1964 Aston Martin DB5 Sports Saloon Project

Courtesy of Bonhams
Courtesy of Bonhams

Undoubtedly one of the “must-have” cars as well as James Bond’s iconic vehicle, the DB5 continues to generate immense interest among car collectors, owners and users. Understandably so, as the total production of all DB5s over a two-year period was only a little over 1,000 cars.

Born of the frustration that Harold Beach had encountered with the DB4, which he claimed was rushed into production ahead of proper development, the DB5 remains the pinnacle of his achievements as a designer. Styled by Carrozzeria Touring of Italy, it used their patented Superleggera body construction and an engine reworked by Tadek Marek, which had been increased in capacity to 4 liters and now produced 282 horsepower on triple SU carburetors. Beach had already had some practice for his magnum opus with the DB4GT and Series V DB4s, using faired-in headlamps to further enhance the appearance.

The extra engine power attracted attention like never before despite the “half the price” competition from the E-type Jaguar. Later cars, this one included, were fitted with a ZF 5-speed gearbox. There had not been, and would not be for some years, a car, let alone an Aston, quite as good as the DB5.

Many of the DB5s surviving today have undergone complete restorations, often two or three; it is hard to believe that the older examples are now in their 51st year. Consequently, it has become harder to find cars with matching numbers and a continuous record of activity; or inactivity, as is the case with DB51497R.

Registered as EAF 2, this DB5 was delivered to its first owner on April 9, 1964, via Brooklands of Bond Street. The car is said to have been subject to frontal collision damage in the early 1970s and was bought as a rebuild project. It was almost completely dismantled and the parts dry-stored. Work has been carried out on it since, but there is no accurate record of what has been done and when.

However, a record of the original purchase and many other documents related to the car come with it, together with a Works manual, V5 registration document and a series of photographs which may be of early repair work.

There is evidence of repair to the nose and nearside area of the chassis. The cockpit and boot floors appear sound. The car is rolling, with the suspension and brakes in place front and rear. It is not known if the brakes, suspension and Selectaride mechanisms have been refurbished, but the brake pipes appear to have been renewed recently. The wheels appear to be original but are in need of renovation. The tires appear to be 1970s in origin.

There are two front-end body assemblies. One, for a DB5, appears to be new and made relatively recently. The other, for a DB6, is old with some poor repair work. The rear coachwork and sills have been cut away as an assembly. There is no roof.

A bonnet, said to be from another DB5, is included but has not been measured against the new nose. The boot lid is included together with both doors complete with winder mechanisms, motors, handles and chromed window surrounds.

The correct engine (according to the AMOC Register and the accompanying British Motor Industry Heritage Trust certificate) has been refitted but is said not to have been looked at since the car’s acquisition in 1974. The manifolds, starter motor, dynamo, carburetors and other ancillaries have been removed. The ZF gearbox is installed and the prop shaft turns when the car is pushed.

The dashboard is in place and appears complete, while the handbrake lever and control pedals are present also. The original green front seats and rear squab were treated with hide food recently. The rest of the original trim, including door liners, is present together with the original black carpets (marked for use as templates). There is no headlining.

There is a box of what are almost certainly new trims and door/window seals — possibly a complete set.

The wiring loom has been replaced with a period-correct item. The headlamps and nacelles appear to be missing, but the taillamps are present. Several ancillaries remain in place on the bulkhead. Sold strictly as-viewed, this is a challenging project but nevertheless one that, once completed, will give immense satisfaction to the car’s new owner.

Paul Hardiman

Paul Hardiman - SCM Senior Auction Analyst

Paul is descended from engineers and horse thieves, so he naturally gravitated toward the old-car marketplace and still finds fascination in the simpler things in life: looking for spot-weld dimples under an E-type tail, or counting the head-studs on a supposed Mini-Cooper engine. His motoring heroes are Roger Clark, Burt Levy, Henry Royce and Smokey Yunick — and all he wants for next Christmas is an Alvis Stalwart complete with picnic table in the back and a lake big enough to play in.

Posted in English