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James Bond’s DB5 – the book that’s licensed to thrill

Daniel Craig and the Aston Martin DB5 in Skyfall

It’s fairly safe to say that this article requires no spoiler alert because all self-respecting Bond fans will have seen No Time to Die by now.

James Bond’s DB5 is the first official in-depth history of 007’s iconic Aston Martin and it was published to coincide with the late 2021 release of the 25th James Bond film, No Time To Die, which features the car prominently.

It’s the first time EON Productions, the makers of the James Bond films, have authorised a book about the DB5, which made its debut in 1964’s Goldfinger and went on to appear in another eight 007 films.

Sean Connery and his Aston Martin DB5 in Goldfinger

The book has been carefully researched in close collaboration with EON and Aston Martin and draws on both their archives. It includes storyboards, diagrams, design materials, and many rare and beautiful photographs that cover every detail of the car, from the over-riders to the exhaust.

There are also forewords by 007 star Daniel Craig, James Bond producer Michael G. Wilson, and Aston Martin’s Chief Creative Officer Marek Reichman.

The book, which is packed with 320 photographs across 280 pages, covers the entire story, starting with the Bond producers’ initial letters to Aston Martin before detailing the modifications made to the car for the filming of Goldfinger, including EON’s original drawings and rare pictures of the cast and crew on location in Switzerland.

It goes on to explore the fascinating history of the DB5s that went out on tour and covers every subsequent appearance of the model in the Bond movies, including the inside story of how it was seemingly destroyed in Skyfall before returning in triumph for No Time To Die.

Aston Martin DB5, No Time to Die

In short, this sumptuous coffee table book leaves no stone unturned. Who would have thought the executives at Aston Martin would have needed to be persuaded to loan out a car for the filming? Apparently they even thought it would cost them “more than it was worth” because they suspected that the car would be returned with scratches and dents.

The book is also packed with fascinating facts. For instance, the same DB5 (also bearing the identical BMT 216A number plate as 007’s car in Goldfinger) also appeared in a January 1964 episode of The Saint on ITV (starring the third James Bond, Roger Moore).

James Bond’s DB5 also chronicles in meticulous detail the lengths Production Designer Ken Adam went to in order to create the gadgets, including ejector seat, revolving number plates and machine guns built into the indicator lights, that would propel the car to superstar status.

Who knew the DB5’s retractable wheels blades that could shred tyres were inspired by the famous chariot race in the 1959 Ben-Hur Hollywood epic?

The car returned in the next film, Thunderball, while replica 007 DB5s set off on a world tour to promote the Bond movies. The spy would drive other vehicles, but the DB5 was always the definitive Bond car.

Pierce Brosnan and the Aston Martin DB5 in Goldeneye

After a 30-year absence, the DB5 returned to the screen in 1995’s Goldeneye and has gone on to feature in another five Bond movies, culminating in its appearance in No Time to Die.

It’s amazing to think that the most famous far in the world was only in production for less than two years (1963-5), just 887 were built and barely a handful were converted into Bond movie cars (for filming and publicity).

Which brings us back to the beginning because the book also details the DB5’s starring role in No Time to Die with exclusive behind-the-scenes photographs.

And if that wasn’t enough for Aston Martin fans, later in the film, Daniel Craig retrieves “his” old V8 from a lock-up – the car last seen in The Living Daylights (1987) with Timothy Dalton in the title role.

Dip in or read it from cover to cover, we don’t think you’ll be disappointed with James Bond’s DB5, which is published by Hero Collector Books (RRP £40).

James Bond's DB5 book

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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