They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but have you really met someone who didn’t like how the DB5 looks? The achingly beautiful coupe is turning the venerable age of 60 this month, having made its debut way back in September 1963 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. To celebrate the anniversary, Aston Martin orchestrated a photo shoot together with its modern-day equivalent, the DB12 also known as the “world’s first super tourer.”
The car displayed at the 1963 IAA – where Porsche brought the 911 prototype as the Type 901 – was presented with a newly developed 4.0-liter, straight-six engine. It was essentially a heavily upgraded version of the 3.7-liter mill that powered the DB4 launched in 1958. Aston Martin pushed its output to 282 hp, which was quite impressive for the early 1960s. In 2023, the new DB12 has more than twice the power, courtesy of a twin-turbo V8 4.0-liter engine from AMG with 671 hp.
The DB5’s output was enough for a top speed of more than 150 mph (241 km/h), prompting the folks from Gaydon to proudly write in the brochure: “The DB5 is the fastest regular four-seat GT in the world.” Aside from beauty and muscle, James Bond’s car also had brains since it came with new features such as air conditioning and electric windows.
Aston Martin made a total of 887 “saloons” and 123 convertibles, plus 12 coachbuilt shooting brakes. The DB5 was popular among superstars back in the day as the car styled by the Italian coachbuilder Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera was purchased by The Beatles’ Sir Paul McCartney and George Harrison as well as by Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger. In addition, Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant bought one, as well as comedian Peter Sellers, Jamiroquai’s Jay Kay, and fashion designer Ralph Lauren.
At the 1965 London Motor Show, only two years after its premiere, the DB5 was superseded by the DB6. It too was penned by Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera but it was far less exclusive as 1,788 units were built until 1970 when production ended.