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Lot 209: Aston Martin DB5 Convertible

Aston Martin and Lagonda Motor Cars, Bonhams (19 May 2012)

'More and more cars today reach the magical "ton" but those which can do it with the same ease and rapidity of the Aston can be counted on the fingers of one hand. High-speed stability and safety is not cheap to engineer, and with few people to pay the price, production costs are never reduced by the quantity of the work. The DB5 therefore fills a unique corner of the market, a corner at the top end both in the way it performs and the price one pays for the privilege.' Autocar, 18th September 1964. 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engine was still an all-alloy twin-overhead-camshaft 'six' but the old W O Bentley-designed 3.0-litre unit had been superseded by a new design by Tadek Marek.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. 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 23 convertibles and 12 shooting brakes. An automatic transmission model, '734 JGY' was first owned by Mr Roy James McAuliffe and was acquired by the current vendors from a dealership in Sheffield, possibly Spinning Wheel, in 1978, at which time the odometer reading stood at approximately 7,500 miles. In the 33 years since then the Aston has travelled around 13,500 miles, averaging approximately 200 miles annually over the last 10 years. This recently reduced usage came about because, being owned by a company, the car became too valuable to be driven regularly by any employee as it would have had to appear as a benefit on their tax return! It is this that has led to the vendors' pride and joy being put up for sale. In fact on the occasions when the DB5 Convertible was used for business purposes it proved the most reliable of all the company's cars, always starting at first time of asking and proving very responsive. This excellent performance could well be because the car underwent a complete engine overhaul in 1993 at Aston Service Dorset in Wimbourne, since when it has covered approximately 5,000 miles as evidenced by expired MoT certificates on file. The body also was refurbished in 1993, receiving new weather seals to the windscreen and window glass channels, new window motors, new replacement bumper, re-chromed brightwork and a new hood. Since then the DB5 has been serviced regularly in the vendors' own facility. Regrettably, documented history is sparse, as it was company policy to dispose of most records, including all invoices relating to motor vehicles, after six years. Finished in its original colour scheme of red with beige leather interior, '734 JGY' has not been exhibited at any competitions or concours events and remains very much a hidden gem, having been in the current ownership for such a long time, seeing relatively little use. Supremely elegant and highly desirable, this rare DB5 Convertible is described as in excellent road going condition and offered with current MoT/tax and Swansea V5 document. A Broquet 'fuel catalyst' is the only notified deviation from factory specification.

Lot Details
Auction Aston Martin and Lagonda Motor Cars
Bonhams, Newport Pagnell, Aston Martin Works Service
Lot Number209
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£435000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£488700
Condition rating1
Registration number734 JGY
Chassis numberDB5C/1269/R
Engine number400/1341
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2