The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R

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Lot 229
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,
1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible
Registration no. DPH 5B Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R

£ 1,300,000 - 1,700,000
US$ 1,800,000 - 2,300,000
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,
1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible
Registration no. DPH 5B
Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
*One of 85 right-hand drive DB5 convertibles
*ZF five-speed gearbox
*Known ownership history
*Well known and well documented

Footnotes

  • Aston Martins have attracted 'A-list' celebrity owners since the marque's earliest days, yet few can enjoy such an exalted provenance as this fabulous DB5 Convertible: first owned by actor and comedy legend Peter Sellers, it passed from him to society photographer and husband of HRH Princess Margaret, the Earl of Snowdon, and then to the Earl's son, Viscount Linley.

    Introduced in 1963, the DB5 was a development of the preceding DB4 that had represented such a giant step forward in Aston Martin's post-war evolution on its arrival in 1958. Classically proportioned, the Touring-designed body established an instantly recognisable look that would stand the marque in good stead until 1970. The DB4's engine was still an all-alloy twin-overhead-camshaft 'six' but the old 3.0-litre unit of Lagonda origin had been superseded by a new design by Tadek Marek.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. The latter's distinctive cowled headlamps had first appeared on the DB4GT and the newcomer was the same size as the lengthened Series V DB4. The DB5's 3,995cc engine, first seen in the Lagonda Rapide, produced 282bhp and was mated to a four-speed, overdrive-equipped gearbox, a 'proper' ZF five-speed unit being standardised later. Other improvements included alternator electrics, Girling disc brakes instead of Dunlops, Sundym glass, electric windows, and an oil pressure gauge as standard equipment. 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 a mere 123 convertibles and 12 shooting brakes.

    This rare DB5 convertible was sold new to Peter Sellers via H W Motors Ltd and delivered to him on 21st July 1964. Sellers was a prolific collector of motor cars – it is estimated that he owned more than 120 during his lifetime – and the DB5 was not the actor's first Aston Martin, as he had previously owned a DB4GT. The guarantee form copy records Sellers' address as 37 Panton Street, London SW1 and lists chrome road wheels and a Motorola radio with power operated aerial as items of non-standard equipment. The Aston left the Newport Pagnell factory finished in Caribbean Pearl with dark blue Connolly leather trim and matching Everflex hood, and was first registered as 'DPH 5B'.

    Born into a theatrical family, Peter Sellers first came to fame during the 1950s performing in BBC radio's The Goon Show together with Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe and Michael Bentine. By the time he bought the DB5 in 1964, Sellers had become one of the world's highest-paid movie stars (reputedly earning a then astronomical £1 million per film) and that same year completed filming Stanley Kubrick's Dr Strangelove, in which he memorably played three different roles.

    Sellers was notorious for frequently changing his car collection and so it would not have been difficult for his friend the Earl of Snowdon, who had admired the DB5, to persuade the actor to sell it to him in the late 1960s. Sellers would go on to become a firm friend of the Earl and his wife, HRH Princess Margaret. Often reproduced, there is a famous picture of the family in the top-down DB5, the Earl of Snowdon at the wheel and Princess Margaret beside him, with their children David (then Viscount Linley) and his sister Sarah (now Lady Chatto) in the back seat.

    The former Viscount Linley (the 2nd Earl of Snowdon) recalled that during family journeys: "We always had the windows down so my mother could smoke her cigarettes." To the young Viscount, the DB5 was of course a symbol of the cinematic James Bond, driven by actor Sean Connery on the silver screen. "I had the Corgi car, and my father had the real thing. It even had a special gadget – the very first car phone in Britain. It worked a bit like a walkie-talkie; you clicked a button twice and got through to the exchange."

    During his custodianship, the Earl drove the DB5 to Prague, although he was a more familiar sight cruising around Chelsea, Mayfair and Soho. Word has it that the DB5's boot was used to smuggle Lady Jacqueline Rufus Isaacs, daughter of the Marquis and Marchioness of Reading, away from the family's country house when the Princess returned home unexpectedly one evening...
    In November 1985 Lord Snowdon passed the Aston on to his son as a 25th birthday present. Viscount Linley, now the 2nd Earl of Snowdon, has many vivid memories of the car, in particular its tendency to overheat.

    Interviewed for the Sunday Times Magazine (14th January 2021 edition) he recalled: "I had quite an exciting upbringing staring at temperature gauges waiting for the car to boil over." By the time he was gifted the DB5 it had already spent a few years on display at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu: "...my father advised me it might be a good idea to leave it there. It needed careful maintenance and it wasn't getting any more reliable. But I was 25, and living in London. The car didn't stay in the museum!"

    To better cope with the dense, slow moving London traffic, Viscount Linley fitted a series of heat-deflecting panels in the foot wells. He even drove the car to Italy. The DB5 was maintained and rebuilt several times by Aston Martin Works Service, where it would be parked next to the DB6 belonging to HRH The Prince of Wales. However, after more than 30 years of family ownership, the DB5 was sold by the 2nd Earl, as "the pain and pleasure of owning a classic vehicle mounted up". He has regretted selling the DB5 since he parted with it in 1999.

    The Aston's purchaser in 1999 was Mr Warren Michael Woods of Sussex, who appears to have kept the car until at least 2012, there being an Aston Martin Works invoice on file issued to him on 19/06/2012 for various works costing £4,989. The car also comes with its original handbook and will be freshly serviced and MoT'd for the sale by Michael Hibberd, Slough.

    Having been in the present cherished ownership for some eight years, this car has helped raise (literally) millions of pounds for UK children's charities, via countless tours and appearances. In particular, it has been campaigned on the 'Famous Five' and 'Magnificent Seven' drives raising funds for the BBC's Children in Need charity.

    If ever a car defined an era, this DB5 surely did. Not only was it one of the most desirable thoroughbred sports cars of its day but it has an extraordinary provenance, having been owned by the crème de la crème of 1960s high society.
Contacts
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
The ex-Peter Sellers, The Earl of Snowdon/HRH Princess Margaret, Viscount Linley,,1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible  Chassis no. DB5C/1512/R
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