1965 Aston Martin DB5 Vantage Convertible Registration no. VDB 5 Chassis no. DB5C/2118/R Engine no. 400/2370/V
'Like all classic GT cars, it combines enormous speed with comfort and the more you put into your driving, the more the car returns for your entertainment. And the DB5 really is entertaining to anyone who can exploit its outstanding performance, handling and brakes. It will also carry four people (just) and a fair amount of luggage so the merits of family transport (if need be) have not been entirely sacrificed to speed and elegant looks.' Motor. Aston Martin's post-war evolution took a giant step forward with the launch of the DB4 in 1958. Classically proportioned, the Touring-designed body established an instantly recognisable look that would stand the marque in good stead until 1970. The engine was still an all-alloy twin-overhead-camshaft 'six' but the old W O Bentley-designed 3.0-litre unit had been superseded by a new design by Tadek Marek. Proven in racing before it entered production in the DB4, the new 3,670cc engine featured 'square' bore and stroke dimensions of 92x92mm and developed its maximum power of 240bhp at 5,500rpm. The David Brown gearbox was a new four-speed all-synchromesh unit. Touring's Superleggera body construction, which employed a lightweight tubular structure to support the aluminium-alloy body panels, was deemed incompatible with the DB2/4-type multi-tubular spaceframe, so engineer Harold Beach drew up an immensely-strong platform-type chassis. Independent front suspension was retained, the DB2/4's trailing links giving way to unequal-length wishbones, while at the rear the DB4 sported a live axle located by a Watts linkage instead of its predecessor's Panhard rod. Five series were built as the model gradually metamorphosed into the DB5, which thus represented a further evolution of the DB4 rather than the beginning of an entirely new model line. Introduced in July 1963, the Aston Martin DB5 boasted a 4.0-litre engine, this enlarged unit having been seen first in the Lagonda Rapide of 1961. Equipped with three SU carburettors, the '400' engine produced 282bhp at 5,500rpm and was mated to a four-speed/overdrive gearbox, a 'proper' ZF five-speed unit being standardised later. Outwardly there was little to distinguish the DB5 from the final Series 5 DB4 apart from twin fuel filler caps, though these had already appeared on some cars. Beneath the skin however, there were numerous improvements including alternator electrics, Girling disc brakes instead of Dunlops, Sundym glass, electric windows and an oil pressure gauge as standard equipment. From September 1964 the 314bhp, triple-Weber Vantage engine became available and was fitted to a total of 95 cars. The DB5 was also offered in convertible form (the 'Volante' name would not be applied to the soft-top Aston until the DB6's arrival) while independent coachbuilder Harold Radford offered a shooting brake conversion. 1,021 DB5s were manufactured between July 1963 and September 1965, a total that included 23 convertibles and 12 shooting brakes. One of only a tiny handful originally built with the Vantage engine, this ultra-rare DB5 convertible was purchased by the present owner in 1992 from Paradise Garage, London. Three previous owners are recorded, the immediately preceding being a George Goddard, of Iver, Buckinghamshire. On acquisition the DB5 was collected by Aston Martin Works Service and over the course of the next two years a complete 'last nut and bolt' restoration was carried out at Newport Pagnell. Returned annually to Works Service for servicing and MoT testing, the car was used sparingly over the years until 2004 when another 'body-off' restoration was completed by Aston Service Hamburg, including a full engine rebuild to 'lead-free' specification. The bumpers were re-chromed during the process but the interior, which had been restored by Works Service in 1994, was left untouched. The convertible hood, Borrani wire wheels and correct Michelin tyres are among new parts fitted, while a concealed FM radio and speakers, rear centre armrest, chromed hood frame and grey flannel headlining are the only notified deviations from factory specification. A credit to its restorers, the car was a worthy invitee to the prestigious Villa d'Este Concours d'Elegance in 2009. The car retains its original registration 'VDB 5' and is offered with current road fund licence, MoT to September 2010 and Swansea V5. There are bills on file relating to the 1990s restoration at Works Service totalling £55,000, plus various invoices for maintenance works over the period 2000-2003 from Aston Service Hamburg and others totalling circa 36,000 (approximately £29,700) for the 2004 rebuild. Fewer than 3,000 miles have been covered since the latter's completion and the car is presented in superb condition throughout, starting first time 'on the button', displaying regulation oil pressure and driving without fault. Indeed, the enthusiast vendor says that he would willingly sell the Aston to his best friend, such is his confidence in it. What higher recommendation can there be?