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Most Famous Sports Car

In 1959, Ian Fleming penned Goldfinger and inserted his secret agent hero, James Bond, into a 1959 Astin Martin DB-3. There was a lag between the story’s release, however, and the motion picture that shared its name. By the time Sean Connery was prepared to take out Goldfinger, the DB-3 seemed dated. James Bond got behind the wheel of a 1963 Astin Martin DB-5 and made it the most famous sports car in the world.

Sports cars are wonderful, but the Bond car had a few special features that made it even more appealing to moviegoers. It was outfitted with bulletproof glass, machine guns, and other assorted gadgetry. Its understated color scheme fit the Bond character perfectly, and the car’s role in the film afforded it significant screen time. Within a few years, there would be no better-known sports car in the world.

The Astin Martin DB-5 was a fine car in its own right, but the popularity of Goldfinger and Thunderball (in which it also appeared) elevated it to a global phenomena. Even today, after countless intervening James Bond movies, when someone says they want a “Bond car,” the mind races back to the DB-5 made famous over forty years ago.

An American eventually purchased the original Bond car and kept it in superb condition, using it primarily for special appearances and events. In 1999, the DB-5 was stolen from outside a Boca Raton, Florida airport. The would-be thief didn’t blend into traffic well in the Astin Martin and was apprehended.

The remarkable performance of James Bond’s DB-5 was no doubt aided by Q and the other technicians at headquarters. Movie feats such as outracing a Ferrari were beyond the limitations of the real DB-5. Although a fine sports car, the DB-5 was really designed more as a touring vehicle than as a speedster. It possessed a six-cylinder engine that topped out at approximately 280 bhp. It’s top-end speed was approximately 140 mph, and it took over 8 seconds to achieve speeds in excess of 60 mph from start.

Although the DB-5 was by no means considered a clunker, it was not the top performer in its class. Ferrari, Jaguar and others were producing sports cars at the same time that outperformed the Astin Martin by a considerable margin. These cars, however, faded into history as the uniquely British styling of the DB-5 and its use by one her majesty’s best secret service agents elevated it to worldwide popularity.

The ever-popular DB-5 has been reproduced countless time in miniature, with the famed Danbury mint still offering a small-scale replica of the famous sports car. Items relating to the DB-5 are popular crossover collectibles, coveted by fans of film and British sports cars alike.

There are many other famous sports cars. The Ferrari Testarossa from Miami Vice, Steve McQueen’s Mustang from Bullitt, the Spider in which James Dean met his fate and other sports cars all share places in our collective memories. But the Astin Martin DB-5, propelled by two incredibly successful films and attractive in its own right, remains the world’s most famous sports car.

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