REVOLVING NUMBER PLATES, detachable tyre slashers, bulletproof rear screen… Aston Martin’s latest Continuation model is by far the most expensive to date – and the most dangerous.
Owners can scare the bejesus out of other road users by setting off a pair of lookalike Browning machines guns borrowed from a Spitfire, or by dumping a cloud of smoke on chasing villains. Or at least, they could, if they were actually able to use them on the road.
The Goldfinger Continuation is the first DB5 to be built in 55 years, created with the blessing of Bond film-maker EON Productions. All of them will be handcrafted at Aston Martin’s workshops in Newport Pagnell, regarded as the spiritual home of the company.
Just 25 of these Goldfinger cars will be built at £3.2 million a pop, each one recreated to the exact specification of Bond’s Q Branch.
Of course, should you want to play with any of Bond’s optional extras, you will have to do it in the privacy of your own estate. Or do as we did, and hire out Stoke Park for the day.
The Goldfinger Continuation celebrates Bond’s 25th screen outing – in No Time To Die. Now slated for 2 April 2021, the film marks Daniel Craig’s final appearance as MI6’s finest. And Craig wasn’t going to let the opportunity pass without one final drive in the iconic DB5.
This is the third Continuation model after a pair of sublime DB4s. Every Goldfinger car is painted in silver birch – as per the original – and the only options are left or right-hand drive, plus whether to opt for a removable panel above the passenger seat.
The opening replicates the roof exit for Bond’s ejector seat but for health and safety reason obviously doesn’t fire.
The highly exclusive nature of the DB5 Continuation means it will likely be worth four or five times the price in years to come. However, for my money, I’d sacrifice all of the Bond toys to purr along the open road in this iconic coupé.
The car I’m in is a road-legal prototype with all the Bond gizmos de-activated, although I can’t help but wish those machine guns were an option on contemporary Aston Martins too.
Perched on outsize Connolly leather seats and confronted by a smorgasbord of Smiths dashboard dials, the only features missing are a 007 soundtrack and a beautiful leading lady.
I’m already seduced by the DB5’s charms regardless. This is as close as I’m likely to get to the starring role.
However, at 5ft 9ins I’m surprised my head is touching the roof lining. How tall was Connery? No doubt the seats will soften with time but it’s a surprisingly compact cabin.
In front of the five-speed gearshift is a simulated radar screen tracker map. Oddly it’s not a working sat nav, so I’m following a carbuncle of a Garmin unit stuck unceremoniously to the windscreen.
No matter – that 4.0-litre straight six is a joy to gently wind up through the rev band. The twin tailpipes emit a bass-like, resonating tone that seeps through the car and into my being via the wooden steering wheel.
I was born in 1963, the same year as the DB5 and we have both developed our quirks by modern standards. It’s simply impossible to hurry the ZF gearbox and braking requires almost telepathic thinking at higher speeds.
Admiring the view across that curvaceous bonnet remains one of motoring’s great pleasures. After a few miles I’ve forgotten about the Bond gadgets stashed around me, the hidden console buttons and the retro telephone in the armrest.
The DB5’s gloriously relaxed nature is like no other. No driver aids, no power steering, no air con – it’s just you and the road. The old Aston is a cruiser not a sports car, perfect for a weekend jaunt in the Scottish Highlands .
There comes a moment driving Aston Martin’s ridiculously expensive DB5 Continuation when your thumb pops open the lid of the gearstick knob to reveal a red button.
My digit is hovering over the same machine gun trigger now, the one used to lethal effect by Bond in Goldfinger.
That moment arrives as the Aston and I barrel across the English countryside near Stoke Park hotel, which famously appeared in the film during the golf scenes.
A villainous van has pulled out directly in front of me and the DB5’s old school, cross-ply tyres screech in protest. The truck is clearly in my sights, I could operate the Aston’s front battering ram device, but instead take the shot.
“That’s one reason why this car is not road legal,” laughs Paul Squires, president of Aston Martin Works and the man with the idea of creating a ‘new’ DB5. “We could see wannabe 007’s getting up to all sorts of mischief.”
A play thing for the ludicrously rich, I can’t help but feel that – like Daniel Craig’s retiring Bond – most Goldfinger Continuation owners will soon bore of the weaponry, restore to road legal and choose a more relaxed lifestyle instead.
For more info, see astonmartinworks.com