- Factory left-hand-drive, late-production example with numbers-matching engine
- Exceptionally equipped from new, including many rare factory options
- Engine upgraded during the 1990s to Vantage specification by marque specialists
- Comprehensive cosmetic restoration by Kevin Kay Restorations to concours standards
- Among the finest DB5 examples; an ideal acquisition to celebrate the model’s 60th anniversary
Put simply, there is no other Aston Martin as iconic as the DB5. Launched in 1963 as the company’s flagship grand tourer, the more powerful, accomplished, and modern revision of the DB4 instantly became an object of desire. Interest in Newport Pagnell’s most expensive model went stratospheric after an unforgettable appearance in the 1964 box office smash Goldfinger. But the DB5 was so much more than a handsome film prop. Now celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2023, the DB5’s allure, fame, and desirability have only increased over the interceding decades since its release.
Based on the outgoing DB4’s chassis, the DB5 boasted nearly 170 updates and modifications, including the attractive, competition-style covered headlights borrowed from the DB4GT. Mechanical updates to the running gear included a redesigned suspension, with the front adjusted for camber, and Armstrong Selectaride shock absorbers added in the rear. All four corners were equipped with servo-assisted Girling disc brakes.
The most notable advancement was the new 4.0-liter, inline six-cylinder engine—an enlarged version of the DB4’s all-aluminum, dual-overhead-camshaft unit, breathing through three SU carburetors as on the previous DB4 Vantage. The enlarged engine provided spirited acceleration, with some 40 pound-feet of additional torque making it more responsive in the lower rev range. Coupled with a fully synchromesh ZF five-speed manual transmission, the result was a true driver’s car—swift, surefooted, and comfortable.
For customers who desired yet more performance, Aston Martin offered a “Vantage” specification for the DB5. Retaining the 4.0-liter displacement, Vantage engines featured revised camshaft profiles and three Weber carburetors, offering greater top-end performance and a claimed output of 325 brake horsepower. The 0-60 mph time was slashed to an astonishing six seconds. It was well worth the admission price, roughly double that of a contemporary Jaguar E-Type.
Yet production of the costly DB5 remained relatively low, with 1,059 units built between 1963 and 1965, and just 180 manufactured for left-hand-drive markets. The Vantage cars were rarer still, with fewer than 70 built in left- and right-hand-drive configurations. That rarity has made the DB5 even more sought-after today, with the Vantage variants at the top of many collectors’ wish lists.
BUILT FOR A PRINCE
Prince Abdul Ilah bin Abdulaziz, son of King Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, was known for being a car enthusiast, serving as the chairman of the National Motor Company. In 1965, H.R.H. Prince Abdul, already an accomplished entrepreneur at the age of 28, ordered this fully outfitted Aston Martin DB5, chassis number DB5/2270/L, direct from Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. The delivery address for the car was listed as “behind the Royal Palace, Jeddah.” DB5/2270/L is a very late-production example, evidenced by its sixth-from-last DB5 chassis number, its 1966 delivery, and being supplied with separate signal indicators and running lights in the front which were to become standard with the imminent launch of the DB6.
More interestingly, DB5/2270/L was unusually specified with a full complement of factory accessories, many of which are rarely seen. According to its factory build sheet, these included Normalair air conditioning, a Motorola radio with a power-operated antenna, Marchal fog lamps, two wing mirrors, two Britax lap and diagonal safety belts for the front seats, two Britax belts for the rear seat, a rarely seen DB5 Continental parts kit, a heated rear windscreen, three-ear knock-off spinners, and detachable headrests. The car also features dual fuel tanks, believed to be original. The Motorola radio is said to have been replaced in period by a Blaupunkt twin-band unit with a matching shortwave module mounted under the dash.
The first known owner after H.R.H. Prince Abdul was William C. Mullins, Esq., of Dallas, Texas. Mr. Mullins sold the car to Joel Stein, of Ft. Lauderdale, in the early 1990s. Circa 2005, Dr. Stein sold DB5/2270/L to noted collector George Bunting, of Hunt Valley, Maryland, where it resided with other significant Aston Martins in his museum.
Dr. Stein had the DB5 mechanically refurbished and serviced by Performance Tuning and Restoration of Pompano Beach, Florida, starting in 1993. The outfit, run by former Aston Martin Vintage Race Services chief Robert Clerk and his son, Jon, rebuilt the numbers-matching engine to the elevated Vantage specification, including triple side-draft Weber carburetors.
A subsequent owner acquired DB5/2270/L from Mr. Bunting in 2013 and embarked on an extensive cosmetic restoration at award-winning marque specialist Kevin Kay Restorations in Redding, California. The work included stripping the paint and performing expert metal work as necessary, blocking and sanding, and respraying the car in its factory color of Caribbean Pearl. The bumpers were renewed and rechromed, along with much of the other brightwork. The windscreen was replaced, and great attention was given to detailing the engine bay. The interior was retrimmed with Connolly-type leather in factory-correct Dark Blue.
After acquiring the car in August 2014, the current owner, intent on showing it at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, sent DB5/2270/L back to Kevin Kay Restorations, where it received more than $200,000 in additional work. This included replacing incorrect parts—including the air-conditioning compressor and spark plug wires—with correct ones, fully detailing the entire undercarriage, installing a new front grille, reinstalling the previously removed, correct, rear seatbelts, installing correct Avon Turbospeed bias ply tires, and more. The non-factory Blaupunkt radio was replaced with a period-look Motorola 818 808 Aston Martin Digitized Vintage Classic radio with Bluetooth and USB connectivity at a cost of more than $2,500. The period shortwave module, however, remains intact.
Correspondence with the car’s previous owner notes that the dual wing mirrors were absent when he acquired it, but that most of the factory options remained, including the highly desirable and extremely rare Continental parts kit, with some older parts still within its wooden box. Great effort was subsequently expended to locate and acquire rare factory literature, including highly sought-after owner’s and service manuals, a hard-to-find DB5 instruction book, and period sales brochures. With all such extraordinary efforts completed in 2017, the previous owner achieved his goal of showing the car at Pebble Beach that same year.
Any DB5 is a blue-chip Aston Martin, just as joyful to drive as it is to admire in a serious collection of sports and GT cars. Chassis DB5/2270/L was built to the unique specifications of a connoisseur prince and has a well-documented history, making it one of the finest DB5s in existence.