The DB5 convertible may be rightly regarded as the perfected Aston Martin-the product of deliberate and steady improvement in performance, reliability, comfort and appearance to a plane unequalled by its Continental rivals. The DB5 flowed smoothly from the DB4, gaining a small measure of displacement (from 3.7 to 4.0 liters) and power (from 240 to 282 horsepower). Its body flowed even more smoothly, adopting the covered headlights pioneered on the short-wheelbase DB4GT by Zagato and offered on some later DB4GTs. The DB5 body is the essence of refined design: beautiful, sophisticated and free of non-functional embellishment. The DB5's Tadek Marek-designed alloy block, dual overhead-camshaft, inline 6-cylinder engine had been introduced in 1958 in the DB4, similar in concept and layout to the W.O. Bentley-designed Lagonda engine used in earlier David Brown Astons. After several years of development, it provided ample horsepower for high-speed touring with abundant torque for quick acceleration and smooth driving in traffic. It also produced a distinctive (and, yes, refined) exhaust note that is uniquely identifiable as emanating from an Aston Martin. Only 123 of the 1,021 DB5s built were convertibles, making them very rare and highly sought. The 1965 Aston Martin DB5 convertible pictured here is an exceptional example of this rare and satisfying model. It is fitted with chrome wire wheels and has the four-speed gearbox with overdrive for relaxed cruising. Many owners regard this David Brown-built gearbox as superior to the ZF five-speed that succeeded it during the DB5 production-particularly because it is much quieter when cruising in overdrive. It is finished in British Racing Green with tan Connolly leather interior and a tan top, as well as the rich wood garnishments for which British automobiles are noted. Restored some ten years ago, it is still in superb condition, attesting to both the quality of its restoration and to the care and maintenance it has received.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1965 Aston Martin DB5

This DB5C sold at RM’s Amelia Island auction, March 9, 2002, for $170,500, including buyer’s premium.

My first brush with the visual and emotional splendor that is the Aston Martin DB5C came in September 1987. It was a right-hand-drive example, in refrigerator white, overpriced and in need of a sympathetic restoration. And I still regret not swapping my restored 246 GT Ferrari and $5,000 for it.

DB5s are iconic automobiles for Aston Martin, and for the entire car world as well. You can make the argument that there are far more important, valuable or beautiful cars out there, but you cannot win the argument that there are better-known cars, thanks to James Bond. Further, I’m pleased to report that after too many years stuck behind the wheel of a twin-kidneyed “ultimate boring machine,” Mr. Bond will be back where he belongs, piloting an Aston Martin come this November. From a mercenary point of view, this can’t do anything but help the values of all Astons.

This particular car was well known to me. It had passed through a Philadelphia dealer a number of years ago and was owned by a responsible car collector who properly cared for his beloved toys. To a bidder considering plunking down nearly 200 large at an auction, this Aston’s traceable history was certainly worth more than a cup of coffee and a pair of bear claws. The car was well represented by an agent for the seller, as well.

Left-hand-drive DB5Cs in the US are not terribly common, and only a handful appear for sale every year, in the usual condition range from rat-assed to gorgeous. This car’s bodylines were straight, the underside was original and correct, and all the mechanical components appeared to be in order. Detailing under the hood was about average; very little TLC will be needed to bring it up a few notches.

If I could pick one area I would criticize ever so slightly, it would be the interior. The leather was very usable, but this car deserves new Connolly. The rest of the car is so straight; a re-trim would bring this car from very good to “most excellent, Wayne!” If the new owner took the time and expense to re-trim, he would still be right side up on value, which is always a nice bonus.

Finally recovering from the slump that lasted from 1989 to 1991, certain Astons have accelerated strongly in the last year. The rare examples-DB4GT (especially Zagato-bodied cars), DB5 coupes, DB5C and DB6 Short Chassis Volantes-have been especially strong. This car was a very good example, and should be considered well bought in the current market.-Steve Serio

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