Aston Martin DB5 Convertible

Before World War I, the company Bamford & Martin had acquired quite a reputation for tuning the engines of Singer sports cars. Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford built their first special in 1914 by putting a 1.4-litre Coventry-Simplex motor in an Isotta-Fraschini voiturette chassis. The car appeared quite saleable, but the outbreak of the War put an end to its production. A second car followed in 1919, now with an Aston Martin chassis. The car’s name was derived from the Aston-Clinton hill climb that was won by that first prototype.

Production of cars started in 1921 with 1.5-litre engines. A more ambitious four-cylinder, 16-valve car was designed for famous driver Count Lozuis Zborowski in 1922. It was he who held the company’s purse strings as its biggest financier. The car failed to live up to its promise on the racetrack but became available to private customers the following year. Zborowski was killed at Monza in 1924, plunging the company into financial difficulties. The company was sold in 1925 to W. S. Renwick, who along with A. C. Bertelli, an Armstrong Siddeley engineer, formed R and B which produced just one car. The duo would produce Bertelli-designed Aston Martins using a 1.5-litre four cylinder engine through 1936. The 1.5-litre model established a good competition record at Brooklands, Le Mans and the Mille Miglia, helping to perpetuate the marque’s sporting pedigree.

Aston Martin continued to flounder as finances were always a company problem. It wasn’t until the arrival of David Brown in 1947 when the company began to flourish. He showed a completely new model dubbed DB1 in September 1948 – the initials short for David Brown. It was followed in 1949 by a car with a square-tube space frame and 2.6-litre dual overhead cam six-cylinder engine designed by W.O. Bentley for the post-war Lagonda – a marque also owned by Brown. The car was entered into Le Mans and emerged in 1950 as the DB2. Much like Enzo Ferrari, Brown began to build sporting coupés and convertibles in order to finance his expensive racing cars. Successful in his endeavours, Brown and Aston Martin went on to win Le Mans and the World Sports Car Constructors Championship in 1959.

An all-new car arrived in 1960 dubbed DB4. It featured a Tadec Marek-designed all-aluminium 240 horsepower 3.7-litre engine and a platform-frame chassis, coil springs and double wishbone front suspension with trailing link and coil spring rear suspension. It was clothed in handsome coachwork by Touring of Milan, constructed on the Superleggera principle (a tubular metal cage clad in hand-fashioned aluminium). The car was a huge advance yet it retained the flavour of its predecessors. Top speed was 141 mph with zero-to-sixty times of just 8.5 seconds. Four-wheel disc brakes arrived in 1961, along with a convertible model with detachable steel hardtop. A total of 1,103 would be produced through 1963.

The new DB5 arrived in the autumn of 1963. Though it retained the basic chassis, body style, and running gear of the late-model DB4’s, the new DB5 was different in many respects. It would be produced for just two years but became one of the most famous of all Aston Martins. A specially-equipped DB5 would serve as super-spy James Bond’s personal car in the Hollywood film Goldfinger, giving the car international star status. Arguably one of the best product placements in the history of merchandising, Aston Martin was vaulted to immediate recognition and given untold amounts of free global advertising of which manufacturers can only dream.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in October of 2009 at the Battersea Evolution, London.

282 hp, 3,995 cc dual overhead cam inline six-cylinder engine, five-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle, four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 98".

Source: RM Auctions

Gallery: Aston Martin DB5 Convertible