The world was first introduced to James Bond’s automotive alter ego, the Aston Martin DB5, in Goldfinger (1964). Now a pop culture icon, the car is synonymous with 007. Bond author Ian Fleming had set up the idea of the spy’s Aston Martin having a “few extras” in his novel and legendary production designer Sir Ken Adam flew with that, bumping up the number of extras considerably. He exorcised his personal traffic demons by adding battering-ram bumpers and Ben-Hur-style tyre scythes and took a tip from director Guy Hamilton on the advantages a revolving number plate affords in avoiding parking tickets — or in Bond’s case, crossing borders inconspicuously. Adam’s experience as an RAF fighter pilot inspired the idea of an ejector seat, this time for unwanted passengers, not pilots. 

Here, we take a look at the first concepts drawn by Adam for Goldfinger, as well as more recent imaginings of the most famous car in the world.

Extra effects: Exploring the DB5’s icon status in Bond films

Sir Ken Adam sketching for Goldfinger

GOLDFINGER, 1964 

A former fighter pilot with a history of owning fast cars, Adam enthusiastically designed fantasy “extras” for James Bond’s Aston Martin sports car. They were installed by John Stears and the special-effects team. 

Extra effects: Exploring the DB5’s icon status in Bond films

EXTERIOR DB5 GADGETS
Ken Adam, felt-tip pen on paper

Extra effects: Exploring the DB5’s icon status in Bond films

INTERIOR DB5 GADGETS
Ken Adam, felt-tip pen on paper

The gadget-laden Aston Martin DB5 proved so popular with audiences that a part was written for it in the pre-title sequence in Thunderball (1965). Since then, it has become the British spy’s quintessential vehicle, appearing in eight official Bond films, including the upcoming No Time To Die

SKYFALL, 2012 

For the explosive finale of Skyfall (2012) whereby Skyfall Lodge comes under attack, the script required Bond’s iconic Aston Martin DB5 to be riddled with gunfire and subsequently obliterated by Silva and his henchmen. To avoid harming EON’s archive DB5, the Bond production team set about creating perfect 1/3-scale replicas of the DB5.

Extra effects: Exploring the DB5’s icon status in Bond films

ATTACK ON SKYFALL LODGE STORYBOARD
Jim Cornish, storyboard artist, pencil

Extra effects: Exploring the DB5’s icon status in Bond films

ATTACK ON SKYFALL LODGE STORYBOARD
Jim Cornish, storyboard artist, pencil

Extra effects: Exploring the DB5’s icon status in Bond films

Destruction of the Aston Martin DB5 in Skyfall
Kim Frederiksen, concept artist, digital illustration

Extra effects: Exploring the DB5’s icon status in Bond films

Destruction of the Aston Martin DB5 in Skyfall
Kim Frederiksen, concept artist, digital illustration

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