The DB5 tops every survey going as the classic the whole world wants to own. Those few, short moments of fame in Goldfinger have endured for decades and catapaulted values so high that now a good DB5 won’t leave you much change from half-a-million. And driving them round London and Pinewood Studios for our shoot proved to me that this is a car that people literally battle to get close to. No other classic generates more attention that the DB5. But ironically it isn’t that technically sophisticated or brilliantly built – the appeal comes down to one simple fact – this Aston is just pant-wettingly gorgeous. Sure, the Bond franchise has helped keep the DB5 in billions of hearts all over the world appearing in no less than six 007 movies but they were never that reliable or thunderously fast and Aston Martin lost money on every DB5 they made.
Celebrities of the 60s loved them and famous owners include Peter Sellers, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. But back in the 70s I can remember seeing ratty old DB5s for sale for as little as £3,000 – and they were a struggle to sell. But over time the Bond connection and those slippery looks cemented the DB5 as the world’s favourite classic that everybody recognises. These days well-heeled city types put in air conditioning, power steering and modern sound systems to make their classic Aston easier to drive and some will even spend £400k to have their DB5s restored to sparkling as new condition. The delicate tubular chassis and alloy bodies are notoriously difficult to restore chomping up hours of specialist labour time. Fettling an engine and re-trimming the interior can easily dispose of fifty grand. But there’s always a waiting list of passionate owners at Aston specialists ready to spend huge amounts keeping their DB5s in shimmering, perfect nick.
Only 1,063 DB5 were ever made and they originally cost £4,250 or twice the price of the contemporary E-type Jag. Only 125 of the super rare DB5 Volante or convertible version were built and they’re now worth over a million. Britt Ekland told me how her husband Peter Sellers broke down in rush hour holiday traffic in his DB5 Volante and was so furious he never drove it again. But time heals all wounds and we’re now at a situation where we’re all wondering if the stellar rise in values can possibly continue. What’s really interesting is that this isn’t a classic chosen by old blokes in cloth caps but relatively young (and rich) thirty somethings who see the DB5 as a must-have fashion accessory – which shows just how powerful the Aston Martin brand still is. So if you win the Euromillions lottery this weekend ignore all those modern supercars. If you really want to have the coolest ride on the street it just has to be an Aston Martin DB5.