261 Aston Martin
Produced from 1965 to 1969
The Corgi James Bond Car. Aston Martin DB5 with ejector seat, bullet proof shield, retracting guns etc.
The original price was 10/6 .
It was available in gold finish at 1:46 scale.
The first Corgi Aston Martin DB5 was born out of a meeting held by Eon Productions, owners of the James Bond franchise, in the summer of 1965 to discuss the promotion of their next Bond film, Thunderball. Until now, 007 merchandising had focused, as had the film producers, on the adult audiences but with this 4th Bond film due to feature more gadgets than ever before the potential of appealing to a broader audience and the opportunity to extend merchandising into the then lucrative and untapped toy market was an attraction which could not be missed.
Present at this meeting was Playcraft Toys Ltd, the subsidiary company of Mettoy, responsible for the manufacture of diecast toys. Following this meeting agreement was reached for Playcraft to release the first Corgi Aston Martin DB5 (C261) in October 1965, two months before the release of Thunderball and almost a year after the DB5 first hit the screen and was seen by audiences around the world in Goldfinger.
The model was a instant success and by the end of the year, after only three months, sales were sufficient to earn Playcraft the award of “Best Boys Toy of 1965”.
Although in the films Goldfinger and Thunderball, Bond’s DB5 was silver, the Corgi marketing team felt, when looking at the early prototypes, that customers would think the model was unpainted and a radical decision was reached to release the model painted gold! Whether one of the team also suggested that a gold model would relate better to its film origins is just a wild thought of mine is probably just that, the truth of the matter though, is that the first Corgi James Bond DB5 was gold.
The model was launched at a cost 9s 11d, around 50p in today’s money and a month’s pocket money in 1965, but this did nothing to deter buyers as by the end of 1966, Playcraft had sold a staggering 2.7 million models!
Three designers set about the retooling of the existing DB4, withdrawn from production to make way for the DB5, to completed the DB5 in time for the 1965 Christmas launch. The model was made up of 28 separate parts and it is said that the tooling of this car cost in the region of £45,000. The one error in the first model, only spotted by Aston Martin owners and those with an obsessive eye for detail was that the model passed through quality control with the DB4’s rear end, noticeable by the different light cluster and single petrol cap!
Corgi was perhaps the most innovative die-cast manufacturer of the period, placing its closest rival Dinky in the shade. It was therefore, not surprising, although it was in its day, that Corgi should release a model of such a small scale with so many gadgets. Within the 1:46 scale, 97mm casing, the engineers fitted an ejector seat, front mounted machine guns and bumper rams and a rear bullet-proof screen; all of which were operated by depressing secret buttons and levers secreted around the car, the bullet-proof screen, for instance was raised by pushing in the exhaust pipes.
There was only one version of the C261 produced, although due to the high demand, two castings were actually used in the manufacture and this resulted in two undocumented differences in the models produced, namely: a slight variation in the front wing vent slots and rear light clusters, only noticeable if you have both versions to compare and contrast.
The packaging of the Corgi model was also unsurpassed by Playcraft’s competitors. Its design of an inner sleeve also acting as a display plinth and hidden compartment store for the secret instructions which accompanied the model was unique and a feature repeated on subsequent Corgi releases. The C261 came with two packaging variants: for both the outer boxes were in the traditional blue and yellow colour scheme, but on some of the plinths produced the words “Secret Instructions” were printed within an arrow shape and the exterior of some outer boxes had a thick black line drawn around the words “James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5”.
1965 - Corgi James Bond D.B. 5 - N° 261 - scale 1/43 with box first edition
1965 - Corgi James Bond D.B. 5 - N° 261 - scale 1/43 with box second edition
CORGI TOYS S 679 ACCESSORIES PACK FOR THE 261 ASTON MARTIN D.B.5 - ORIGINAL SEALED :
© Photos provided by Marco Kurapkat ©