The DB5 Goldfinger Continuation is an exact replica of James Bond’s 1964 screen car, including working gadgets. It’s not road-legal, however
Imagine the scene. Guests gathered in a baronial dining hall, a Beluga caviar first course washed down with Dom Perignon, then a curtain theatrically swept back to reveal your new motor – an Aston Martin DB5 in full James Bond livery.
The 007 theme tune strikes up, your leading lady hands over a remote control box and suddenly all hell breaks loose, scaring the bejesus out of fellow diners, left thoroughly shaken and stirred in equal measure.
This is no ordinary Aston Martin, of course. The DB5 Goldfinger Continuation is the ultimate big boy’s toy, fully loaded with all the famous gizmos and gadgets employed to good effect by Bond in numerous film outings, including fire-spitting machine guns, smoke dispenser and lethal tyre slashers.
The only problem for those hoping to star in a villainous Bond-like chase scene of their own is that this DB5 comes with one caveat – it cannot be driven on the road, for obvious health and safety reasons. Instead, buyers might be tempted to show off their 007 credentials by displaying the car in a favourite room at home.
Immaculately handcrafted at Aston Martin’s spiritual home in Newport Pagnell – where the last DB5 rolled out of the doors 55 years ago – each Continuation requires 4,500 man hours to create from the ground up, a carbon copy of Bond’s classic Aston from the 1964 Goldfinger film, its first outing as the spy’s company car.
If you didn’t own the Corgi model replica at my school in the 1960s you were persona no grata. The Continuation, however, takes Bond adoration to a new level, with collectors expected to hand over £3.2 million to bring their 007 fantasies to life.
And right now I’m behind the wheel, racing across the English countryside for a meeting with Mr Big – Paul Squires, president of Aston Martin Works and the man who came up with the idea.
This car is officially a prototype – which bypasses roadworthiness regulations. According to Aston, it would be “possible” to make the Goldfinger Continuation road-legal, but no such discussions have yet taken place.
The Connolly leather seats are still new and overly plumped up, so my head is occasionally bouncing off the roof-lining. I’m not sure how tall Sean Connery was but the DB5’s interior feels rather cosy for a Sixties’ superstar.
In front of me is a glorious display of Smiths dashboard dials, each ringed in chrome and monitoring the engine’s “vitals”. Cupholders and USB ports? No, no, no.
The DB5’s relaxed driving nature is simply enchanting. No driver aids, no power steering, no air-conditioning – it’s just you and the road. The old Aston is also a cruiser, not a sports car, perfect for lazy Sunday afternoon drives, purring down to Monte Carlo, or wowing a villain’s beautiful squeeze.
Aston’s famed 4.0-litre straight-six engine winds up gently through the rev band. The standard, German-built, five-speed ZF gearbox is claimed to be the only part of the DB5 Continuation not manufactured in Britain. Behind, twin exhaust pipes emit a bass-like, resonating tone that seeps through the car and into the body at every contact point.
Hurtle into a roundabout and the old-school, Avon cross-ply tyres screech in protest. I find myself leaning with the steering wheel, aping Bond as he calmly slides around a dangerous hairpin in pursuit of Pussy Galore. Probably slightly sweatier, if I’m honest.
By now I’ve all but forgotten those Q Branch gadgets which have contributed greatly to the Continuation’s jaw-dropping price. The stunt cars used in a film can be tweaked so that gadgets work for one particular shot. In the Continuation, they had to be painstakingly incorporated into a working Aston.
That includes the brace of Browning machine guns hidden behind the front indicators, revolving number plates and a pop-up bulletproof shield that has apparently been tested for ballistic integrity.
The machine guns may be replicas but still sound and look fantastic. They come loaded with visual and sound effects, while the smoke screen pumps out a cloud of what turns out to be harmless cigarette vape. Ian Fleming would spin in his grave at the idea of death by menthol.
A hand-built case strapped into the boot contains the evil-looking tyre slashers, which screw on to the wire wheels in place of the regular chrome spinners. Sadly, the oil slick tank now only squirts environmentally-friendly water.
Inside, a radar-style tracking system helps locate the bad guys – although oddly it isn’t a working satellite navigation – and a retro telephone in the armrest allows last-minute user guide queries with the techies at Q Branch. Parked up, all the toys can be operated from a remote control box.
Only 25 Continuation DB5s will be built, celebrating Bond’s 25th screen outing later this year. The delayed film No Time To Die is currently slated for November release, with Daniel Craig in his final appearance as MI6’s finest, along with four Aston Martin models. Including the DB5, naturally.
Mr Big is waiting for me when I arrive at Aston Martin Works in Tickford Street. At the time of writing, not every DB5 Continuation has been sold, but Squires is confident the release of No Time To Die will provide the necessary publicity.
This is the company’s third Continuation model after a pair of DB4s and without doubt the most controversial. Who exactly buys a DB5 that can’t be driven on the road and costs more than three times as much as a mint example of the cherished original?
“We don’t reveal who buys our cars but the sales are global, not just the UK and the US, which reflects the audience for Bond films. They are wealthy people who really ‘get’ the idea of new-old Continuation cars and are often passionate about Bond,” said Squires.
Every Goldfinger DB5 is painted in Silver Birch as per the original. The only options are left- or right-hand drive, plus whether to opt for a removable panel above the passenger seat. The opening replicates the roof exit for Bond’s ejector seat – another feature that could be useful in certain circumstances, if it only fired.
If driving a DB5 isn’t enough, my favourite feature by far is a red machine gun trigger. Pop the top off the gearlever and there it is, waiting to dispatch white van man with a press of the thumb. I wish it was an option on modern Astons.
Squires says the exclusive nature of the Continuation and the Bond association means Goldfinger cars will likely be worth four or five times the price in 15 or 20 years. However, for my money, I’d happily sacrifice all the Bond toys to be able to purr along the open road in such an iconic coupé as the DB5.
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Aston Martin DB5, Goldfinger, James Bond
World news – GB – 007’s Aston Martin DB5 recreated in glorious detail – the only catch is the £3.2 million price