Car of the Week: This Rare, Restored ’65 Aston Martin DB5 Drop-Top Could Fetch $1.3 Million at Auction

The Cliveden House Hotel, about 30 miles outside of London, has been chosen by RM Sotheby’s as the venue for an impressive auction of collector cars to be held on Wednesday, June 12. Among some British, German, French, and Italian automotive gems is a rare 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible, believed to be the second-to-last built in a production run comprising only 123 examples from 1963 through 1965.

The DB5 model, which debuted in 1958 as a coupe, was not only the successor to the DB4 but could be considered the latter’s ultimate iteration. It was replaced in 1966 by the less-elegant DB6, which soldiered on until 1971, when the “modern” DBS took the reigns as Aston Martin’s flagship. Of all the DBs (named for the company’s then-owner David Brown), the DB5 is at the top of the marque’s collector-car pyramid.

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A 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible.
The 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible being offered through RM Sotheby’s on June 12.

The DB5 really hit the sweet spot, its shape defining the quintessential Aston Martin with a design language born in Italy, not the U.K. That model’s predecessor, the DB4, was created by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan, embodying a vision far afield from the pragmatic “style” that characterized most British cars of the era. It employed Touring’s patented Superleggera body using lightweight aluminum panels formed over a delicate steel-tube skeleton, itself welded to a platform chassis.

Although the design for the body and chassis of the DB4 and DB5 were Italian in origin, the cars themselves were fabricated at Aston Martin’s Newport Pagnell factory in Buckinghamshire, England. The coupe, today claimed by Aston Martin as “the most famous car in the world,” may be nearly so, having starred in the film Goldfinger and thereafter regarded as agent 007’s transport of choice. Both the DB5 coupe and convertible are powered by Tadek Marek’s brilliant 4.0-liter inline-six engine that delivers about 282 hp and enables the model to have a top speed of 148 mph. Grand touring, after all, was the original mission of the DB5, top up or down.

The 282 hp, 4.0-liter six-cylinder engine inside a 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible.
The 282 hp, 4.0-liter inline-six engine enables the car to reach a top speed of 148 mph.

The car on offer, chassis No. DB5C/2122/R, has had just four owners from new. According to correspondence from Aston Martin, this vehicle is one of 85 right-hand-drive examples made. For this particular build, the factory changed the originally specified Goodwood Green paint to the more popular Platinum, and replaced the Borg Warner automatic gearbox with a ZF five-speed manual transmission, accommodating the specifications of the first owner.

The original interior of a 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible.
The example retains its original interior, the patina of which imparts authentic character.

Fitted with a red Everflex soft-top roof and presenting an interior dressed in red Connolly leather, the car also features optional equipment that includes chrome wheels, a Motorola radio, Marchal fog lamps, and a driver’s seat pan that’s been lowered by an inch. It was sold new for £4,481 to Frederick Weldon of Sherwood, Nottinghamshire, who kept the car until 1983, when it was then sold to the cofounder of the German Aston Martin Owners’ Club, who was the steward for much of the car’s history to date. In 2016, the DB5 received more than €80,000 in restoration by German workshops, and while at some point the engine was replaced, the car retains its original interior, whose beautiful patina imparts authentic character to Aston Martin’s touring flagship.

A 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible.
In 2016, this DB5 received more than €80,000 in restoration work.

In addition to the Aston Martin DB5 Instruction Book and tool roll, the car also comes with a comprehensive history file including the original logbook, a copy of the factory build sheet, period correspondence, and restoration invoices. Showing 84,701 km (52,631 miles), this coveted drop-top carries a high-end estimate of approximately $1.3 million.

Click here for more photos of this 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible.

A 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible.
A 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible.

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