1964 Aston Martin DB5 – The Original Airfix DB5

  • 1964 Aston Martin DB5
  • Used as the basis for the Airfix DB5
  • Previously owned by Aston specialist Andy Chapman
  • Extensive history file

This beautifully presented Aston Martin DB5 is chassis number 1577/R. First delivered on 28 May 1964, its guarantee was issued on 2 June and non-standard equipment included a 3.77 Powr-Lok rear axle, Motorola radio, twin Marchal foglamps, chrome wheels, a heated rear screen and three-ear wheel spinners.

The DB5 was registered ADA 222B, which it still wears today, and was delivered to its first owner – a Mr R Hampton of the Union Steel Manufacturing Co in Wolverhampton. Its service record shows that it was cared for by the Aston Martin factory until 1970. After that, it was serviced by Aston Distributors Limited at Perry Barr until 1975 and then Chapman Spooner Limited until the mid-1980s.

Andy Chapman – a lifelong marque specialist who had joined Aston Martin in the early 1960s before setting up Chapman Spooner – personally owned this car for a short period. Then, during the late 1980s, it was displayed at the Midland Motor Museum, which was run by Bob Roberts and Michael Barker. Over the years, everything from a Ferrari 250 GTO and 250 LM to an Aston Martin DB3S and Roberts’ own Bugatti Type 43 would be displayed there.

In the mid-1990s, Chapman inspected the DB5 for a prospective new owner and wrote that, ‘I would consider the car to be in the top 10 per cent for this model’. It is a well-known example that was used by Airfix to represent its scale model of the DB5 – an unmade, boxed kit is included with the car and shows ADA 222B on the back of the box.

The Airfix DB5 also pictured in the book Aston Martin – The Legend and appears on the cover of The Ultimate History of Aston Martin DVD. A copy of the latter is also included.

In recent years, the Airfix DB5 has been looked after at its spiritual home of Aston Martin Works in Newport Pagnell and all invoices are part of the history file. Its original instruction book is included, too.

Now being offered for sale by The Classic Motor Hub, this Aston Martin DB5 left the factory in Goodwood Green with Beige trim, and currently looks resplendent in Florida Blue Metallic. It’s a superb example of this enduring 1960s grand tourer and boasts a fascinating history.

Model history

The Aston Martin DB5 was launched at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show and replaced the ground-breaking DB4. The latter had marked the beginning of a new era for the British marque when it had been introduced five years earlier. John Wyer was dissatisfied with the styling of an initial 1956 prototype for the proposed ‘next generation’ of Aston Martin, and insisted that the company should turn to an Italian design house.

A deal was done with Touring of Milan – from which Aston Martin also licensed the Superleggera method of lightweight construction. Touring’s attractive, flowing shape was fitted around a new twin-cam, six-cylinder engine that had been designed by Tadek Marek.

For the DB5, the engine was bored-out from 3670cc to 3995cc, and very early in production a five-speed gearbox replaced the old four-speeder. On the standard triple SU carburettors, power output was 282bhp, with the Vantage model kicking out 314bhp on triple Webers.

When Autocar tested this latest model in September 1964, it concluded that, ‘It is a car which cries out to be driven, to be driven well, and to be driven far… It is a car requiring skill and muscle which challenges and satisfies and always excites.’

The magazine recorded a top speed of 142mph and a 0-60mph time of 8.1 seconds, and noted how easily and comfortably the DB5 would cruise at speeds in excess of 100mph.

Aston Martin built 125 convertibles, and Harold Radford produced a tiny quantity of ‘shooting brakes’, but the vast majority of DB5s were coupés. The model was replaced by the extended-wheelbase DB6 in 1965, meaning that it was in production for only two years, but it remains one of the most instantly recognisable cars ever built thanks to its iconic role in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger.

Even at a distance of almost 60 years, that blend of Italian styling, British engineering and film-star charisma is as alluring as ever.

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