Taking a ride in James Bond’s most loved car
It may not have a pop-up bulletproof rear screen, an ejector seat, an oil-slick button or a Cold War ice maiden in the passenger seat, but this Aston Martin DB5 still causes a stir on Norfolk roads.
The 1965 DB5, with its original silver birch paintwork, is the mechanical masterpiece recently voted by James Bond fans as their favourite 007 car of all time, even beating our homegrown, underwater Lotus Esprit.
I can boast my very own Bond car: I own a BMW Z3, as seen driven by Pierce Brosnan in GoldenEye.
Mine isn't bulletproof, has no stinger missiles behind the headlights, is lacking an all-points radar system and emergency parachute braking and won't self-destruct on command, although it does have an antique CD player and a glove box which I could, presumably, fill with Bollinger.
My Z3 pales into cut-price spy insignificance, however, next to the glory of the DB5.
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The owner of this awesome Aston Martin – in true James Bond style – wishes to remain anonymous, so we arrange a rendezvous under a cloak of secrecy (in the Eastern Daily Press car park).
'I bought the DB5 about 10 years ago and it used to be my every-day car,' he tells me, before revealing that a similar model recently sold for an eye-watering �330,000.
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'I'm guessing that whoever owned it last loved James Bond and wanted a DB5 with the original silver birch paintwork – a lot of them have been re-sprayed over the years, but this is as it was in 1965.'
The owner, who works in Norwich, resisted the urge to have an armoury of secret gadgets added to his Aston Martin, although he has made one alteration, albeit not one you can imagine Q rubber-stamping.
'I had some rear seatbelts put in so that the kids could come in the car,' admits the owner, 'not very James Bond I suppose, but it is a family car…'
A fan of the 007 films, but primarily a fan of Aston Martin, the owner's favourite film starring the world's favourite super-spy is Dr No, and he is looking forward to seeing the DB5 make a triumphant return to the silver screen when Skyfall has its premiere tonight.
Having disappeared briefly during the Pierce Brosnan era, it returned when Daniel Craig's 007 won it in a card game in Casino Royale and has been reinstated in its rightful place, alongside ludicrous Bond girl names and martinis which are shaken, but not stirred.
In Skyfall, the DB5 still bears the same BMT 216A number plate it sported on its 1964 bow in Goldfinger when Sean Connery was at the wheel. It also appeared in Thunderball, Casino Royale, Tomorrow Never Dies and GoldenEye.
Offered my own Bond moment in what must surely be the most beautiful car of all time and the one I covet above any other, being driven in a DB5 is as exhilarating and exciting as I knew it would be.
On no level does the Aston Martin disappoint: the drive is as smooth as silk with the deep-throated rumble that accompanies these deep-wallet cars, the interior with its leather, walnut and silver is luxurious and it even smells heavenly.
Forget infamous womaniser James Bond: for me, the love affair is most definitely with this, his sexiest car.
It's almost impossible not to imagine the James Bond theme music playing as we release the throttle along the A47 and it's definitely impossible to avoid the lustful gazes of anyone whose eyes alight on this piece of automotive perfection.
'I think you get used to people looking at the car as you drive it and people will ask you questions about it and ask if you've got any gadgets hidden,' said the owner.
'It's a dream to drive. I've always loved Aston Martins and I feel very, very lucky to own this one. It's the most reliable of any of the cars I've owned – the only time it gets a bit painful is when you have to get parts, but that's the joy of a classic car.
'Some of James Bond's other cars are pretty impressive, but nothing – nothing – beats an Aston Martin.'
Having suffered terrible weather during our drive, I reluctantly leave the DB5 with the promise that on a better day, we'll take another spin in Bond's most glamorous sidekick. You only live twice, after all.
Tomorrow: The EDP will look at Lotus links to James Bond.