Aston Martin DB5 – The Car’s the Star

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By Chris Pollitt

Something slightly different for this edition of The Car’s the Star – we’re just looking at one car. Namely the legendary Aston Martin DB5. Yes, James Bond’s vehicle of choice for, quite literally, decades. We were looking through the history of the car and the relationship our favourite spy has with it, and we realised that the car has been in far more Bond movies than some of the actors who played him! Yes, this car might have made its debut in 1964’s Goldfinger, starring the sadly recently departed Sir Sean Connery, but since then it has appeared in many more Bond films. And not just as a passing nod to the Bonds of old. Oh no, the DB5 has, despite getting on in years, still been used for some pretty serious action.

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There are cars that become famous because they were in a movie. That’s not the Aston Martin DB5. We would actually argue that the movies are famous because they have this car in them. You just know it’s going to be a proper Bond flick when you see a DB5 in the trailer. Even now, in 2021, the car is still attacking the bad guys thanks to hidden machines guns and bulletproof glass. The DB5 has of course been sprinkled with more than a little bit of movie magic over the years, but we don’t mind. It all serves to make the DB5 continue to look, sound and perform in an incredible way. Plus, even Aston Martin itself is adding modern flourishes and movie props to a limited run of continuation cars. No other movie car can boast that.

1) Goldfinger – 1964

 

It was 1964’s Goldfinger in which we were first introduced to the Aston Martin DB5. Bond was somewhat put out by this car though, as he was expecting Q Branch to offer up his usual Bentley (as per the books). However, the Aston was a far more modern, and let’s be honest, sexy alternative. This was the car that gave us our first slice of proper Q Branch naughtiness. Q himself enthuses over the features of the car. The wheel shredders, the bulletproof rear shield, the oil slicks, the machines guns and of course, the ejector seat. And we get to see every toy in action, including the ejector seat, which Bond uses to send a henchman skyward. Sadly for Bond though, he was outsmarted by a mirror, and crashed the DB5 through a wall. Whoops.

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2) Goldeneye – 1995

 

In 1995, we were introduced to Brosnan, one of the more questionably cheesy Bonds. There was a lot of hype for this film though, as it was heralded as the return of James Bond after a long hiatus since Timothy Dalton’s take on the character (who, we maintain, was a very, very good Bond). To squeeze as much heritage juice out of the franchise as possible, the DB5 was drafted back in to be used in a ludicrous race against a Ferrari F355. As well we all know, the Fezzza would have wiped the floor with the Aston in the real world. But this isn’t the real world, so the big Brit bruiser stuck with the Italian stallion. Maybe it was fast because it wasn’t laden with spy toys – it’s not the same car as Goldfinger. Look at the registration. It’s BMT214A, not BMT216A.

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3) Casino Royale – 2006

 

After the mess that Brosnan’s legacy left behind (an invisible car? Really?) we were, in 2006, introduced to Daniel Craig’s Bond. A brooding, dark, angsty Bond with little in the way of quips and a lot in the way of killing ability. It was a new, more intense, more serious era for Bond. One that lasts until today. But even so, there needed to be some lighter moments, and there needed to be some cinematic nods to the Bonds of old. As such, the Aston Martin DB5 once again makes an appearance. However, it’s not the DB5. Instead, it’s a car Bond happens to win in a hand of poker, because of course he did. Still, while it was lacking gadgets, it was still a lovely thing to see, if only briefly.

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4) Skyfall – 2012

 

Skyfall is the film that brought the DB5 back properly. This was the real deal, full fat, original BMT216A car. Bond, in the act of trying to protect M from the excitingly haired Silva, needs to go under the radar. A modern car won’t cut it, it needs to be old school. The DB5, then, is the perfect choice. After being sat in storage at Q branch presumable since the ’60s, Bond drives it from London to Scotland without breaking down once. Nor does his spine shatter into a million pieces. Instead, he and M make it to the highlands looking reasonable well rested. Movie magic, you see. The car is later used to take down some henchmen before being cruelly destroyed by a helicopter gunship. Don’t worry though, no real Aston was harmed. It was actually a combination of a scale model, lots of CGI and a Porsche 928 – same wheelbase, you see.

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5) No Time to Die – 2021

 

While we are yet to see the final Bond film, because, um, it’s not out yet. We have seen the trailer. About thirty-seven times, actually. We’re excited for this film. And not least because of the Aston content. In the trailer, we see the car sliding and screaming through, we think, Italy. It seems to take a bit of a battering in the trailer, but it never stops fighting. We see the machine guns, we see the bulletproof stuff and we even see James do a few doughnuts while unloading a lot of ammunition at his assailants as he spins around. Interestingly, a few ‘Astons’ were used for the film, but they were merely very good replicas. For the hard driving required, these replicas were in fact based on BMW M3 models. Now that’s serious movie magic.

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