16-17 January 2014

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Lot 15

1965 Aston Martin DB5

  • Chassis no. DB5/1965/R
  • Engine no. 400/1951

Sold for $550,000

282 hp, 3,995 cc dual overhead-cam inline six-cylinder engine, triple SU carburetors, five-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle suspension with coil springs and Selectaride dampers, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 98 in.

  • Documented three owners from new; current ownership since 1977
  • Comprehensive restoration completed in 2007, with charming original interior
  • Matching numbers
  • Aston Martin’s most iconic model

It is near impossible to mention a DB5 finished in Silver Birch without associating it with the secret agent that found himself behind the wheel of one in the 1964 film Goldfinger. Little did Aston Martin know at the time that that vehicle would be forever linked with 007 and his exploits, and, in the process, the DB5 is considered by many as “The Most Famous Car in the World.” It would make many return appearances in future James Bond films, including another star turn in the most recent of the series, the highly-acclaimed Skyfall. In the real world, DB5s are adored by those who’ve ever had the privilege of taking one for a drive for their elegant style, race-bred performance, luxurious interior, and English sporting character.

Introduced in the fall of 1963, the DB5 evolved from the development of five different iterations of the world-beating DB4. With an increase in displacement to 4.0 liters, this became a new model, showcasing nearly 170 modifications that improved it over the final version of its predecessor. For the first time, the frontal appearance of the DB5 evoked the potent DB4GT with faired-in headlights, and it also boasted triple carburetors as standard.

With this latest and final maturation of its all-alloy, twin-camshaft, six-cylinder engine, the DB5 was able to produce 282 horsepower and was capable of a 0–60 run in 8.1 seconds and a top speed of 141 mph. After the first 50 cars came off the assembly line, the DB5 received a five-speed manual gearbox that was provided by ZF, which allowed for more comfortable high-speed cruising. Additionally, the DB5 boasted 40 foot-pounds more torque than the DB4, generating a more effortless experience.

This 1965 example was acquired in the UK by its current American owner. While living in the town of Walton-on-Thames, he had developed a taste for British sports cars of the 1960s. Upon browsing the inventory at H.W. Motors, the local Aston Martin dealership, he came across a Silver Birch Aston Martin DB5 that had just been sold, and he decided that this was the car for him. However, since that particular car was already spoken for, he told the dealership to call him if an example in the same color became available. Time marched on, and in 1977, he had made plans to return to the United States. The day before the move took place, H.W. Motors called with a 1965 Aston Martin that was finished in Silver Birch with a red leather interior in stock; it was one that they had sold new. He purchased the car on the spot, becoming its third owner, and it was agreed that the dealership would organize logistics to ship the car across the Atlantic.

Upon arriving in the United States through the port of Miami, the car was shipped to the greater Chicago area, where it would reside for the next 35-plus years. The owner drove this car about 100 miles during each year of his ownership to local car shows, where the DB5 was always well received, or sometimes for a quick drive to enjoy the Aston Martin’s beautiful craftsmanship, engineering, and driving dynamics. Throughout this time, it was always lovingly maintained, and he made sure that it was regularly exercised in order to keep it in top-notch driving condition.

A full mechanical and exterior restoration was undertaken on this DB5, starting in 2003, by the British car specialist Bernie Behrens, of International Classics in Skokie, Illinois. This restoration was documented by photographs, and no detail was overlooked, as the car was taken down to its frame, brought back to its former glory, and new tires and wire wheels were installed. The original matching-numbers engine was removed and completely rebuilt. New pistons, rings, and valves were installed, the valve seats were hardened to run on lead-free gasoline without any additives, and the original SU carburetors were renewed. The crankshaft was re-machined and installed, along with new bearings. Posemato’s Bodyworks and Restoration, of Gurnee, Illinois, refurbished all of the body panels, as necessary, and there the DB5 received a high-quality repaint in its original Silver Birch.

The interior of the car and its red Connolly leather remains in entirely original condition, with a charming level of patina requisite for a car of this age, save for the carpet in the driver’s side footwell, which required replacement. When the finished car emerged in 2007, receipts totaled over $90,000 for the restoration, and the results were truly impressive. As an aside, it was International Classics that had the pleasure of regularly servicing the car over the last 18 years, ensuring that they were intimately familiar with the DB5 both before and after the restoration was completed. Its original jack, hammer, owner’s handbook (with missing cover), a tool roll, and other collected materials are included with the sale.

A DB5 is certainly among the most recognizable cars of all time, and one that is still a delight to see on the road. With only 886 built, a DB5 Coupe is a rare car indeed, and it is highly sought-after by aficionados of high-performance GT cars. This is a wonderful example of the breed, with undeniable charisma and distinctly British character. It will surely put a smile on the face of everyone who sees it, either on the show field or the open motorway.


Please note the title is in transit.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more