Today in Automotive History: The First Bond Movie to Feature an Aston Martin, Goldfinger, Opens in U.S.
January 9, 1965, marks the U.S. release date of the third James Bond film, Goldfinger; it was notable for being the first Bond film to feature the MI6 superspy’s now-famous fondness for Aston Martin vehicles. The silver DB5 coupe that Bond drives in Goldfinger packs more than just a 4.0L inline-6 under the hood, however. A few modest additions by Q branch included a passenger ejector seat, oil slick system, chariot-like wheel spikes, and a revolving license plate. Interestingly enough, Bond originally drove an Aston Martin DB Mark III in the source book by Ian Fleming, but the DB5 was used instead as it was Aston’s newest car at the time of filming.
The engine was an evolution of the I6 from the DB4, and produced 282hp in its first configuration. The limited edition Vantage high-performance version featured triple Weber carburetors that increased total output to 325. The 40hp increase, while modest on paper, did a hell of a lot for acceleration runs, as 0-60mph decreased from 8.0 to 6.4 seconds.
Although Bond would use other models throughout the years, Aston Martins are synonymous with the character, along with the increasingly outlandish “accessories” they are usually outfitted with. To date, Bond has driven his share of DB5s (including a stint in this year’s Skyfall, created with the help of 3-D printers), V8 Vantages, and DBSs, as well as lesser machines like the Bimmers of the late 90s/early 2000s. The DB5, however, has held the record for highest number of appearances in the Bond films with 5: Bond drives the classic GT in Goldfinger, Thunderball, Goldeneye, Casino Royale, and Skyfall. It can also be seen in a small cameo in Tomorrow Never Dies.