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The Aston Martin: an iconic–and elusive–Bond car readies for a comeback

Produced between 1963 and 1965, the Aston Martin DB5 is considered by some to be the pinnacle of the bespoke British brand’s coveted vehicles. It was immortalized in the 1964 James Bond flick “Goldfinger.” In an intriguing piece of cinema history, the actual DB5 used in the film was the subject of a real-life heist in 1997 and remains missing to this day. Proof of the car’s enduring appeal, an ultra-rare DB5 convertible went for a cool $2.3 million at an auction last year.
Soon, fans of that classic DB styling can own a modern take on its timeless cool. Next month, the Speedback GT from boutique British brand David Brown Automotive will make its U.S. debut during Monterey Car Week, August 10-16. Hand-built in limited volume in England with an asking price of $753,000, the sleek coupe is the next best thing to the original.
The Speedback GT is a product of coachbuilding, the automotive practice of designing and manufacturing a body for an existing production chassis, resulting in unique one-offs and limited-run creations. The Speedback GT’s mechanical underpinnings come mostly from the Jaguar XKR, such as the 5.0-liter V8 engine supercharged to make a potent 510 horsepower and 461 lb-ft of torque. But the real story of the Speedback is its sultry skin.
Admittedly, former Land Rover designer Alan Mobberley drew heavily from the classic Aston Martin DBs of the 1960s, as well as from classic Ferraris and Maseratis of the same era, when he penned the Speedback GT’s long, clean, no-frills profile. Along with its very Aston-esque side vents, a unique claw motif is repeated throughout the car, from the rotary controls inside the cabin to the light housings and fuel filler cap outside. Inside, the Speedback GT is a sea of solid milled aluminum pieces, fine wood veneers, and leather. Even the floormats are hides.
Aspiring spies take note: the Speedback GT doesn’t boast an ejector seat or fender-mounted machine guns like Bond’s DB5. It does, however, feature an equally ingenious – though far less fearsome – picnic bench that folds out from the rear trunk space. And that’s a gadget that even 007 didn’t have.

- Sticker: $753,000
- Under the hood: 5.0-liter
   supercharged V8
- Horsepower: 510 hp
- Torque: 461 lb-ft.
- 0-to-60: 4.6 seconds

The David Brown of David Brown Automotive is no relation to the late Sir David Brown, who purchased the fledgling Aston Martin back in 1947 and propelled it back to relevance with the line of iconic DB sports cars bearing his initials.

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