Wednesday, 26 May 2010

007's Aston Martin DB5



James Bond has driven a number of interesting vehicles over the years - Galaxie 500, Alfa GTV6, Esprit Turbo, Routemaster bus - but the DB5 is generally the one that springs to mind as the archetypal 007 car.

So, beyond the timelessly beautiful coachwork and 4.0-litre straight-six, what extras did James get that weren't available to the average mid-sixties punter?
For starters, there was the ejector seat. Controlled by a knob atop the gear lever, it fired the occupant of the passenger seat out of the roof. Handy if you have a passenger who won't stop fiddling with the radio, but embarrassing if you accidentally launch Moneypenny into a hedge on the way to the office.
Twin machine guns appeared from behind the sidelights, creating some confusion about how the lights themselves worked. (And where the guns retracted to.) A bulletproof shield raised at the rear, in case you were being followed by an angry person in a DB5 of identical spec - hey, you never know - although it didn't do the obvious thing of blocking the tyres. Still, they wouldn't be following you for long once you'd deployed the oil spray thingy.
Handily, the wheel-spinners extended outwards and cut to shreds any irritant that may have been alongside you - Bond demonstrated its effectiveness on a naughty Mustang, although you could also use it for trimming an unruly verge.

The most useful addition by far is the revolving number plate. A simple but effective means of foxing ANPR cameras, that.

















This car is actually one of four James Bond DB5s. It's a little complex, but here's the story in a nutshell:

The car in these pics is body no. DB5/2008/R, one of a pair bought by Eon along with DB5/2017/R . They were both kitted out with all the extras, but were show cars rather than being used in any actual films.
The show cars travelled around the States on a promo tour - there was also an effects car and a road car.

The effects car - no. DP/216/1 - was the one with all the gizmos that was filmed in close-up detail shots for Goldfinger. It was apparently stolen from a Florida warehouse in the nineties and nobody seems to know where it is now. This was the car originally registered BMT 216A, the famous Bond number plate that reappeared in Goldeneye.
This car - a protoype (hence the DP chassis number) that was road-tested by various mags and journos before being prepped for filming - cost £25k to build, at a time when a new DB5 was £5k-ish. It was only ever on loan, and once returned to Aston was converted back to standard spec. It was then sold onto an unwitting punter under reg. no. 6633 PP, while BMT 216A was transferred to the other show car (i.e. not the one pictured above).

The fourth car? That was originally registered FMP 7B, having BMT 216A fitted for filming. It was the road car that Sean Connery drove in Goldfinger and Thunderball, which had no gadgets fitted. However, all of the gizmos were fitted to it retrospectively prior to it being sold to an American named Jerry Lee, who's owned it since 1969.

So there you go.

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