James Bond Aston Martin DB5 book review: Inspect a gadget

A fully comprehensive tome about the James Bond Aston Martin DB5. “Entereshteng,” as Sean Connery might once have said

James Bond Aston Martin DB5

The car we all wanted as kids – and secretly still desire...

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After a 30-year gap when it was just an out-of-date design the silver DB5 has gone on to appear in film after film, resuscitated by a burgeoning interest in classic cars, and interest is so strong that you can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.

Another drawing of the interior mock-up for filming shows that they built a short bonnet to it, heavily distorted for forced perspective in the camera. I’ve grown bored of the choppy editing and endless explosions of the modern Bond series, but I’ve always found special effects fascinating and by showing me such tricks this book fed my interest. I was cheered to know that fewer cars than you think get destroyed nowadays; the burnt-out Aston in Skyfall was a one-third scale model. (Although seeing the quality of the three models they made, I think I’m more upset about that – after all, there are lots of DB5s around…)

Chapters on Bond’s other Astons and the various model versions round out what turned out to be a fun read.

James Bonds Aston Martin DB5 bookJames Bond’s DB5
Available at 007 Store

ISBN: 9781858756103


December 2021 book reviews in brief

Corvette: Chevrolet’s supercar
Randy Leffingwell

I’m told the latest mid-engined Corvette is a terrific drive; a Pantera done well, a fellow scribe described it to me. The only one I ever drove was a ’58 and it was the worst surprise I ever had –a wallowing pudding, yet a sales success. I can’t tell what’s new here, but the book boasts access to unseen GM photo and media files, and I found it absorbing.

Noted Corvette expert Leffingwell writes authoritatively, mixing the constructional bones with the visual elements including outside influences, spin-offs and the successful racing variations. He slides between the eras making it a very approachable summary of America’s favourite sports car.

Motorbooks, £35
ISBN: 9780760368503

Inside Crosthwaite & Gardner
Andy Constable

Dick Crosthwaite, one of the founders of the hugely respected engineering firm, says this was first intended to be a simple snapshot of the work it does.

But it grew, and is now on general sale.

Readers will know the company from its amazing output, everything from tiny parts to complete cars, most famously Auto Unions for Audi, plus restoring or powering half the grid in historic (and modern) racing. Its history and talents are all here, but it’s nice that the staff get their moment in the sun too.

Crosthwaite Gardiner, £40

F1 2021 video game

There’s plenty to get stuck into with F1’s official game, including the new story mode Braking Point, an over-the-top drama putting you at the centre of the paddock with F2 rookie Aiden Jackson. Its narrative offers an enjoyable few hours but there are still alternative options for those less impressed with the story. The multiplayer experience has been streamlined, AI and graphics improved upon and the usual My Team, Driver and F2 campaigns return. F1 2021 is one of the best racing titles to release this year.