Barreling across the English countryside from behind the wheel of arguably the most famous car in the world, I flip open the gear-stick knob and hover my thumb over a familiar red button—just like the one used by actor Sean Connery, as James Bond, in the 1964 movie Goldfinger. But instead of testing the ejector seat, I finger the trigger that will deploy the replica Browning machine guns from behind the front directionals.
This spy fantasy come to life is taking place at Stoke Park, in Buckinghamshire, England, the hotel grounds where Bond plays high-stakes golf with the movie’s namesake evil mastermind. I’m in Aston Martin’s DB5 Goldfinger Continuation model, perched on the Connolly-leather driver’s seat and admiring the dashboard’s arrangement of elegant Smiths gauges when a suspicious van pulls out directly in front of me. I hit the brakes, and the DB5’s old-school cross-ply tires screech in protest. Do I fire the Brownings or activate the front battering ram? So many choices.
This is the automaker’s third continuation effort, after a pair of DB4s, and the first DB5 to be built in 55 years. Re-created to similar specifications as the on-screen model, the car is in time for the film franchise’s 25th installment, No Time to Die, slated for release next month and starring Daniel Craig in his final appearance as MI6’s finest. (Didn’t he say that the last time?) That means all the gadgets you remember are included, from rotating license plates to a bullet-resistant shield that rises to protect the rear window to hidden buttons that dispense smoke and “oil” from the back of the vehicle.
“That’s one reason why this car is not road-legal,” laughs Paul Spires, president of Aston Martin Works, a man heavily involved with the build of this “new” DB5. “We could see wannabe 007s getting up to all sorts of mischief.”
Not exactly a daily driver, then. But it’s still an Aston Martin DB5, which is a singular driving experience in itself. The reborn two-door is a Cold War-era cruiser—no driver aids, no power steering, no air-conditioning—that imparts a road feel as smooth as the man who made it famous. It’s simply impossible to hurry the ZF gearbox, and braking requires significant early warning at higher speeds. But the four-liter straight-six is a joy to gently wind up through the rev band, and the twin tailpipes emit a bass tone that seeps through the car and into my being via the handsome wood steering wheel. And the view over that curvaceous hood is one of motoring’s great pleasures—though at five-foot-nine, I’m surprised my head is touching the roof lining. Connery must have been a contortionist.
With only 25 examples to be built, each priced around $3.6 million (available only in Silver Birch, in left- or right-hand drive) and limited to racetracks and private roads, the DB5 Goldfinger is the ultimate toy for the ultimate Bond fan—from Gaydon, with love.