1964 Aston Martin DB5
Sold for £1,345,500 inc. premium
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First owned by Sir Paul McCartney
1964 Aston Martin DB5 4.2-Litre Sports Saloon
Registration no. 64 MAC
Chassis no. DB5/1653/R
1964 Aston Martin DB5 4.2-Litre Sports Saloon
Registration no. 64 MAC
Chassis no. DB5/1653/R
*Known ownership history
*Formerly owned by Chris Evans
*Professionally restored to concours standard
*Restoration completed 2017
*Circa 2,600 miles since completion
Chassis number '1653/R' was completed at Newport Pagnell on 3rd July 1964 and delivered on 22nd September '64 to Bryce, Hamer & Isherwood, Paul McCartney's accountants at the time. Ordered by McCartney prior to his departure for the Beatles' world tour in the summer of 1964, the DB5 was subsequently registered in the musician's name, and Paul greatly enjoyed driving the car over the following six years. Accompanying paperwork shows the price was £3,800 10s 0d plus Purchase Tax of £793 6s 8d.
The BMIHT certificate on file shows that the Aston was originally finished in Sierra Blue with black interior. It was fitted as standard with the ZF five-speed gearbox, while desirable factory options listed include Armstrong Selectaride rear shock absorbers, Motorola radio, powered aerial, two Marchal fog lamps, chrome road wheels, heated rear window, two Britax safety belts, three-ear hubcaps, and detachable headrests. Unusually, the car was also supplied with a Philips Auto-Mignon record player, the latter seemingly an essential for a professional musician. Reportedly, the original interior leather also featured musical note-styled patterns in the stitching. The BMIHT certificate confirms that the first recorded purchaser was Paul McCartney and that the car was registered 'BYY 379B' (subsequently 'CLX 654B').
Though Paul McCartney later owned an Aston Martin DB6, which has been the subject of extensive media coverage, this lesser known DB5 is believed to be the first Aston owned by the musician. He ordered it at a particularly important career juncture: just weeks after the Beatles' famous appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show and the completion of filming 'A Hard Day's Night', their first film. In a September 1967 profile of Paul McCartney, Time magazine wrote: 'Bachelor Paul, 25 (his favorite "bird" is 21-year old actress Jane Asher) is a movie addict, loves "the look of London" and tools around town in a spiffy blue Aston Martin DB5'.
This DB5 also made an impression on Roger McGuinn, guitarist with the Californian rock band, The Byrds. McGuinn once recalled a concert that his band performed during their 1965 UK tour. Apparently the Beatles were in attendance and, following the show, the two bands spent some time socialising. 'The next night,' recalled Guinn, 'I went to Paul McCartney's club in St James's and he took me out for a drive around London in his Aston Martin DB5. It was a really amazing time.'
Service records indicate that in 1970, when '1653/R' was fitted with a new clutch and received some other minor service work, the odometer reading was 40,513 miles. It is believed that the car first changed hands at around this time when it was sold to Truebell Stationers in Wandsworth, Southwest London. Subsequently, on 12th March 1983, the DB5 was acquired by John Richard Rogers of Ilford. Mr Rogers retained the Aston for 13 years before selling to John Hardy Shannon on 16th July 1996.
In 2002, '1653/R' was sold to a British collector who recognised the Aston's importance and decided that it was deserving of refurbishment. He commissioned Walter Baroni of Corsica, Milan, to carry out an extensive cosmetic restoration that included a bare-metal strip-down and repaint in the car's original colour of Sierra Blue, as well as the installation of a new interior. Upon returning to the UK, the Aston's brakes and the cylinder head were overhauled, courtesy of specialists Headshop Ltd in Wallington, Surrey.
Subsequently, '1635/R' was acquired by broadcaster and motoring enthusiast, Chris Evans, who purchased the car's most appropriate '64 MAC' registration for it. The Aston's next owner purchased the car at auction in 2012 and proceeded to commission a full restoration to concours standard. Accordingly, '1653/R' was despatched to Aston Martin specialists Alan Smith Motors of New Romney, Kent where it arrived still painted Sierra Blue and with a black leather interior.
From the beginning, it was decided that a full 'last nut and bolt' restoration was the only way to restore the Aston to its former glory, and everything would need to be stripped, assessed, and either replaced or overhauled. The first task was to strip everything that could be removed, starting with the interior, engine, gearbox, front and rear suspension, electrical wiring, bonnet, doors, boot, and glass. With the body removed and the sand blasting was completed, it became possible to assess the chassis structure.
The engine, gearbox, and final drive were removed and cleaned, and the engine dismantled. The bell housing and gearbox were then separated. All parts were stripped and checked and replaced where needed. After the hubs and suspension fittings had been removed, the rear axle was cleaned and set aside for reconditioning, as was the ZF five-speed gearbox.
The key objective for the rebuild of '1653/R' was to ensure that the restoration should be to a standard at least as good, if not exceeding, that achieved by the factory when the car was built. Also part of the brief was the requirement that any component not to original specification was to be replaced as a matter of course. It was decided that the Aston Martin would be repainted in the iconic Silver Birch of James Bond DB5 fame, while the interior was to be fully re-trimmed in Mulberry leather.
Alan Smith replaced the sills, outriggers, wheelarches, inner wings, radius arm mounts, doorframes, hinge pins, etc. The chassis was then powder coated. The body was dispatched to a partner company, ShapeCraft Motor Bodies, who replaced the aluminium roof and supplied a new front end and rear lower valance. Back at Alan Smith, the new front end was fitted; the rear end refitted together with new rear valance; and new door skins fabricated. New wing under-shields were installed and the body pre-fitted prior to final painting at Alan Smith Motors. The underside was then stone-chipped and protected.
Meanwhile, the engine was sent to Kent Auto Developments where it was stripped, assessed, and then re-assembled with new pistons and liners, reground crankshaft, and new bearings. Timing chains were replaced and the cylinder head refaced and fitted with new valves and valve springs. Engine capacity was enlarged from 3,995cc to 4,200cc giving a small but useful increase in maximum power and torque: from 282bhp and 280lbs/ft to 315bhp and 305 lbs/ft on a slightly increased compression of 9.1:1. The carburettors were stripped and rebuilt at the same time. Once reassembled, the engine was dynamometer tested to ensure all was within limits. The engine was then ready to be reinstalled, the gearbox and rear axle having already been rebuilt by BPA Engineering.
Brake and fuel lines were then installed, together with the front and rear suspension, hubs, steering linkages, and steering rack. The engine bay was fitted with relays, servos and fuse boxes, and the engine bay wiring loom and main loom installed. The installation of the steering column and linkage followed, and the car was also fitted with new power steering and a Kenlowe electric radiator fan.
At the same time, the interior re-trim commenced with the installation of the new headlining. While all this work was going on, the task of painting, assembling and trimming the dashboard commenced, with each instrument checked for operation. Once completed, the task of installing and connecting the complete new wiring loom could begin, in conjunction with fitting the control pedals, brake and clutch master cylinders, new brake lines, and throttle linkages.
It was then time to reinstall the engine and gearbox using new engine and gearbox mountings bolted securely in place. The transmission cover was now fitted, thus enabling the carpeting of the cabin to commence. Mulberry leather was used throughout for all sears, door trim, and boot with corresponding Mulberry piping, while Mulberry carpets, leather bound, were specified throughout. Expertly undertaken by Michael Wheatley at Elite Coach Trimming Ltd, the re-trim also included a complete refit of all seats with new webbing and padding, and re-chroming of the seat hinges and reclining mechanism. The rare Philips Auto-Mignon record player that was initially specified by Paul McCartney was re-commissioned and is now in working condition.
The final part of the assembly process involved fitting a new stainless steel exhaust system, installing the fuel tank and fuel lines, and fitting the lights and external trim together with other items such as the boot and bonnet liners. Finally the newly trimmed seats were installed. The suspension was then checked for toe-in, camber and castor angles, and any needed adjustments made. After thorough checks of the electrical, cooling, and fuel systems, and the oil levels in the engine and transmission, the engine was ready to be started. Finally, in 2017 after four years of painstaking restoration, the Aston was ready for road testing, and since then has covered circa 2,600 miles.
Presented in truly immaculate condition, '1653/R' comes with copy guarantee form, a V5C registration document; current MoT; invoices relating to its recent restoration; and the aforementioned BMIHT certificate. The full story of its life, celebrity owners, and restoration is also detailed in a beautifully presented full-colour 141-page book (produced by Bespoke Photobooks), a copy of which accompanies the car (inspection recommended).