Licence To Thrill Aston-Martin announces Bond DBS continuation cars. Words Richard Meaden. Images EON/Gus Gregory.
Bond is back. Or rather his trusty DB5 is. And it’s all thanks to an unexpected collaboration between Aston Martin, Bond movie producers EON and the legendary special effects team at Pinewood Studios.
The previously Top Secret information was declassified and revealed in a press release issued on August 20th at 00:07 GMT (natch), with Aston Martin announcing a build run of 28 Bond DB5 Continuations: 25 customer cars (presumably as a nod to the ‘Bond 25’ working title for the next 007 movie), plus one car for Aston Martin, one for EON and a third ‘extra1 which will be auctioned for charity. Price? £2.75m plus local taxes. That’s £3.3m in the UK.
The cars will be built by Aston Martin Works at Newport Pagnell – home of the original DB5 – and following much the same recipe as the run of 25 DB4 GT Continuations recently completed by Works. That’s to say made to original plans and using traditional methods while incorporating state-of-the-art advances in manufacturing where appropriate to achieve the highest possible degree of consistency and quality.
Works will also brings its extensive experience to bear on sympathetically enhancing performance and reliability while remaining true to the character of the original car. It goes without saying that all will be finished in Silver Birch. Deliveries are scheduled for 2020.
What elevates the project beyond the creation of yet more silver DB5s is the endorsement by EON Productions and the collaboration with Oscar-winning special effects supervisor Chris Corbould OBE, for it is Corbould who will oversee the development and installation of authentic Goldfinger-spec gadgets.
Precisely which gadgets will make it from the film is yet to be disclosed, but you can be certain the ejector seat won’t be one of them. Likewise the concealed machine guns (more’s the pity, some might say) while the extending wheel slashers were even dummies on the real ‘effects’ car, so these won’t make it into production either.
However, it’s safe to assume the revolving number plates will be fitted, and we very much hope a modern satellite navigation and earphone system can be repackaged in retro guise, complete with old-school handset mounted in the driver’s door. And if the small Bakelite gearknob doesn’t have a flip-top to reveal a red ejector seat button we’d be amazed.
Aston’s decision to build this run of new Bond DB5s is proving controversial. Its extraordinary price is partly to blame, as is the fact the number being built far exceeds the handful of genuine film cars. Does it matter? In principle, yes, especially for the Fun Police who only see it as a cynical money-spinner. But in the grand scheme of things it’s simply a bit of fun for those wealthy enough to indulge.
And it’s not as though any of these continuations are going to passed off as the genuine movie cars.
What many seem to be getting a bee in their bonnets about is the ‘not for road use’ status, but we believe this to be something of a red herring. Aston cannot and will not facilitate the post-purchase road registration of these continuations. However, they are recreations of a road-legal model and they have their own dedicated VINs, so it would be naive to take Aston’s assertion as gospel. After all, if you can make a Vulcan legal for the road, a DB5 will surely pose no problem, revolving plates or not.
Perhaps the greatest irony is that the last genuine Bond DB5 to go to auction – one of three DB5s built to star alongside Pierce Brosnan in GoldenEye – sold in July of this year for ‘just’ £1.96m. Admittedly it didn’t have any gadgets, and as Brosnan isn’t most people’s go-to Bond, his name didn’t bestow the kind of kudos and appeal of Connery or indeed Daniel Craig.
For a better barometer, we have to look back to 2010 and the auction sale of the sole surviving DB5 to star alongside Sean Connery in Goldfinger, but even this didn’t achieve Aston Martin’s 2018 sticker price, selling to American collector and car museum owner Harry Yeaggy for £2.6m.
Love it or loathe it, it’s hard to deny there’s a certain evil genius about the project. If you’re one of the 25 customers, you’re going to feel childishly thrilled at having a Bond car in your garage, and the £68.75m of revenue it will generate for Aston Martin is not to be sniffed at. And then there’s the worldwide publicity it gives the next James Bond movie, which is scheduled for release towards the end of next year. It might be Daniel Craig’s last, but the DB5 looks like it’ll be playing a role in Bond films for a while yet.
‘If you’re one of the 25 customers, you’re going to feel childishly thrilled at having a Bond car in your garage’