Aston Martin DB5

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The iconic Aston Martin DB5, released in 1963, is a luxury grand tourer that was made by Aston Martin. It was a slight upgrade from the DB4 which preceded it.

The DB5 is most famous for being the third but most recognised James Bond car. The vehicle first appeared in 1964's Goldfinger and went on to appear in Thunderball, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, Casino Royale, Skyfall and Spectre.


The principal differences between the DB4 Series V and the DB5 are: The all-aluminium engine was enlarged from 3.7 L to 4.0 L, A new robust ZF five-speed transmission (except for some of the very first DB5s) and three SU carburettors Producing 282 bhp (210 kW), which propelled the car to 145 mph (233 km/h), this engine, available on the Vantage (high powered) version of the DB4 since March 1962, became the standard Aston Martin power unit with the launch in September 1963 of the DB5.

Standard equipment on the DB5 included reclining seats, wool pile carpets, electric windows, twin fuel tanks, chrome wire wheels, oil cooler, magnesium-alloy body built to superleggera patent technique, full leather trim in the cabin and even a fire extinguisher. All models have two doors and are of a 2+2 configuration. A three-speed Borg-Warner DG automatic transmission was available as well. At the beginning, the original four-speed manual (with optional overdrive) was standard fitment, but it was soon dropped in favour of the ZF five-speed. The automatic option was then changed to the Borg-Warner Model 8 shortly before the DB6 replaced the DB5.

James Bond's DB5

Sean Connery Era

Goldfinger - Bond follows Goldfinger to Auric Enterprises

The DB5's appearance in Goldfinger.

The Aston Martin DB5 is the most famous Aston Martin car due to its use by James Bond in Goldfinger (1964). Although Ian Fleming had placed Bond in a DB Mark III in the novel, the DB5 was the company's newest model when the film was being made. The company was initially reluctant, but were finally convinced to a product placement deal. The car used in the film was the original DB5 prototype, with another standard car used for stunts. Two more modified cars were built for publicity tours after the film's release. In January 2006, one of those cars was auctioned for more than $2 million. [1]

Famous for its array of gadgets, the film's script initially had the car armed only with smoke screen. However, the gadgets rapidly increased as crew members began suggesting devices to install in it. For instance, director Guy Hamilton conceived the revolving license plate because he had been getting lots of parking tickets, while his stepson suggested the ejector seat (which he saw on television). Some further changes were made during production; including the replacement of a caltrop-dropping gadget (located behind the rear light cluster) with an oil dispenser because the producers thought the original could be easily copied by viewers.

Production designer Ken Adam and engineer John Stears overhauled the prototype Aston Martin DB5 coupe, installing these and other features into the car over six weeks. Only two of the gadgets were not actually installed in the vehicle: the wheel-destroying blades, inspired by Ben-Hur's scythed chariots (entirely made on studio); and the ejector seat. The scene where the DB5 crashes was filmed twice, with the second take being used in the film. The first take, in which the car drives right through the fake wall, can be seen in the film's trailer.

Within the universe of James Bond, the same car was used again in the following film, Thunderball (Reg: BMT 216A), where it was equipped with two rear-facing water cannons for Bond's escape from Colonel Jacques Bouvar's château. The effect was achieved using two fire hoses mounted under the vehicle, the hose pipes clearly visible in some shots.

Pierce Brosnan Era

Goldeneye - The DB5 parked

The DB5 reappears in GoldenEye.

After a long absence from the series, the Aston Martin DB5 reappeared in 1995's GoldenEye, sporting a new numberplate (Reg: BMT 214A) . Although its origins are not mentioned on screen, the novelization of GoldenEye states that Bond purchased this DB5 as his own personal vehicle. The car is fitted with an Alpine 7817R car radio that doubles as a printer and communication device, and a champagne cooler concealed under the centre arm rest. Three different DB5s were used for filming.

The BMT 214A also returned in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), and was set to make a cameo at Castle Thane in The World Is Not Enough (1999). Although the scene was cut, the outline of the Aston Martin can still be seen in the closing scenes of the film; as M and her staff attempt to locate Bond with a thermal-imaging satellite.

In the video game 007 Racing, Bond drives the car during certain missions. It reappeared again during 007 Agent Under Fire, when Bond uses the vehicle get a data chip on something known as "Poseidon"

Daniel Craig Era

Skyfall - DB5 Featurette01:18

Skyfall - DB5 Featurette

Following the series' reboot in 2006, a further DB5 (Reg: 56526) made an appearance in Casino Royale, in which Bond wins villain Alex Dimitrios' Aston Martin in a game of poker. This one has Bahamian number plates and left-hand drive, whereas previous British versions had been right-hand drive.

The Aston Martin DB5 (with the original registration BMT 216A) returned in 2012's Skyfall. Pursued by Raoul Silva, Bond proceeds to a London warehouse to swap the government car he had used in the rescuing of M with the Aston Martin DB5.

The pair then travel to Bond's ancestral home, Skyfall Lodge, and use the vehicle's concealed weaponry to stage a defense of the building. The car is subsequently destroyed by heavy machine gun fire from a helicopter belonging to Silva - much to Bond's fury. To achieve the effect, replica mini-cars were used and destroyed. 3D printing techniques were used to create models a third of the size of the real DB5. 

It is never explained in the film how this incarnation of Bond could possibly have acquired the vehicle previously used by Sean Connery's 007, who, as of Casino Royale, is a totally separate character in an alternate continuity. It is possible that the car is simply the same one won by Bond in Casino Royale, subsequently modified to include the on-board weapons, and any similarity to the car from Goldfinger is merely an homage for the audience on the part of the film. 


Bond inspects the DB5 being repaired in the Q-Branch workshop.

In Spectre it is revealed that the remains of the car were recovered after being blown up by Silva in Skyfall and we see the vehicle in the Q-branch lab being worked on. Q then tells bond that it's taking longer to rebuild than expected because there wasn't much left to work on. ("Barely a steering wheel.") Q also mocks Bond, telling him, " I believe I said bring it back in one piece, not bring back one piece!". By the end of the film it was completely restored and rebuilt for Bond to use again. He then gets it from Q and drives off with Madeleine Swann


Film Gadgets

DB5 - Browning Machine guns — There are two front firing Browning .30 calibre machine guns hidden behind each of the front indicators.
DB5 - Slasher Tire-shredding blade — Concealed in the offside rear wheel is a chariot-style retractable blade. It was used to cripple Tilly Masterston's Ford Mustang in Goldfinger.
DB5 - Bullet Screen (Thunderball) Bullet screen — For additional protection, the DB5 comes equipped with a bullet-proof rear screen. Controlled from the center console, at the flick of a switch the sheet of metal rises from the boot to form a protective barrier across the rear window.
DB5 - Radar Radar scanner and tracking screen — A precursor to the modern GPS device, the scanner can display the position of a specially-designed homing beacon on a display concealed behind the dashboard. In Goldfinger, it was used to track the location of Auric Goldfinger's Rolls-Royce Phantom III. The device is stated to have a range of 150 miles.
DB5 - Ejector Seat Trigger Passenger ejector seat — For the unwelcome passenger, the DB5 comes equipped with a passenger ejector seat. The trigger is concealed beneath a flip-cap on the gear-shift stick. When pressed, a section of the roof is jettisoned, along with the passenger seat and its occupant.
DB5 - Oil Oil slick — An oil slick can be sprayed from behind the rear light cluster to evade persuers. Operated by toggles and switches hidden in the center armrest.
DB5 - Smoke Smoke screen — In addition to other counter-measures, a smoke screen can be vented from the exhaust pipes.
DB5 - Glass Bullet-proof windscreen — In Goldfinger the DB5's windshield has been reinforced to withstand impact damage from most conventional firearms.
DB5 - Revolving Number Plate

Revolving number plates — The DB5 also comes with rotating number plates, some of which are:

  • "BMT 216A" (UK)
  • "4711-EA-62" (France)
  • "LU 6789" (Switzerland)
DB5 - Waterjets Rear water cannons — For Thunderball two rear water cannons were added to the DB5. To achieve the effect two fire hoses were mounted under the vehicle, the hose pipes clearly visible in some shots.
DB5 - Radio Alpine 7817R — In GoldenEye, the Aston Martin featured an Alpine 7817R CD Tuner which acted as a communication device and doubled as a colour printer/fax machine for recieving intelligence from MI6.

Promotional & Unused Gadgets

DB5 - Caltrops Caltrop dispenser — In one of the Goldfinger promotional vehicles, spiked caltrops can be dispensed from behind the rear light cluster. In the film this feature was replaced with an oil dispenser because the producers thought the original could be easily copied by viewers.
DB5 - Phone Radio telephone — As with Bond's 1935 Bentley 3½ Litre in From Russia with Love, the DB5 is equipped with a radio telephone for communicating with headquarters. While built into the vehicle, it was never seen in use in the film.
DB5 - Forward Rams Front and rear extending rams — The DB5 comes equipped with front and rear battering rams which extend from the bumpers. Although not used on screen, the front rams were included on virtually all toy replicas of the car.
DB5 - Hidden Compartment Concealed compartment — Under the driver's seat is a hidden compartment which contains several weapons. While not used on screen, it was built into the vehicle and featured in the Goldfinger novel.

Other appearances

DB5 - The Return of the man from UNCLE

The Return of the Man from UNCLE

The DB5 also made cameo appearances in the comedy film, Cannonball Run, driven by Roger Moore's character, and in the TV-film The Return of the Man from UNCLE, George Lazenby, playing a Bond-like character referred to as "JB", drives a DB5 (with the licence plate "JB"). Consequently, Timothy Dalton is the only official Bond actor who has never driven one on screen, however scripts for his unmade third Bond film show a DB5 was planned to be used. The most recent appearance of the vehicle was in the 2004 film, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers in which Geoffrey Rush, playing Peter Sellers, is shown driving one at the time of making Casino Royale, even though in real life that film did not feature the vehicle. The car further made a appearance in the popular sandbox game GTA 5 (Grand Theft Auto 5) under the name 'JB700'. It in a mission of the story mode had spikes and a ejecting chair, as well as visible guns on the hood. It can be bought of legendary motor sports on both online and story mode but to many peoples dismay does not have the many gadgets of story or the one featured in the movies, Although they all are visible.

Video game appearances

The classic Aston Martin DB5 (Reg: BMT 216A) has also made appearances in the James Bond video-games 007 Racing (2000), Agent Under Fire (2001), From Russia With Love (2005), and Blood Stone (2008). In 007 Racing it appeared in the first level of the game, featuring gadgets from the film Goldfinger. The DB5 promptly returned in 2001's Agent Under Fire, where 007 attempts to locate an incriminating data-chip ejected somewhere in Bucharest. Unlike its movie-counterpart, the Agent Under Fire vehicle was equipped with rockets and guided-missiles. For the video-game adaptation of From Russia with Love, the Aston Martin (although it is first introduced in Goldfinger) is shipped out to Istanbul by Q-Branch. In Blood Stone Bond drives an unarmed (and apparently not his own) DB5 during a chase sequence in Istanbul, in a bid to prevent the villain from passing on confidential documents. At the end of the pursuit the car is effectively written-off after crashing into a construction site.



  • The DB5 has the dubious honor of being the slowest car ever in the Top Gear Power Laps segment.
  • A character called "Finn McMissile" based on James Bond's spy car version appeared in the Disney/Pixar film Cars 2.


See also

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