James Bond's DB5

2014-04-13 Read: 727x

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 first and 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 and 2012's Skyfall.


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]

In the script, the car was only armed with smoke screen, but every crew member began suggesting gadgets to install in it: 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). A gadget near the lights that would drop sharp nails was replaced 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 of the Aston Martin DB5 coupe, installing these and other features into a car over six weeks. 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 through the fake wall, can be seen in the trailer. Two of the gadgets were not installed in the car: the wheel-destroying spikes, inspired by Ben-Hur's scythed chariots, were entirely made on studio; and the ejector seat used a seat thrown by compressed air, with a dummy sat atop it.

Within the universe of James Bond, the same car was used again in the following film, Thunderball (Reg: BMT 216A).

Pierce Brosnan Era

A different Aston Martin DB5 (Reg: BMT 214A) was used in the 1995 Bond film, GoldenEye in which three different DB5s were used for filming. In the novelization of GoldenEye it is stated that Bond purchased the DB5 as his own personal vehicle. The car is then fitted with an Alpine 7817R car radio that doubles as a printer and communication device, and a champagne cooler concealed under the center arm rest.

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), but the scene was cut.

Daniel Craig Era

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. [1] 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.


Machine guns — There are two front firing Browning .30 calibre machine guns hidden behind each of the front indicators.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Smoke screen — In addition to other counter-measures, a smoke screen can be vented from the exhaust pipes.

Bullet-proof windscreen — In Goldfinger the DB5's windshield has been reinforced to withstand impact damage from most conventional firearms.

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)

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

The DB5 also made cameo appearances in the comedy film,Cannonball Run, driven by Roger Moore's character, and in the TV-filmThe Return of the Man from UNCLEGeorge 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. The most recent appearance of the vehicle was in the 2004 film, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers in which Geoffrey Rush, playing Sellers, is shown driving one at the time of making Casino Royale, even though in real life that film did not feature the vehicle.

Video game appearances

The Aston Martin DB5 (Reg: BMT 216A) made appearances in 007 Racing and Blood Stone. In 007 Racing it appeared in level 1 of the game and it had the same gadgets from the films. In Blood Stone Bond use the DB5 to chase after Bernin in Istanbul to stop him from making the handoff with the documents. During the chase, it took many damages from traffic, gunmen, and the helicopter's heavy machine gun fire. At the end of the chase, it crashed after the second jump.

Vehicle information
Model: Aston Martin DB5
Manufacturer: Aston Martin
Production: 1963–1965
Class: Grand tourer
Engine: 4.0 L (3995 cc/243 in³) straight-6
Torque: 390 N·m (288 ft·lbf) at 3850 rpm
Transmission: 4-speed manual w/ optional O/D
Power: 282 HP (210 kW) at 5500 rpm
Top Speed: 230 km/h (143 mph)
0-60 mph (0-97 km/h): 8.1 s
Dimensions: L 4,572 mm (180 in),
W 1,676 mm (66 in),
H 1,346 mm (53 in)
Weight: 1,465 kg (3,230 lb)

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