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1963 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible

RM | Sotheby's - MONTEREY 15 - 17 AUGUST 2019


Chassis No.
Engine No.
DB5C/1255/R
400/1595
  • Believed to be the 1963 Earls Court Motor Show car
  • Factory demonstration model and recorded history from new
  • Fully restored by Aston Martin Works
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The Aston Martin DB5 is easily one of the most recognizable cars in the world. Seeing one calls to mind the image of Sean Connery casually leaning against the Silver Birch example that propelled Aston Martin to the height of international acclaim. The DB5’s association with the gentleman spy ensured the model’s instant success—indeed, over 1,000 were produced during the two-year model run. Equipped with a soft top that was perhaps more Dr. No than Goldfinger, the convertible version of the DB5 was released shortly before the movie reached audiences. Described as “extremely elegant and completely practical,” the new convertible lacked none of the successful features of the saloon—excepting those superspy gadgets.

Just 123 convertibles would be built before production ceased, of which 85 were right-hand-drive, though this was not due to lack of interest. Priced at £4,490, the convertible cost well above the average house price of the time, assuring that only a privileged few were able to afford one. The epitome of British elegance and class, celebrities snapped them up—Peter Sellers, Beryl Reid, and even HRH Princess Margaret could be spotted in a DB5 convertible. The passing decades have only added to the allure of the DB5. With continued cameos in the most recent James Bond blockbusters, the DB5 has become more than just an accessory and is now afforded as much attention as the stars of the films themselves. Far from being the car driven by aging British gentlemen, the DB5 convertible has been the mainstay of young thirty-something stars and easily drops jaws wherever it is seen.

The DB5 convertible offered here is a particularly special example. Just the fifth convertible chassis ever numbered, DB5C/1255/R was allocated the role of selling the new model as an Aston Martin Works demonstrator. Specified in its current color combination of Caribbean Pearl over Dark Blue Connolly leather, the car was fitted with an overdrive four-speed gearbox, chrome road wheels, and a Motorola radio and power aerial. The car was registered CMV 1A. It is also believed to be the very same convertible that was displayed at the 1963 Earls Court Motor Show—the very one models Barbara Roscoe and Honor Blackman are pictured fawning over. Undoubtedly the car was presented to numerous potential buyers and journalists during the first year of its life, and we know that in 1964 the car appeared again at Silverstone for demonstration purposes.

After being used by Works, the convertible was fully reconditioned and sold to its first private owner, Mr. G.B.R. Gray, Esq., of East Lothian. In November 1965, having covered a mere 21,400 miles, the car returned to the factory for a replacement engine. In the early 1970s the car changed hands several times with apparently only light use from each owner. In June 1983 the car was purchased by Mr. Greaves, and a new chapter would begin in the car’s life.

Mr. Greaves would go on to own the convertible for close to 25 years, and it is believed that he researched and collated the extensive history of the car, which is available on file. It is a testament to his care that the car came to be sold to its current owner in generally good condition in 2007, having covered a mere 19,246 miles in the 24 years of his ownership.

During its current ownership, chassis 1255/R was sent to Aston Martin Works at Newport Pagnell for a full body-off restoration to their exacting standards. Every element of the car was restored, and the car returned to its original factory specification of October 1963. This restoration is recorded in a photographic file that accompanies the car. In 2019 the car was awarded Best of Show at the Techno Classica in Essen in recognition of the high quality of the work carried out.

This stunning DB5 convertible is ready to be fawned over once again, just as it had been 56 years ago.



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