Diamonds Are Forever: Aston Martin Celebrates 70 Years Of DB Models

It’s been 70 years since the world was introduced to the DB1, and Aston Martin is looking back at the long line of DB sports cars.

The letters stand for David Brown, the man who bought Aston Martin in 1947. His initials became as iconic as Aston Martin itself, with the DB11 being the latest member of this historic family.

The first car was launched as the 2-liter Sports in 1948, but the model was retrospectively referred as the DB1 from 1950 onwards. However, it was the 1949 DB2 that established the Aston Martin ethos as we know it today.

The original DB1

The DB2 was continuously updated until its replacement arrived in 1959. The DB4 was the first new Aston Martin produced at the company’s Newport Pagnell site.

Aston Martin DB2

Five different versions of the DB4 followed, including the DB4 GT, with the company replacing it with the iconic DB5 in 1963, the same year in which it was immortalized in Goldfinger, the third James Bond film. Aston Martin offered the DB5 for just two years before the bigger and more comfortable DB6 replaced it.

Aston Martin DB5

In 1967, the Williams Towns-designed DBS went on sale, powered by the DB6’s six-cylinder engine. The DB6 stayed in production until 1970, as it was far more popular with customers than the DB4 and DB5. In 1969, Aston Martin launched the DBS with a four-cam V8 engine and a DeDion rear axle.

It would take Aston Martin 23 years to use the DB initials again on a sports car, with the DB7 making its first appearance in 1994. Unfortunately, David Brown didn’t live to see it as he passed away a year earlier.

Aston Martin DB9

The 2003 DB9 was the first model to come out of the company’s then-new headquarters in Gaydon. Arguably one of the most beautiful cars ever created, the DB9 was the base for the second-generation DBS that also marked the return of Aston Martin on the big screen next to James Bond. 
Aston Martin even created a fully bespoke road car for 007, in the form of the V8 Vantage-based DB10.

The DB family is currently stronger than ever, with the DB11 and the soon-to-be launched DBS Superleggera being in the core of the British manufacturer’s Second Century Plan.

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  • Mark Hawthorne

    Fortunately David Brown did get to see the designs for the DB7 before he passed away – he was a peer of the then Aston Martin chairman Walter Hayes, and was specifically asked for “permission” to use the DB initials and shown the pre-release design.

  • But you guys miss the DB Mark III, the model between DB2 and DB4. This particular car is the one that Ian Fleming describe in the novel version of Goldfinger, for the movie version. The producer uses the newly launched DB5 that we all know today.

    • Nordschleife

      I thought in Ian Fleming said Bond drove a Bentley in his books?

      • Yep in many of the early novel such as Casino Royale which is the first novel, James Bond drove Blower Bentley. But in the novel Goldfinger, James Bond get a new vehicle which is the DB Mark III.

    • Mark Hawthorne

      Aston Martin count this as an evolution I think. It was really the third generation of the DB2/4 and produced only in small number for a couple of years (57-59). Because it had so little variation over the Mark11 it was simply known as the MarkIII which, some time later, became known at the DBMark111, shortened from DB 2/4 MarkIII. These retroactive re-namings are quite common in the era – the Series1 Land Rover was just the Land Rover until well after the Series2 came along. You’re not wrong it’s not here but it’s seen as a variant – like the DB7 V12 Vantage which was so radically re-engineered it could have had a new name.

      • That’s a good observation, but given we are talking about Aston Martin and James Bond. I would have thought that the first Aston to appear in any Bond Media should be given a nod.

        And yeah retroactive renaming can be quite confusing.

  • Emoto

    Few things in this world look better than a DB5.

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