James Bond’s one true love has always been his Aston Martin DB5. Sure, 007 had a holiday fling with an Alpine Sunbeam in Dr. No, but we knew it wouldn’t last - it was a rental car after all. Bond’s reliable Bentley never let him down, but 007 didn’t look back after Q unveiled the 1963 Silver Birch Aston Martin DB5 with ‘some rather interesting modifications’ in Goldfinger (1964).
Bond: “Ejector seat? You’re joking.”
Q: “I never joke about my work 007.”
The Goldfinger DB5 - the first gadget-car driven by Sean Connery - disappeared from a Florida airport hangar in 1997 in a mysterious heist that is the basis of SPYSCAPE’s new podcast series The Great James Bond Car Robbery. The eight-part series invites listeners on a mission to locate the stolen DB5, with a reward of $100,000 should the car be successfully found.
To mark the launch of The Great James Bond Car Robbery, SPYSCAPE takes a drive down memory lane, unveiling the secrets of Bond’s most iconic DB5s.
More than half a century after Q unveiled the souped-up spy car, the DB5 remains the most recognizable, beloved automobile in the film franchise, appearing in no less than eight of the 25 Bond movies from Sean Connery’s Goldfinger to Pierce Brosnan’s GoldenEye, and Daniel Craig’s No Time to Die.
Bond isn’t the only one who fell for 007’s sleek curves. Fans love the DB5’s armrest control center which can spray nails, pump out an oil slick, or unleash a smokescreen. Four DB5s were created but only one DB5 had Browning machine guns, bullet-proof windows, revolving license plates, and 007’s ejector seat. Bond’s car was so loaded down a second, lighter DB5 was needed for driving scenes. Two more were used for publicity. The whereabouts of the original DB5, stolen in 1997, is shrouded in mystery. Who’s behind the heist? Where is the DB5? And how does a world-famous car just disappear from a guarded airport hangar? The Great James Bond Car Robbery follows the twists and turns through the eight-part series.
The DB5 is back as Connery’s co-star in Thunderball with the addition of a jetpack in the trunk and rear-firing water cannons to help 007 on his mission to find two atomic bombs stolen by Spectre. There were reportedly two backup DB5s ordered during production at a cost of $62,500 - more than five times the list price of a standard DB5 in the 1960s. In 2019, one of the DB5 publicity cars from Thunderball was sold for a cracking $6.4m. After the auction, Connery fondly remembered the tire slashers and said he liked the DB5 so much he’d recently bought one for himself.
At SPYSCAPE we are such fans of the DB5 that we’ve set up Q’s workshop at our New York HQ, featuring the 1965 Aston Martin DB5 memorably driven by 007 (Pierce Brosnan) in a cat-and-mouse chase scene with Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen) in her Ferrari F355. The exhilarating three-minute-long race is set above the hills of Monaco. Bond's personal vehicle is equipped with a champagne cooler in the armrest and a fax machine.
SPYSCAPE bought the coveted GoldenEye DB5 in 2018. When it was auctioned in 2001 this iconic vehicle entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the most valuable piece of Bond memorabilia ever sold.
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
The DB5 briefly reappears in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it ride through London as 007 heads in for a briefing. The classic car was supposed to have a cameo in The World Is Not Enough (1999) as well, but - like some unlucky stars - most of the DB5’s scenes were cut in the editing room.
Casino Royale (2006)
A new DB5 appeared in Casino Royale, although Bond wasn’t in the driver’s seat. Alex Dimitrios, a government contractor and associate of Quantum financier Le Chiffre, owned the DB5 but lost it to Bond in a poker game at the Bahamas One & Only Club. Unlike the franchise’s other DBSs, the car has Bahamian number plates and a left-hand drive (the British versions had a right-hand drive).
In SkyFall, Bond drives M to his childhood home in Scotland, one of the most memorable scenes in the movie. Director Sam Mendes - who owned a replica DB5 as a child and repeatedly lost the little man that popped out of the ejector seat - said the film is very much about the old and the new. He deliberately designed the Scotland driving scene to appear as if it could have taken place in 1962. Scotland has many links to Ian Fleming's 007 series of novels and films and Skyfall is the fourth time Scotland’s landscapes have appeared in a Bond thriller.
Spectre follows 007 on a mission to Mexico City and Rome where his Aston Martin DB10 chases a Jaguar C-X75 along the banks of the Tiber. Only 10 DB10s were built by Aston Martin at its HQ in Gaydon, England. The DB5 isn’t obsolete in Spectre, however. It is simply undergoing a refit as the DB5 had a difficult trip to Scotland. Q restores the DB5 for Bond, and Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) seems to enjoy the smooth ride.
No Time To Die (2021, TBC)
The trailer for No Time To Die shows both Craig and his DB5 on the offensive. The Silver Birch car is sporting an Italian registration plate and a couple of mini-guns behind the front headlights. Can a death-defying car chase through the streets of southern Italy be far behind? The world has moved on, but some things - like the classic lines of 007’s Aston Martin DB5 - need no improvement.