Driving Seat

Iconic Classic Cars: 1964 Aston Martin DB5

The Aston Martin DB5 has become one of the most iconic cars in Aston Martin’s heritage. Often billed as the ‘the most famous car in the world’, James Bond’s gadget-laden Silver Birch DB5 in Goldfinger became many a car lover’s dream.

Regarded by many as the most beautiful Aston Martin produced, the Aston Martin DB5 was an evolutionary version of its predecessor the DB4. Made by Aston Martin and designed by Carrozzeria Touring, the Italian coachbuilder, the DB5 epitomised luxury in 1964 Britain. Featuring new modifications that enhanced the DB4, this model in the DB series is the most popular to date.

The DB5 achieved widespread recognition through its association with James Bond’s 007, and has appeared in a number of films for the franchise, including Sean Connery’s 1964 Goldfinger and Daniel Craig’s Skyfall in 2012. In the film, it was fitted with iconic gadgets such as an ejector seat and headlamp-mounted machine guns.

The DB5 proved to be an instant success with the general public, and became the template for all DB cars to follow. To the naked eye the improvements on the DB5 seem minimal, but car enthusiasts will know that the magic here happens under the bonnet. By enlarging the engine capacity to 4 litres, the DB5 transformed into a more powerful machine with a full synchromesh ZF 5 speed gearbox.

Matching the stylish exterior, the interior was spacious and comfortable adding to the executive feel. This model also included 15” wheels, electric windows, wood pile carpets and high quality leather seats. A fire extinguisher was also included in all 1,059 DB5s produced, a rather unusual safety feature against today’s standards!

From October 1964, the 325 bhp Vantage option was available to the general public. Fitted with triple Weber carburettors and 9.4-to-one compression ratio, the newer model reached almost 160 mph in comparison to the respective 142 mph of the standard DB5.

Although most of these cars were built as saloon grand tourers, Aston Martin produced 123 convertible DB5s. Both versions are highly sought after today and are valued similarly, although the drop-head convertible is just that little bit more premium with a smaller number in circulation.

Collectors interested in this model now need an average of around £800,000 in the bank to secure this premium sportscar at auctions. For those of you who come up a little short, you’ll have to settle with the images we’ve provided!

Did you know?

  1. This version in the DB series gained its claim to fame during its cinematic debut in the James Bond film, Goldfinger.
  2. In 2010 a DB5 from the James Bond series was auctioned off for an astonishing $4.1 million.
  3. Corgi Toys produced a toy version of the famous James Bond car. This subsequently became the best-selling toy of 1964.

Car Specification

Car Aston Martin DB5
Production 1963-1965
Top speed (mph) 142
Doors 2
Length (mm) 4569
Weight (kg) 1468
Engine 3995 cc
BHP 282
Torque (Nm) 288
0-60mph 7.1s
0-100kmh 6.2s

The Best of 1964

1964 was a year to face great change. There were scientific discoveries, political movements and societal breakthroughs across the globe. The United Kingdom continued to make waves overseas as British-born influencers, like the Beatles, started making waves in the United States. The decade was transforming into one to be remembered, and 1964 was a year was filled with its own epic events.

World Events

America encountered great strife this year as the ongoing war in Vietnam encouraged violence back in the States. To deter further acts of violence, the president signed the Civil Rights Act, although this did little to stop it at the time.

In celebrity news, Elizabeth Taylor marries Richard Burton for the first time. Although commonplace in today’s society, in 1964 this was a huge scandal as the couple were already married to other people when they met. The news generated a great deal of publicity, so much so that the Vatican waded in to condemn the partnership.

In the scientific world, 1964 saw medical advancements as the landmark U.S. Surgeon General Report declared that smoking may lead to lung cancer for the first time. This research transformed public opinion.

Film & TV

A fan favourite of 1964 was of course James Bond’s Goldfinger, after all you can’t mention the DB5’s national popularity without crediting the blockbuster it featured in. Another family favourite from 1964 was Walt Disney’s musical-fantasy Mary Poppins. This all singing, all dancing live-action production set in London, received high critical acclaim.

Keeping in line with the family friendly viewing, 1964 gave us classic shows like The Addams Family, Bewitched and The Munsters. All of which showcased a variety of special effects to achieve the weird and wonderful theme of each respective show.

Music

By 1964 the ‘British Invasion’ of America was truly underway. UK artists like the Beatles, the Kinks, The Rolling Stones and the Animals were just some of the bands leading dominating the American music charts. In 1964, The Beatles had 13 singles in Billboard’s Hot 100 at the same time.

On the other hand, artists like Bob Dylan were releasing tracks like ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’’ as an emotive song written to promote social change.

Fashion

The evolution of fashion in 1964 stemmed from the growing amounts of leisure activities couples, families and friends could experience together. As a result of their busying social calendars, people required outfits suitable for day time events like shopping, that could then last into the evening for dinner or dancing.

Colour was more prominent and despite the demand for more versatile outfits, women’s fashion featured greater detailing like buttons, belts and collars to really stand out from the crowd. Men’s fashion became more tailored to fit, with more focus on tighter trousers, adopting similar styles to influential figures like the Beatles, who also rocked longer locks and the iconic pea coat.

Born this Year

  • Political figures Michelle Obama & Boris Johnson
  • Actors Courtney Cox and Sandra Bullock
  • Wrestling legend Stone Cold Steve Austin

 

Sources

Aston Martin
Aston Martin – James Bond
Retro Waste
The People History
BBC