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  3. THE ASTON MARTIN DB5 AT 60 – CELEBRATING SIX DECADES OF THE WORLD’S MOST ICONIC CAR

THE ASTON MARTIN DB5 AT 60 – CELEBRATING SIX DECADES OF THE WORLD’S MOST ICONIC CAR

14 Sep 2023
  • What is the history of the Aston Martin DB4?
  • What are specifications of the DB5?

The world’s most iconic car, the Aston Martin DB5, has turned 60 with Aston Martin leading the celebrations.

September marks exactly 60 years since Aston Martin unveiled its then newcomer, with the model going on to become an icon of British culture, design and innovation and firmly establishing Aston Martin as one of Britain’s most desirable luxury brands.

Six decades on, the DB5 continues to be one of the world’s most iconic and recognisable cars, and took centre stage of Aston Martin’s presence at the Goodwood Revival festival in Sussex last weekend alongside the latest addition to the marque’s revered DB bloodline, the world’s first Super Tourer, DB12. Marking Aston Martin’s proud past and exciting future, the two models have been photographed together in images released today to celebrate the landmark anniversary.

Reflecting on the enduring appeal of the DB5 as it marks its 60th anniversary, Aston Martin’s Executive Chairman, Lawrence Stroll – himself a DB5 owner – said: “The David Brown era gave us so many great Aston Martin sports cars but none more recognisable, revered, and desired as the DB5, which laid the foundations of our identity as a British luxury brand synonymous with style, performance, and exclusivity.

“It is only right that, as it turns 60, we take a moment to look back and reflect on this car’s incredible role in our storied 110-year heritage. We’re incredibly proud that the DB lineage continues today with the critically acclaimed DB12, which like those came before it, is a celebration of all we love about British hand built sportscars, with a new injection of the latest technology and highest levels of performance.”

Sixties Icon

Sixties Icon

The year was 1963. Aston Martin was riding a wave of popularity and its DB4 had been selling consistently well since it was unveiled as an entirely new car for the marque in 1958. Yet with strong competition from luxury sports car makers both at home and on the continent, something new was needed to keep the brand on top.

Making its official public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1963 the newcomer featured several design, technical and equipment changes over its predecessor – most notably a major engine development delivering even more power – that justified the use of a name entirely new to the car world of the day, but now synonymous with the ultimate in style and desirability: DB5.

The saloon and, later, convertible bearing this unmistakable moniker were in production at the brand’s Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire factory and headquarters for a little over two years but, in that time, set about forging a reputation and fame that, today, make them among the most desirable cars of all time.

One fictious owner in particular springs to mind, of course, and there’s no doubt that the decision by film-makers EON Productions to put the world’s most well-known secret agent behind the wheel of the new DB5 in a series of James Bond movies over the course of more than half a century has cemented its place in the automotive hall of fame. But 007 is far from the only ‘celebrity’ to have been seen behind the wheel of this now iconic Aston Martin.

The Swinging Sixties were about to take off as crowds jostled for a glimpse of the new DB5 in Frankfurt and, within only a few years, many of the most famous actors, pop stars and celebrities of the day would be counting themselves fortunate to be among the exclusive ranks of Aston Martin ownership.

Celebrated DB5 patrons in the 1960s include The Beatles’ Sir Paul McCartney and George Harrison and Rolling Stone Mick Jagger. Master comedian Peter Sellers also acquired the model, while a plethora of notable names in the years since – from Robert Plant and Jay Kay to Elle McPherson and Ralph Lauren – have ensured that saloon and convertible versions of the car alike have rarely left the limelight.

Indeed, the DB5’s celebrity appeal proved to be a springboard for success and helped take Aston Martin from niche British sports car maker to global automotive superstar.

This is perhaps even more remarkable when set against the number of cars produced. In all, a mere 887 DB5 saloons, 123 convertibles and 12 bespoke coach-built shooting brakes were made originally. Even by the standards of the day, these numbers were tiny especially with UK car production totaling in excess of 1.8 million in 1963.

Power and glory

Power and glory

The DB5 displayed in Germany featured a new 4.0-litre (3,995cc) much reworked version of the 3.7-litre, twin cam, straight six that powered the DB4, with the new engine developing what was, then, a distinctly potent 282 bhp in standard form.

That welcome extra power was part of a raft of detailed technical and equipment changes, such as the debut of electric windows and the optional availability of air conditioning, which had been painstakingly engineered to meet increasingly sophisticated and demanding customer expectations.

Performance, an Aston Martin trademark even 60 years ago, was commensurate with the car’s svelte styling – the product of Italian coachbuilder Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera – and a top speed exceeding 150 mph prompted the Aston Martin brochure of the day to claim: “The DB5 is the fastest regular 4-seat GT car in the world.”

That hugely impressive statistic, even today, helped British car magazine The Autocar to conclude in their first road test of the new model: “this is a car which cries out to be driven, to be driven well, and to be driven far.”

This grandest of grand tourers laid the groundwork for the cars that followed, with today’s DB12 – the world’s first Super Tourer – once again asserting Aston Martin’s position as a leader in performance, dynamics, engineering and technology.

Motor 283

BY Motor 283

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Italian Government Pressures Alfa Romeo to Rename Milano SUV to 'Junior'

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Auto China 2024 and beyond: Mercedes-Benz to showcase its focus on China with new products and localised developments

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At and around Auto China 2024, Mercedes Benz underlines its commitment to delivering dedicated products and technologies to Chinese customers. As the largest single automotive market in the world, China plays an important role in the long-term strategy of Mercedes Benz. Running up to the show, the company will maintain its leadership position in this market, headlined by the world premiere of the all-new electric Mercedes Benz G Class.

China is home to the company’s largest production site and the most comprehensive R&D hub outside Germany, playing a significant role in Mercedes Benz’s global R&D network. In recent years, Mercedes Benz strengthened its R&D capabilities in China, particularly in electrification and digitalisation. In 2021, the company opened the new R&D Tech Centre China in Beijing, equipped with state-of-the-art testing labs, including E drive, battery, charging, NVH, and more. In 2022, Mercedes Benz established the new R&D Centre Shanghai, focusing on connectivity, automated driving, plus software and hardware development. This April, a new building will be added with advanced hardware and software facilities designed to accelerate local development in cutting-edge digital innovations. Besides the R&D Centre, the existing Design Centre will continue to promote the digital dimension in Mercedes Benz designs.

Gordon Murray Automotive reveals all T.50s commemorative names ahead of prototype global dynamic debut

16 Apr 2024
Gordon Murray Automotive reveals all T.50s commemorative names ahead of prototype global dynamic debut

Premium British vehicle manufacturer Gordon Murray Automotive (GMA) has announced the 25 commemorative names to be paired with the 25 T.50s Niki Lauda chassis. Each of the track-only T.50s supercars will celebrate Gordon Murray’s rich racing heritage with their names commemorating the dates of his first 24 Grand Prix wins at different circuits, and a special endurance race victory.

Already allocated to their owners, each of the T.50s chassis is themed chronologically, starting with Murray’s first race victory – 1974 South Africa at Kyalami – and continuing with each subsequent win at unique locations: 1974 USA at Watkins Glen; 1975 Brazil at Interlagos; 1975 Germany at Nürburgring; 1978 Sweden at Anderstorp; 1980 Italy at Imola; 1980 Netherlands at Zandvoort; 1981 Argentina at Buenos Aires; 1982 Monte Carlo at Monaco; 1982 Canada at Montreal; 1983 Brazil at Rio; 1983 Italy at Monza; 1983 UK at Brands Hatch; 1984 USA at Detroit; 1985 France at Paul Ricard; 1988 Mexico at Mexico City; 1988 UK at Silverstone; 1988 Belgium at Spa; 1988 Portugal at Estoril; 1998 Spain at Jerez; 1988 Japan at Suzuka; 1988 Germany at Hockenheim; 1988 Hungary at Hungaroring; 1988 Australia at Adelaide; 1995 France at La Sarthe.

The news comes ahead of the global dynamic debut of the T.50s Niki Lauda prototype on 13 April at the UK’s Goodwood Motor Circuit. The first public outing for the T.50s prototype will headline the 81st Goodwood Members Meet where more than 15,000 track spectators will enjoy the first outing of the race-spec car revving through to its 12,100 rpm redline. The T.33 mule ‘James’ will also make its dynamic debut at the event marking the progress made by the GMA R&D team and enabling the public to hear the GMA.2 V12 engine for the first time.

The Goodwood event will celebrate the career of famed racer Niki Lauda – the 1970s and 1980s F1 driver whose name appears on every T.50s. Raising the occasion’s significance further, GMA will explain the unique connection between the T.50s and the iconic Brabham BT46B ‘Fan Car’ that Niki Lauda drove to a commanding victory at the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix.

Conceived by Gordon Murray during his 17-year tenure as Chief Designer at the Brabham Formula One team, the BT46B rose to instant iconic status due to Murray’s innovative addition of a ground-effect fan system. Having dominated and won its inaugural race at Anderstorp, Sweden in the hands of Niki Lauda, the model was withdrawn by Brabham to pacify other teams for the good of the championship.

Gordon Murray, CBE – Executive Chairman, Gordon Murray Group: “The dynamic debuts of the GMA T.33 mule and GMA T.50s XP1 mark an important milestone in the development of both supercars. I’m also proud that we will participate in honouring a man who was a one-of-a-kind racer and a great friend by showcasing the T.50s Niki Lauda at Goodwood. Additionally, revealing the 25 historically significant motor racing names for our track-only T.50s is the perfect way to celebrate a favourite event for me and the whole GMA team.”

GMA’s Dario Franchitti will present attendees with an insightful overview of the story of the BT46B and its significance in the design and engineering of the T.50 supercar and its track-spec T.50s sibling. The GMA team will also be joined by His Grace the Duke of Richmond who will take a tour of the Murray display of heritage race cars and modern-day GMA supercars.