Once upon a time it was the original Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost which was the most famous car in the world, but Aston Martin stole that crown when it slipped one of its elegant coupés into a new film about a secret agent. Once Goldfinger hit the silver screen the die was cast. And so were millions of diecast models featuring some of the same gadgets. Yes, I had one too.
After a 30-year gap when it was just an out-of-date design the silver DB5 has gone on to appear in film after film, resuscitated by a burgeoning interest in classic cars, and interest is so strong that you can today buy a brand-new driveable Aston Martin DB5 with working gadgets. Actually, you can’t as all 25 examples of the £3.3m car are sold, but you can buy a copy of this book, produced to tie in with the latest Bond film.
For a subject that is so overexposed, this effort proved more interesting than anything I’ve seen so far, with many behind-the-scenes production shots and input from those involved in the early and recent films. In the section about creating the gadgets there are some fascinating technical drawings – these things weren’t cobbled up in a workshop, they were carefully drawn beforehand like any production vehicle, down to the spring-loaded cap on the gear knob concealing the ejector seat button. That option isn’t something I’ve ever fantasised about (I choose my passengers carefully), but those machine guns – yes please, so it’s amusing to find that the idea came from production designer Ken Adam’s real-life frustrations with other drivers.