OK, the machine guns don’t fire real ammo, it sprays water out the rear rather than oil, and you can’t get rid of a tiresome passenger with an ejector seat. But the Goldfinger Continuation is still the real deal. It’s a real Aston Martin, built in the same shop in Newport Pagnell, England, where fewer than 900 DB5s were built between 1963 and 1965, with components manufactured using original drawings and digital data taken from original DB5 bodies and engines.
Sliding behind the wheel of the DB5 Goldfinger Continuation and firing up the 4.0-liter I-6 is like tumbling down a wormhole in the space-time continuum. You half expect to hear a Beatles tune crackling on the radio as you muscle the shifter into first, taking care, of course, not to lift the flap on the knob and accidentally thumb the red button hidden underneath.
The DB5 swaggered on the screen in the 1964 James Bond classic Goldfinger. Like almost all movie stars, however, it’s much smaller in real life. You can reach across the (right-hand-drive) cabin of the Goldfinger Continuation and touch the passenger door with the fingertips of your left hand. Six-footers will find their heads close to the roof lining. But while the spindly shifter and thin-rimmed steering wheel look delicate compared with the chunky items that adorn many of today’s performance cars, they flatter to deceive. As we’re about to discover, an Aston Martin DB5 is, in every sense, a muscular drive.
The DB5 Goldfinger Continuation is the brainchild of Aston Martin Works president Paul Spires, who has already overseen the production of DB4 GT and DB4 GT Zagato continuation cars at the operation’s Newport Pagnell facility, which also offers restoration and refurbishment services on all Aston Martin models.
For Spires, the Goldfinger Continuation project was a no-brainer. “It is the most famous car in the world, and it gave us a fantastic opportunity to showcase the artisan skills that we have on site,” he says. But it also had to make money. “The business case discussions around continuation cars started a long time ago. Unlike the heritage operations of a lot of other manufacturers, this place has to be commercially viable. We don’t do these cars just because we want to.” Only 25 Goldfinger Continuation cars will be built. And each costs more than $3 million.
Creating a brand-new Aston Martin DB5 was a relatively straightforward task, made easier by technologies even 007’s gadget guru, Q, could have scarcely imagined 56 years ago. The bodies of several original DB5s were digitally scanned, and the data was reworked by Aston Martin design chief Marek Reichman’s team to ensure the surfaces were all true and both sides of the body were symmetrical. A number of original DB5 chassis were also scanned, and the data was overlayed with the 500 original drawings still in the Aston Martin archive to ensure accuracy.
An original DB5 engine was put through a high-powered CT scanner and, using a program written by Siemens, sliced digitally into 1-millimeter slivers to create a set of new casting molds. The process allowed engineers to correct an endemic overheating problem in the Tadek Marek–designed straight-six, not by redesigning the engine but by making sure the cylinder head was cast as originally intended. Spires says back in the ’60s the cooling core that runs down the middle of the head tended to shift slightly to one side when molten aluminum was poured into the mold. “The No. 6 piston always runs hot,” he says of old DB5 engines, “so we trued up the core to make sure we got better cooling.”
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