- Previously owned by Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan
- Beautifully restored by marque specialists, Pugley & Lewis, between 2015 and 2016
- Fine example of a UK-market right-hand-drive DB5; matching-numbers engine
- Finished in factory-correct Goodwood Green over Tan leather
The Aston Martin DB5 has a blend of Italian styling, British engineering and film-star charisma that has helped to make it one of the most famous cars ever made. When it was launched at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show, it carried over many of the features of its DB4 predecessor—including the Superleggera method of lightweight construction that Aston Martin licensed from Touring of Milan—but there were improvements across the board.
The Tadek Marek-designed, twin-camshaft, six-cylinder engine was bored out from 3,670 cc to 3,995 cc, and on triple-SU carburettors this robust powerplant gave 282 horsepower. This was 20 horsepower more than the Jaguar E-Type could muster. Then there was the Vantage-spec DB5, which replaced the SUs with triple Webers and produced no less than 314 horsepower. A five-speed ZF gearbox soon replaced the old four-speeder and Girling disc brakes were fitted in place of the DB4’s Dunlop system. The new model was relatively pricey at £4,175, more than twice the price of an E-Type.
Motoring magazines were full of praise for the DB5. When The Motor tested one, it recorded a top speed of 145 mph and noted that it was ‘in the very top bracket of high-performance cars… the DB5 cruises to 100 mph with absurd ease and quietness [and] can be guided through fast corners with great accuracy.’ Autocar, meanwhile, concluded that, ‘It is a car requiring skill and muscle… which challenges and satisfies and always excites.’
Without doubt its biggest boost, however, came with its use in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger. Its appearance made it the definitive Bond car and service manager Dudley Gershon later said that, ‘As soon as the film was shown, a massive wave of publicity hit us, the like of which no other car firm in history had ever experienced… if we had been able to produce 50 DB5s per week then we could have sold them.’
This particular example is chassis number DB5/1406/R, which was built on 21 January 1964. A right-hand-drive UK-market car, it was despatched from the Newport Pagnell factory on 7 February to its supplying dealer—Mill Garages Ltd in County Durham—and registered WGR 50. It was finished in Goodwood Green and fitted with engine number 400/1390—in standard spec and running on SU carburettors—and gearbox number ZF1842.
At some point during its life, the DB5 made its way to continental Europe and in 1988—having just been restored—it was bought from Pierre Guyot in Geneva by Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan. The son of Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan III, Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan was raised in France and Switzerland, and after graduating from Harvard he worked with both UNESCO and the UN as an activist and statesman.
He kept the DB5 for 10 years before selling it to another Swiss-based enthusiast. Having then been brought back into the UK, the car was given a full restoration from 2015 to 2016 by Aston Martin specialist Pugsley and Lewis—a process that included a bare-metal respray in its original shade of Goodwood Green. The matching-numbers six-cylinder engine was rebuilt, too—as was the rear axle—and the interior was retrimmed using Tan leather and Beige carpet.
More recently, the Aston Martin has been treated to further work at the premises of renowned marque specialist Clayton Classics. Discreet upgrades were cleverly integrated, such a high-output alternator, LED headlamps, electronic ignition and a new twin-evaporator air-conditioning system that was designed and fitted while retaining as many original components as possible.
This painstakingly restored DB5 would be just at home on display at major concours d’elegance—it was shown at the 2022 London Concours—as it would be fulfilling its original brief of comfortably and quickly covering long distances. It represents a superb opportunity to acquire a beautiful example of Aston Martin’s iconic grand tourer.