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Arizona | Lot 15

1965 Aston Martin DB5

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$550,000 USD | Sold

United States | Phoenix, Arizona

16 January 2014


Chassis No.
Engine No.
DB5/1965/R
400/1951
  • Documented three owners from new; current ownership since 1977
  • Comprehensive restoration completed in 2007, with charming original interior
  • Matching numbers
  • Aston Martin’s most iconic model

282 hp, 3,995 cc dual overhead-cam inline six-cylinder engine, triple SU carburetors, five-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle suspension with coil springs and Selectaride dampers, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 98 in.

Addendum: Please note the title is in transit.

It is near impossible to mention a DB5 finished in Silver Birch without associating it with the secret agent that found himself behind the wheel of one in the 1964 film Goldfinger. Little did Aston Martin know at the time that that vehicle would be forever linked with 007 and his exploits, and, in the process, the DB5 is considered by many as “The Most Famous Car in the World.” It would make many return appearances in future James Bond films, including another star turn in the most recent of the series, the highly-acclaimed Skyfall. In the real world, DB5s are adored by those who’ve ever had the privilege of taking one for a drive for their elegant style, race-bred performance, luxurious interior, and English sporting character.

Introduced in the fall of 1963, the DB5 evolved from the development of five different iterations of the world-beating DB4. With an increase in displacement to 4.0 liters, this became a new model, showcasing nearly 170 modifications that improved it over the final version of its predecessor. For the first time, the frontal appearance of the DB5 evoked the potent DB4GT with faired-in headlights, and it also boasted triple carburetors as standard.

With this latest and final maturation of its all-alloy, twin-camshaft, six-cylinder engine, the DB5 was able to produce 282 horsepower and was capable of a 0–60 run in 8.1 seconds and a top speed of 141 mph. After the first 50 cars came off the assembly line, the DB5 received a five-speed manual gearbox that was provided by ZF, which allowed for more comfortable high-speed cruising. Additionally, the DB5 boasted 40 foot-pounds more torque than the DB4, generating a more effortless experience.

This 1965 example was acquired in the UK by its current American owner. While living in the town of Walton-on-Thames, he had developed a taste for British sports cars of the 1960s. Upon browsing the inventory at H.W. Motors, the local Aston Martin dealership, he came across a Silver Birch Aston Martin DB5 that had just been sold, and he decided that this was the car for him. However, since that particular car was already spoken for, he told the dealership to call him if an example in the same color became available. Time marched on, and in 1977, he had made plans to return to the United States. The day before the move took place, H.W. Motors called with a 1965 Aston Martin that was finished in Silver Birch with a red leather interior in stock; it was one that they had sold new. He purchased the car on the spot, becoming its third owner, and it was agreed that the dealership would organize logistics to ship the car across the Atlantic.

Upon arriving in the United States through the port of Miami, the car was shipped to the greater Chicago area, where it would reside for the next 35-plus years. The owner drove this car about 100 miles during each year of his ownership to local car shows, where the DB5 was always well received, or sometimes for a quick drive to enjoy the Aston Martin’s beautiful craftsmanship, engineering, and driving dynamics. Throughout this time, it was always lovingly maintained, and he made sure that it was regularly exercised in order to keep it in top-notch driving condition.

A full mechanical and exterior restoration was undertaken on this DB5, starting in 2003, by the British car specialist Bernie Behrens, of International Classics in Skokie, Illinois. This restoration was documented by photographs, and no detail was overlooked, as the car was taken down to its frame, brought back to its former glory, and new tires and wire wheels were installed. The original matching-numbers engine was removed and completely rebuilt. New pistons, rings, and valves were installed, the valve seats were hardened to run on lead-free gasoline without any additives, and the original SU carburetors were renewed. The crankshaft was re-machined and installed, along with new bearings. Posemato’s Bodyworks and Restoration, of Gurnee, Illinois, refurbished all of the body panels, as necessary, and there the DB5 received a high-quality repaint in its original Silver Birch.

The interior of the car and its red Connolly leather remains in entirely original condition, with a charming level of patina requisite for a car of this age, save for the carpet in the driver’s side footwell, which required replacement. When the finished car emerged in 2007, receipts totaled over $90,000 for the restoration, and the results were truly impressive. As an aside, it was International Classics that had the pleasure of regularly servicing the car over the last 18 years, ensuring that they were intimately familiar with the DB5 both before and after the restoration was completed. Its original jack, hammer, owner’s handbook (with missing cover), a tool roll, and other collected materials are included with the sale.

A DB5 is certainly among the most recognizable cars of all time, and one that is still a delight to see on the road. With only 886 built, a DB5 Coupe is a rare car indeed, and it is highly sought-after by aficionados of high-performance GT cars. This is a wonderful example of the breed, with undeniable charisma and distinctly British character. It will surely put a smile on the face of everyone who sees it, either on the show field or the open motorway.

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