, Madeleine Swann. It is never explained in the film series how the Daniel Craig incarnation of Bond could possibly have acquired the vehicle previously used by Sean Connery's 007, who, as of Casino Royale, was in an alternate continuity.
Video game appearances
The classic Aston Martin DB5 (Reg: BMT 216A) has also made appearances in the James Bond video-games 007 Racing (2000), Agent Under Fire (2001), From Russia with Love (2005), and Blood Stone (2010). In 007 Racing it appeared in the first level of the game, featuring gadgets from the film Goldfinger. The DB5 promptly returned in 2001's Agent Under Fire, where 007 attempts to locate an incriminating data-chip ejected somewhere in Bucharest. Unlike its movie-counterpart, the Agent Under Fire vehicle was equipped with rockets and guided-missiles. For the video-game adaptation of From Russia with Love, the Aston Martin (although it is first introduced in Goldfinger) is shipped out to Istanbul by Q Branch. In Blood Stone Bond drives an unarmed (and apparently not his own) DB5 during a chase sequence in Istanbul, in a bid to prevent the villain from passing on confidential documents. At the end of the pursuit the car is effectively written-off after crashing into a construction site. The car also appears in the James Bond's DLC of Forza Horizon 4 : Best of Bond.
|Machine guns — There are two front firing Browning .30 calibre machine guns hidden behind each of the front indicators.|
|Tire-shredding blade — Concealed in the offside rear wheel is a chariot-style retractable blade. It was used to cripple Tilly Masterston's Ford Mustang in Goldfinger.|
|Bullet screen — For additional protection, the DB5 comes equipped with a bullet-proof rear screen. Controlled from the center console, at the flick of a switch the sheet of metal rises from the boot to form a protective barrier across the rear window.|
|Radar scanner and tracking screen — A precursor to the modern GPS device, the scanner can display the position of a specially-designed homing beacon on a display concealed behind the dashboard. In Goldfinger, it was used to track the location of Auric Goldfinger's Rolls-Royce Phantom III. The device is stated to have a range of 150 miles.|
|Passenger ejector seat — For the unwelcome passenger, the DB5 comes equipped with a passenger ejector seat. The trigger is concealed beneath a flip-cap on the gear-shift stick. When pressed, a section of the roof is jettisoned, along with the passenger seat and its occupant.|
|Oil slick — An oil slick can be sprayed from behind the rear light cluster to evade persuers. Operated by toggles and switches hidden in the center armrest.|
|Smoke screen — In addition to other counter-measures, a smoke screen can be vented from the exhaust pipes.|
|Bullet-proof windscreen — In Goldfinger the DB5's windshield has been reinforced to withstand impact damage from most conventional firearms.|
Revolving number plates — The DB5 also came with rotating number plates, some of which included: "BMT 216A" (UK), "4711-EA-62" (France) and "LU 6789" (Switzerland).
|Rear water cannons — For Thunderball two rear water cannons were added to the DB5. To achieve the effect two fire hoses were mounted under the vehicle, the hose pipes clearly visible in some shots.|
|Alpine 7817R — In GoldenEye, the Aston Martin featured an Alpine 7817R CD Tuner which acted as a communication device and doubled as a colour printer/fax machine for receiving intelligence from MI6.|
|Cutting lasers — Taking inspiration from the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, for 007 Racing (2000) laser emitters were concealed in the port and starboard side of the DB5; capable of cutting through the tires of any vehicle alongside.|
|EMP device — This weapon only appears in one mission of 007 Racing (Ambush). A beam is projected from concealed emitters in the port and starboard side of the DB5; capable of destroying computer hardware.|
|Forward-mounted rockets — First introduced in 007 Racing as "hellfire missiles". In Agent Under Fire (2001), two forward-firing rocket launchers were concealed behind the vehicle's front number plate, which lifted up to reveal the weaponry underneath. The DB5 contained a total magazine of 10 rockets.|
|Surface-to-air missiles — First introduced in 007 Racing as "stinger missiles". Also in Agent Under Fire, the DB5 came equipped with two guided missile launchers on either side of the vehicle. Like the BMW Z8, they were concealed behind the side vents and had total of 4 missiles.|
|Q-Boost — The Agent Under Fire car also came with a rocket booster for providing a short burst of speed. Like the Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante, it was concealed behind the rear number plate, which flipped upwards and retracted into the body of the car.|
Promotional & Unused Gadgets
|Caltrop dispenser — In one of the Goldfinger promotional vehicles, spiked caltrops can be dispensed from behind the rear light cluster. In the film this feature was replaced with an oil dispenser because the producers thought the original could be easily copied by viewers.|
|Radio telephone — As with Bond's 1935 Bentley 3½ Litre in From Russia with Love, the DB5 is equipped with a radio telephone for communicating with headquarters. While built into the vehicle, it was never seen in use in the film.|
|Front and rear extending rams — The DB5 comes equipped with front and rear battering rams which extend from the bumpers. Although not used on screen, the front rams were included on virtually all toy replicas of the car.|
|Concealed compartment — Under the driver's seat is a hidden compartment which contains several weapons. While not used on screen, it was built into the vehicle and featured in the Goldfinger novel.|
Playing up to its association with 007, the DB5 also made cameo appearances in media outside the James Bond franchise. It appeared in the 1981 comedy film The Cannonball Run, driven by Roger Moore's character. Two years later, in the TV-film The Return of the Man from UNCLE, George Lazenby, playing a Bond-like character referred to as "JB", also drove a gadget-laden DB5 (with the licence plate "JB"). Consequently, Timothy Dalton remains the only official Bond actor who has never driven one on screen. However, scripts for his unmade third Bond film show a DB5 was planned to be used.
The most recent appearance of the vehicle was in the 2004 film, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers in which Geoffrey Rush, playing Peter Sellers, is shown driving one at the time of making Casino Royale, even though in real life that film did not feature the vehicle. The car further made a appearance in the popular sandbox game GTA 5 (Grand Theft Auto 5) under the name 'JB700'. It in a mission of the story mode had spikes and a ejecting chair, as well as visible guns on the hood. The car can be bought from Legendary Motor Sports in both the online and story modes. But to many people's dismay, the car does not have the many gadgets of story or the one featured in the movies. Although they all are visible.
- ↑ Flammang, James M. (1994). Standard Catalog of Imported Cars, 1946-1990. Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 57. ISBN 0-87341-158-7.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 (4 July 1968) "Used car test: 1964 Aston Martin DB5". Autocar 129: 46–47.
- ↑ Mike Lawrence (1991). A to Z of Sports Cars. Bideford, Devon: Bay View Books, 36. ISBN 1-870979-81-8.
- ↑ James Bond car sold for over £1m (English). BBC News (21st January 2006). Retrieved on 2016-11-14.
- ↑ Bouzerau, Laurent (2006). The Art of Bond. London: Macmillan Publishers, pp.110–111. ISBN 978-0-7522-1551-8.
- ↑ Joe Fitt, Bert Luxford. Goldfinger audio commentary. Goldfinger Ultimate Edition, Disk 1: MGM Home Entertainment.
- ↑ (2000). Behind the Scenes with 'Goldfinger' [DVD]. MGM/UA Home Entertainment Inc.
- ↑ The Stunts of James Bond. The Man with the Golden Gun Ultimate Edition, Disk 2: MGM Home Entertainment.
- ↑ Mark Prigg (13 November 2012). The secret behind James Bond's Aston Martin DB5: How Skyfall producers used 3D PRINTED cars to spare the priceless original (English). Daily Mail. Retrieved on 2016-11-14.
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