1963 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible
Aston Martin’s DB5 is the epitome of British elegance and class and with multiple appearances in the James Bond franchise, has been heralded over the years as one of the world’s most famous cars. While maybe not all passersby will be able to tell you what it is when looking at the DB5, mostly everyone knows that shape. The fact that there was also an open-top version may not, however, be common knowledge but, with or without a roof, the DB5 is a show-stopper any day of the week.
Powered by 4.0-liter version of Tadek Marek’s DOHC inline-six, the DB5 was an evolutionary step than a revolutionary one when compared to the DB4 it replaced. In fact, the styling was nigh on identical to that of a Series 5 DB4 and it was the increase in the engine’s capacity that stood out as key differentiator between the two models. But a deal to supply Sean Connery’s Bond with a Silver Birch DB5 in the movie ’Goldfinger’ changed everything for David Brown’s company.
The model became a success with over 1,000 units sold in just two years and movie stars fawned over the gorgeous lines penned by Touring. Actors Peter Sellers and Beryl Reid were just some who owned DB5s in the ’60s and even Princess Margaret rolled in one for a while. Indeed, you probably needed the funds usually linked to an heir of the crown given that the DB5 Convertible cost as much as a house at the time but can you really put a price on driving a car Bond pedalled on-screen?
1953 Aston Martin DB3S Works
The Aston Martin DB3S is a special car although it may have been overshadowed as years came and went by a certain finned Jaguar and the DBR1/300 that won at La Sarthe for David Brown’s marque. However, its status as a bit of a giant killer and the fact that the boys in Feltham kept using it for four seasons in international competitions puts the DB3S in a unique spot in Jaguar’s racing history. This car, chassis #2, is one of only 11 works cars ever built and it won the Goodwood Nine Hours ahead of the D-Type and Ferrari’s 750 Monza. It is, then, no wonder that RM/Sotheby’s hoped it would sell for anywhere between $8.75 and $10 million when it crossed the block last Thursday during the Monterey Car Week. Well, it didn’t but you can’t deny this is one rare, gorgeous, and expensive product of the ’50s. Need further proof? A copy of the definitive book on this car sold 14 years ago for some $1,500.
When you talk ’50s sports cars, your mind slaloms between William Haynes’ C-Type and D-Type, together amassing five overall 24 Hours of Le Mans wins, the classic 250 Testa Rossa, the dominant but also infamous 300 SLR, and also the Lister Knobbly and Maserati’s 300S. Aston Martin isn’t among the names on the tip of your tongue despite it racking up quite an impressive number of wins between 1953 and 1959 with the DB3S and the DBR1 respectively. That’s because the Aston Martins were always seen as underdogs, always seen as members of the pack, those that’ll play second fiddle to the big fish when, in fact, it wasn’t like that at all. David Brown employed some of the best engineers and drivers at the time and his cars were some of the best. Yes, most often down on power, yes, most often with an Achilles’ heel (cough, the DBR1’s gearbox and ergonomics) but they were good cars. And now we’ll talk about the first one of those, the DB3S, offspring of the DB3 and a car that’s getting a bad rep for being actually friendly on the road.
October 5 is Now Known as Global James Bond Day!
Aston Martin has long been associated with James Bond. The relevance of cars in movies more or less started with the Aston Martin cars featuring in James Bond movies. To commemorate this iconic relationship, Aston Martin has teamed up with the producers of James Bond, EON Productions and Sky, to celebrate “Global James Bond Day” today, the October 5th.
Petrolicious Tells The Story Of A Man And His Aston Martin MK III Prototype: Video
Make a list of some of the most iconic Aston Martins to have ever been made and somewhere on that list, you’re going to find the 1957 Aston Martin MK III, —one of the most famous Aston Martins to have been built, partly because of its involvement in Ian Fleming’s 1957 Goldfinger novel. Yes, we all know that Sean Connery ended up driving an Aston Martin DB5 when the movie adaption was released in 1964, but it was actually a gadget-filled MK III that James Bond drove in the source material.
It’s not that often that you’ll see a MK III on the road these days, and even classic car collector Dave Adams, the subject of the latest Petrolicious episode, doesn’t have an actual MK III. Instead, he has a prototype of the Mk III, which in itself is just as good as owning the real thing. Adams was supposed to get a convertible version of the classic Aston, but when that car was sold, the dealer pointed him to a light blue MK III prototype that actually had an even richer history than any of the production versions that were sold at the time.
Call it fate, destiny, or serendipity. Adams calls it love at first sight, even though he freely admitted that the light blue color wasn’t to his liking. But none of that could’ve prepared him for the mountain of documents that the car came with, as is the case for most prototypes. It had engineering reports and a race history that included being fielded in the Grand Prix Circuit of the Monte Carlo. About the only thing it didn’t have were the gadgets that James Bond had in the Goldfinger novel.
And to think Adams only got the chance to own this MK III prototype because the car he was slated to find a different owner. The automotive world works in mysterious ways sometimes. Just when you think you know what you’re getting, it gives you something you didn’t expect. That’s the story of Dave Adams and his Aston Martin MK III prototype. It’s a story that I’m sure Ian Fleming would be proud of.
Like many British carmakers, Aston Martin came to life as a race car builder. The Brits built their first vehicles in 1922, which went on to set world speed and endurance records at the Brooklands track, and later focused on road-going sports cars and grand tourers. Struck by financial problems in the 1930s, Aston Martin shifted production to aircraft components during World War II. In 1947, tractor manufacturer David Brown Limited bought both Aston Martin and Lagonda bringing them under the same roof.
The David Brown era, which lasted until early 1972, was one of the most successful in Aston Martin history — leading to the creation of the legendary DB series, which still exists through the DB9 and its upcoming successor. However, the road-going DBs weren’t Sir David Brown’s only achievements as managing director of Aston Martin. The entrepreneur also brought the British brand back to the race track by launching the DBR series in the early 1950s. More importantly, Brown approved the development of Aston Martin’s only outright Le Mans winner to date.
The car in question is the DBR1, which went on to win the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans, against stiff competition from V-12 powered Ferraris and with none other than Carroll Shelby behind the wheel.
Continue reading to learn more about the Aston Martin DBR1.
The the world of classic Aston Martins, the DB4 and DB5 command much higher prices than the models that came immediately before and after them. But, there is one variant of these that stands high above the rest, making it what is generally considered to be the most desirable and most expensive of all classic Aston Martins. That car is the DB4 GT Zagato, a factory race car built to challenge the dominance of the Ferrari 250 GT cars in sports car racing. Debuting in 1960, the DB4 GT Zagato wasn’t a sales success, even with the very modest goals set by Aston Martin, but today that just makes it more valuable.
The car was built using the very best of Aston Martin’s racing technology, and then it was lightened and made even more shapely by Zagato. Unfortunately, this combination didn’t win quite as many races as Aston would have liked, but it did make for an absolutely beautiful car — even in the context of the gorgeous cars being produced by Zagato during the ’60s. It might not have the association with James Bond that the DB5 has, but for serious car collectors, the DB4 GT Zagato is as good as classic Astons get.
Continue reading to learn more about the 1962 Aston Martin DB4GT By Zagato.
It was in 1947 that David Brown purchased Aston Martin. The first car made under his ownership was the 2-Liter Sports, sometimes called the DB1, although this wasn’t the official name. But the four-cylinder engine in the car wasn’t as powerful has Brown would have liked, so he bought Lagonda as well, another sports car maker that had a more powerful inline-six engine, and he then set about combining Aston’s chassis engineering with the newly acquired Lagonda engine. The result was the DB2, also the first Aston Martin model to be offered as a Vantage, which at the time was a designation for race-ready cars.
The DB2 was more sports car than the grand tourer DB models that followed, but even in Vantage form, it was a comfortable car with a full interior. Pre-production versions were raced at Le Mans and Spa in 1949, two with the old 2-liter engine and one with the Lagonda engine. After Spa, it was clear that the inline-six was the better choice for the new car, and the decision to use it in the production car the following year was finalized. This was the origin point for what would become one of the most desirable lines of GT cars ever made.
Continue reading to learn more about the 1950 Aston Martin DB2 Vantage.
The Aston Martin DB4 was launched in 1958 as a replacement for the DB Mark III (not to be confused with the DB3 race car), and built until 1963 in various body styles and engine specifications. Offered as a 2+2 coupe, two-seat coupe, and 2+2 convertible, the DB4 was produced in no fewer than five variants, named Series I (one) to V (five). Modifications for each Series model usually included revised front grilles and new headlamps and taillights, but Aston Martin also meddled with the DB4’s body, offering longer versions for increased legroom and luggage space.
One such model is the DB4 Series V, which had its wheelbase increased by 3.5 inches over the Series IV in order for the DB4 to become a grand tourer suited for longer trips. The DB4 Series V was built between September 1962 and June 1963, marking the end of the nameplate, replaced by the more iconic 1963 - 1967 Aston Martin DB5.
Produced in only 168 units (including 32 convertibles) of the total 1,210-unit run, the DB4 Series V Vantage is one of the rarest DB4s ever built, second to only the 1963 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato, a lighter, Zagato-bodied version. Making this particular coupe that much special is its Vantage specification, which means an uprated engine, and the more aerodynamic front fascia, later carried over to the DB5.
Continue reading for my full review of this special DB4.
Several high-end automakers have recently come to realize that it’s good for the brand to have the older cars they’ve made in good condition and selling for insane amounts of money. The high prices commanded by Ferrari 250s are arguably better for sales than all of that money that they dump into Formula 1 racing. So just as Ferrari has Ferrari Classiche, a division of the company devoted to restoration and maintenance of classic Ferraris, Aston Martin now has Aston Martin Heritage. And this division has rolled out a special program just for the DB4, the grand tourer built from 1958 to 1963.
The program is extensive, and Aston Martin certificates of authenticity will definitely help give the cars a boost in value. And with a car like the DB4, a good restoration can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars difference in the price it gets when sold. Because although the DB5 might be more famous, the DB4 was was a bigger leap forward for the company, and since the cars are equally rare, they tend to sell for equally huge amounts of money.
Continue reading to learn more about the Aston Martin DB4.
The DB5 may be one of the most popular Aston Martins, due to its career as James Bond’s personal car, but its predecessor, the DB4, is nothing to sneeze at. It was one of the most beautiful grand tourers back in its heyday and it has evolved into a sought-after classic that commands impressive sums at auctions. The latest DB4 to change owners for a price higher than a modern supercar’s is a Series IV Vantage Convertible built in 1962, only a year before the DB4 was replaced by the DB5. The drop-top sold for £1.5 million (about $2.3 million) at a recent Bonhams sale, making it one of the most expensive DB4s in history.
If you’re wondering what makes this DB4 special, I have three facts for you. First, it’s one of only nine DB4 Series IV Convertibles ever made. Second, it was built in the rare Vantage specification, which came with a more powerful engine. Third, and probably more important to collectors, it was originally owned by Sir Peter Ustinov, the English actor and filmmaker that won the Grammy, the Golden Globe, and the Academy Award, among many others.
This ultra-rare DB4 was delivered to him at the Montreux Palace Hotel in Switzerland in July 1962 with left-hand drive. It was equipped with red Connolly hide trim, overdrive, chrome wire wheels and a detachable hardtop. Initially finished in Desert White, its exterior was repainted Royal Claret in 1979. The DB4 was also owned by famous racing driver David Piper in the 1980s.
Continue reading for the full story.
Aston Martin is not a company that is typically known for its prewar cars. It enjoyed some motorsports success, but nothing like that of Alfa Romeo or Bugatti, and neither could it match the engineering prowess and niche-defining luxury of Cadillac. But that’s exactly what makes cars like this 1937 15/98 Long Chassis Tourer such a good bargain; you aren’t paying millions of extra dollars just for the badge. The company was beset by financial problems (surprise!) before WWII, and it was in 1935 that a new range of cars with a broader consumer appeal debuted.
Though this 15/98 was part of the new consumer push and Aston Martin’s first luxury four-seat car, only 24 units were produced before the outbreak of WWII. The car is actually closely related to a slightly earlier racing model, and like a lot of these kinds of prewar cars, has been used both as a road car and a race car. It sat in storage for several decades after that, before eventually being purchased and restored by the current owner, and it is now going up for auction by Silverstone Auctions.
Continue reading to learn more about the 1937 Aston Martin 15/98 2L Long Chassis Tourer.
Ask a modern-day teenager about what car he would like to own and the answer will most likely include names such as the Ferrari LaFerrari and the McLaren P1. And 10 years ago it would’ve have probably been the Bugatti Veyron and the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. But as this new video from Petrolicious comes to prove, not all teenagers are hooked on outrageous hypercars. Paul Kitchen, one of the two main characters of this footage, started his life as a car owner by driving a 1977 Aston Martin V8. Not as much as driving as having it towed, but he enjoyed some wheel time until the car, which wasn’t in its best shape to begin with, caught fire one day.
As the years passed, Paul and his gearhead dad, Jonathan, restored the V8 to its original condition, while changing its color from purple to silver and dressing the interior in red leather, as to resemble an example he saw (and couldn’t afford at the time) at a dealership. There’s no doubt classic Aston Martins are as cool as they get, but what makes this video that much more interesting is the father-son experience this GT has helped create. Having something to work together on and ultimately sharing a passion for Astons is what makes Paul and Jonathan’s one happy family.
For the uninitiated, the V8 was introduced in 1969 as a replacement for the Aston Martin DBS. Production lasted until 1989, when Aston Martin launched the Virage. Hit play for more info and a touching father-son story.
The last original Aston Martin DBS to come off the production line in 1972 has been found in a barn England and will be auctioned by COYS in London, on March 10th. Discovered by Chris Routledge, the Managing Partner of the auction house, the DBS has been sitting in a barn in Surrey since 1980 and is in dire need of a thorough restoration. Although it will be sold in its current state, the vehicle is expected to fetch between £25,000 to £40,000, especially since it’s one of only 787 units built.
"This is the ultimate barn find and an important part of Aston Martin’s history. It has been sitting in a barn since 1980 and now needs to be brought back to its former glory. The windows are broken, the interior trim is missing and it’s rusty, but it’s all there and there has been huge interest from collectors around the world," Routledge said in a statement.
Until it goes under the hammer, the car will be displayed by Aston Martin Mayfair at Aston Martin W-One, Brook House, 113 Park Lane, Mayfair, London. The auction takes place during the COYS "Spring Classics" auction at the Royal Horticultural Society.
Continue reading to learn more about the Aston Martin DBS.
There was a well-established manufacturer half a decade before Aston Martin known as Lagonda. With some early success, Lagonda became quite famous in its time till the consequences of World War II caused major struggle to the manufacturer. In 1947, Aston Martin took possession of Lagonda and reserved the name of limited number, ultra-luxurious sedans.
Aston Martin resurrected the hibernating Lagonda name in 1974 at London Motor Show by announcing the “Aston Martin Lagonda V8”, of which only seven units were made. The new model revived name received a humdrum response from the market and Aston Martin went back to drawing board with William Tomas. In 1976, Aston Martin lifted the curtains from a striking new concept model which surged the popularity of the Lagonda brand in quick succession. Its redesigned Lagonda received a wild response and orders piled in. With demands breaking through the roof and production rate limited to only one per week, Aston Martin rolled out the first production model in 1979 and three years later, the car finally got cleared for sale in USA.
To make the exceptional design possible Aston Martin’s engineer pushed the V-8 engine as far back as possible and even then more room was required to make the mechanism work. The engineers hatched a new intake system to compensate the space, which restricted the engine output. Tackling the issue, Aston Martin installed larger intake valves after mending the engine’s cylinder walls to meet the expected power delivery.
Aston Martin launched the Lagonda Series 3 in 1986 at New York Motor Show and the Series 4 was unveiled in all-new form in 1986.
Images via Flickr.
Click past the jump to read more about the 1976-1989 Aston Martin Lagonda.
Aston Martin was founded in 1913 by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford, and 2013 marked the company’s 100th anniversary. Even though 2013 is already passed it looks like Aston Martin is continuing its celebration with the unveiling of a new video specially developed for the centenary. This video sums up an unrivaled 12 months of activity and reminds us once again that the British sports car maker is one of the world’s most admired, and desired, brands.
2013 brought Aston Martin’s cars from Henniker Mews to Dubai, Nürburgring to Kensington, Goodwood to Pebble Beach, so pretty much everyone around the globe had the chance to see the Aston Martin sports cars in action, but also to admire then at numerous exhibitions and shows.
This video brings together sports cars from classic roadsters to track winners, cars driven by James Bond and up to the latest Rapide S luxury sedan.