Monterey | Lot 124
1965 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible
The Paul Andrews Estate Collection
$3,195,000 USD | Sold
| Monterey, California
12 August 2021
- Factory left-hand drive model; one of only 39 ever produced
- Ordered new to the United States
- Retains original matching-numbers engine; uprated to 4.2-liter specification
- Recipient of 2011-2012 restoration by R.S. Williams
The most well-known DB5 is, of course, that Silver Birch super-spy saloon often seen racing across movie screens worldwide. With the instant international success of the model, it was only natural that Aston Martin would satisfy those customers who lived in sunnier locales and produce a drophead coupe version of the DB5. The DB5 Convertible was the equal of any open-top Italian gran turismo for style; and if James Bond’s DB5 was just a standard saloon model, one of nearly a thousand, only 123 lucky customers were able to drive away in the convertible version—making the DB5 Convertible one of the rarer Aston Martins available today.
Equipped with a soft top, the convertible version of the DB5 was described as “extremely elegant and completely practical.” The new convertible lacked none of the successful features of the saloon. Under the bonnet, the DB5 Convertible sported Aston Martin’s 4.0-liter engine, which produced a reported 283 brake horsepower and helped the DB5 achieve a top speed of 143 mph. While the original production run offered a five-speed ZF gearbox as an optional extra, this was offered as standard on the convertibles, as were power windows, an alternator, and exhaust silencers. Other standard equipment included reclining seats, wool pile carpets, twin fuel tanks, chrome wire wheels, an oil cooler, full leather trim in the cabin, and a fire extinguisher. 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.
Only 39 of the open-top vehicles were produced for the export market, making a DB5 Convertible in factory original left-hand drive, as seen on the car offered here, particularly rare. Chassis DB5C/2115/L was originally delivered to Dr. Morris A Sonderegger of Reno, Nevada. As seen on the accompanying build sheet, Dr. Sonderegger did not skimp on adding optional equipment to make his DB5 more comfortable. Normalair air conditioning, a Bosch Koln TR radio with power operated aerial, two Marchal fog lamps, and two detachable headrests are just some of the non-standard equipment listed. Originally painted Dubonnet red, and upholstered in Black Connolly leather, Dr. Sonderegger’s DB5 Convertible would have certainly turned heads while driving through the desert.
By 2011, DB5C/2115/L had found its way to Brussels and was in need of restoration. The owner at the time sent the vehicle to world-renowned Aston Martin specialist R.S. Williams, for a full body-off restoration. Invoices on file show that the original engine was striped, cleaned, and inspected; areas of the block that were corroded were fixed with carbide before work was undertaken to bring the engine up to R.S. Williams 4.2-liter specification. The carburetors were also stripped, cleaned, and rebuilt to the higher specification. New Avon tires were fitted, including on the spare. The cooling system was upgraded to R.S. William specification, and all electrics were tested, repaired, and uprated, as necessary. Ultimately, DB5C/2115/L was finished in the classic color combination of Silver Birch over red Connolly leather with matching Wilton carpeting.
The DB5 Convertible entered the Andrews Collection in 2018, returning to the United States. Since then, it has been carefully maintained, and presents beautifully for a nearly decade-old restoration. This DB5 Convertible is offered with a copy of the factory build sheet, a host of optional equipment, and all the R.S. William upgrades one could ask for.