Lot 152

Amelia Island 2012

1965 Aston Martin DB5 Vantage Convertible

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$1,210,000 USD | Sold

United States Flag | Amelia Island, Florida

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Chassis No.
DB5C/1924/R
Engine No.
400/2111/V
Addendum: After the catalogue’s publication, this DB5 participated in the 2012 Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance, where it earned a Newport Pagnell award in the Aston Martin feature class.

325 bhp, 3,995 cc DOHC inline six-cylinder engine, triple Weber twin-choke carburetors, ZF five-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with upper and lower control arms, coil springs and anti-roll bar, live rear axle with Watt linkage, radius rods and coil springs, and four-wheel hydraulic, power-assisted disc brakes. Wheelbase: 98"

• One of the seven original Vantage-powered DB5 Convertibles produced

• Matching numbers

• Restored to award-winning standards during mid-2000s by marque experts

• Accompanied by BMIHT certificate, build sheet copy and restoration invoices

Debuting in the autumn of 1963, Aston Martin’s new DB5 was a highly refined update of the late-model DB4 concept heralding over 170 detail modifications. Of course, the car was already one of the most elegant and powerful GT cars of its era. Then, given the big-screen appearance of a specially-equipped DB5 serving as British super-spy James Bond’s ‘company car’ in the blockbuster film Goldfinger, the car attained international star status that continues unabated today. In a case of one of the finest product placements in the history of merchandising, Aston Martin found themselves representing what quickly became known as ‘the most famous car in the world.’

The DB5 maintained the DB4’s 98-inch wheelbase, the Harold Beech-designed pressed-steel platform chassis, the powerful DOHC inline six-cylinder engine designed by Tadek Marek and the choice of either sleek four-seat coupe or convertible magnesium-alloy bodies employing Carrozzeria Touring’s patented Superleggera (super light) construction principles. A four-millimeter bore increase raised engine displacement from 3,670 cc to 3,995 cc, and in standard form with triple SU carburetors, the engine delivered a stout 282 bhp, good for zero-to-60 acceleration of 8.0 seconds with a top speed of 141 mph.

Initially, the DB5 engine was mated to a four-speed David Brown manual gearbox with overdrive or a three-speed BorgWarner automatic unit. After mid-1964, an all-synchromesh ZF five-speed manual gearbox replaced the four-speed as a standard DB5 feature, in which the fifth gear was effectively an overdrive. Befitting its market position rivaling Ferrari and Maserati, the DB5’s abundant standard features included reclining seats, full leather interior, wool-pile carpeting, electric window lifts, twin fuel tanks, chrome wire wheels and an oil cooler. DB5s adopted the faired-in, covered headlamps of the iconic, competition-oriented DB4GT. All told, only 1,021 DB5s would be built, including just 123 convertibles, plus a few special-order ‘shooting brakes’ produced by outside coachbuilders.

The high-performance, Vantage-specification DB5 did not make its first appearance until September 1964. The prototype, DP 217, bore the chassis number DB5/1451/R and came fitted with triple Weber twin-choke, sidedraft carburetors along with the five-speed gearbox. The Aston Martin sales brochure for the DB5 Vantage quoted power output at 325 bhp at 5,750 rpm, some 40 bhp more than the standard engine, an exhilarating increase. According to the aforementioned factory information, Vantage upgrades further included flow-tuned intake manifolds proving a “ram” effect, the cylinder head featured extra-large ports, valve timing was modified, and ignition timing was advanced for extra power and a flatter torque curve. A vacuum reservoir was also added to the power-assisted brake system. As expected, the DB5’s reflexes were sharpened considerably in Vantage tune, particularly with zero-to-60 times dropping to just 6.5 seconds.

Appropriately, any original Vantage-specification DB5 is a rare and highly desirable GT car with immensely satisfying driving dynamics. However, the stellar example offered here, Chassis DB5C/1924/R, is far more so as one of the seven DB5 Vantage Convertibles originally produced. Completed on April 1, 1965 with RHD for the home market and dispatched five days later to its selling dealer J. Blake and Company Limited, DB5C/1924/R is indeed an authentic, factory Vantage convertible.

The original owner of DB5C/1924/R was Mr. J.V.R. Bullough, a member of the Aston Martin Owners Club. Mr. Bullough was obviously endowed with good taste, an appetite for performance and with the means to act upon his desires. However, one might presume he was short of physical stature, as he specified two unusual, additional items—namely a two-inch clutch-pedal extension and additional padding to the front-seat squabs. Under Mr. Bullough, the DB5C was UK-registered MTF 222C. The car’s next keeper was Mr. T.F. Kennel of Buckinghamshire, followed by its next recorded owner from the AMOC Register, Mr. J. Denoyer.

Subsequent to its importation to the U.S., under the most recent registered owner (another active AMOC member), the DB5C received a comprehensive restoration by experienced Aston Martin restorers Kent Bain's Automotive Restorations of Stratford, Connecticut, which was completed to concours standards in 2005, including a professional conversion to left-hand drive. All restorative work was fully documented. Since restoration, approximately 2,000 miles have been traveled, and the DB5 has been properly sorted for driving pleasure and regularly maintained.

DB5C/1924/R is beautifully finished in attractive Peony Red and perfectly complemented by tan Connolly leather upholstery with matching Everflex convertible top and camel Wilton wool carpets. Thereupon, the DB5C embarked on a highly successful post-restoration show career, winning a Class Award at its first showing at the AMOC Lime Rock Classic in Connecticut. Other show entries included the 2007 Gold Coast Concours at Glen Cove, New York, followed by the Amelia Island and Greenwich Concours d’Elegance in 2009, the Fairfield Concours in 2010 and most recently the Cavallino Mar-A-Lago Concours, where it received a class award.

Accompanied by its British Motor Industry Heritage Trust Certificate, a copy of the factory build sheet, including early Aston Martin Works Service entries, and restoration invoices totaling over $200,000, the DB5C is complete with a jack, a knock-off hammer, owners handbook and a tool roll, plus a copy of an impressive original factory sales brochure.

According to restoration correspondence from restorer Kent Bain, “the car drives beautifully and feels exactly as a DB5 Vantage should.” An RM Auctions Car Specialist, himself a DB5 owner and AMOC member who recently spent a day with this remarkable car, concurs wholeheartedly. All systems are noted to function properly, including the electric clock. Accordingly, with its known history under the care of AMOC members, award-winning restoration followed by proper maintenance and matching-numbers Vantage engine, it is a still-superb, immensely drivable and extremely rare example of the marque flagship, in its most desirable, high performance, open-air form.