1965 Aston Martin DB5 Vantage Convertible
- One of seven factory-original DB5 Vantage convertibles
- Winner of the 2005 Greenwich Concours Europa Chairman’s Award
- Professionally converted to left-hand drive in 2005
- Complete with British Motor Industry Heritage Trust (BMIHT) Certificate, copy of build sheet, and restoration invoices
- Includes owner’s manual, tools, and jack
The most well-known DB5 is, of course, that Silver Birch super-spy saloon often seen racing across movie screens worldwide. But James Bond’s DB5 was just a standard saloon model, one of nearly a thousand. For a rarer, higher-performance DB5, those in the know look toward the DB5 Vantage convertible. With just seven ever made, this model comes in at one of the rarest Aston Martins available.
The high-performance, Vantage-specification DB5 did not make its first appearance until September 1964. The prototype, DP217, bore the chassis no. DB5/1451/R and came fitted with triple Weber twin-choke, side-draft 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 providing 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 0–60 times dropping to just 6.5 seconds.
Appropriately, any original Vantage-specification DB5 is a rare and highly desirable GT with immensely satisfying driving dynamics. However, the stellar example offered here, chassis DB5C/1924/R, is far more so as it is one of the seven Vantage convertibles originally produced. Completed on 1 April 1965 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 was 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 2-in. clutch-pedal extension and additional padding to the front-seat squabs. The car’s next keeper was T.F. Kennel of Buckinghamshire, followed by its next recorded owner from the AMOC Register, J. Denoyer.
Subsequent to its importation to the U.S., under Henry S. Miller, the DB5C received a comprehensive restoration by experienced Aston Martin restorers Kent Bain’s Automotive Restorations of Stratford, Connecticut. Completed to concours standards in 2005, the restoration included a professional conversion to left-hand drive. All restorative work was fully documented, and invoices for over $200,000 are included in the history file. It should be noted the car does not retain its original engine but has been fitted with a replacement block believed to be from Aston Engineering and which has been stamped with the original engine number.
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. Since its last sale in 2012, the DB5 has been living on the West Coast, properly maintained by an avid collector of classic cars.
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. It is a superb, immensely drivable and extremely rare example of the marque flagship, in its most desirable, high performance, open-air form.