I’ve just stepped out of a car in which it feels more important to look backwards than forwards. It’s the first of a series of near-perfect recreations of the famous Aston Martin DB5 driven by Sean Connery’s Bond in the 1964 film Goldfinger, and driving it induces paranoia about being tailed.
It’s comforting, then, to know that flying bullets could be deflected by deploying the retractable, boot-mounted shield. If the pursuing villains are still proving too persistent, a blast from the on-board smoke machine should make their eyes sufficiently watery to send them off the road – perhaps with a little help from the bumper-mounted battering rams.
The DB5 really is true to the original movie car in almost every detail, right down to its revolving number plates, (false) front-mounted machine guns, under-seat weapons tray and flip-top gear knob giving instant access to that tempting ejector-seat button. For the sort of safety reasons that 007 would despise, there's no “live” seat in the recreation – although a pop-out roof panel has been included on the passenger side. And if you feel the need to check in with M, pick up the Bakelite receiver from the door pocket, complete with coiled cable. It links to the driver’s smartphone via Bluetooth, so there’s no chance of crackling on the line.
Even the console-mounted scanner that Bond used to track the progress of Auric Goldfinger’s bullion-laden Rolls-Royce across France has been reproduced, this time concealing a simple GPS.
Aston Martin worked with Bond special effects guru Chris Corbould to develop the Q Branch gadgets, and they really do make it feel as though one is behind the wheel of 007’s celebrated motor – but perhaps more impressive is that the car is a brand-new, millimetre-perfect recreation of a model that was last built in 1965. Engineers at Aston Martin Works laser-measured original DB5s – just 898 of which were made – in order to get the proportions of the continuation cars exactly right. All 25 due to be produced will be finished in the correct Silver Birch paintwork and feature newly made engines, gearboxes, brakes and suspension, with only a few minor, mostly invisible, upgrades to make them easier to live with in the modern world.
After the original appearance in Goldfinger, the Silver Birch DB5 (ostensibly the same one, in reality several different cars) featured in Thunderball (1965), GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), Casino Royale (2006), Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015). Two DB5s appeared in the Goldfinger and Thunderball films, one of which was stolen in 1997 and has never been found. The other sold at auction in 2010 for $4.6m. (Two further cars were used for publicity. One belongs to the Louwman Museum in The Hague, while the other was sold at auction last year for nearly $6.4m.)
The 25 continuation Bond DB5s have been priced at £2.75m plus tax and, according to Aston Martin, only a few order slots remain. Because of its special refinements, the car isn’t actually road-legal, but you can take it to a track to experience the thrill of the chase – and, despite the added weight of the gadgetry, with a top speed of 148mph, it’ll still go like the clappers.
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