Home › › Drive This Aston to New Lands: Robert Plant’s DB5 for Sale

In 1964, a Scotsman playing a fictional jet-set lady killer climbed into an Aston Martin DB5 laden with gadgets and turned the company’s six-cylinder GT into one of the most desirable automobiles ever built. Sometime in the early 1970s, a longhaired British lady killer—known for tight trousers, a bare chest, and a wail that was to spawn a legion of lesser imitators—thought he might like to have one of those cars for himself. So he bought one.

Between 1969 and 1971, Robert Plant had laid down eight of the most vital sides in rock ’n’ roll: Led Zeppelin’s first four albums. The records, paired with the band’s incendiary live shows, catapulted him into the first rank of great British frontmen alongside Mick Jagger and Roger Daltrey. And although Zep’s music was unabashedly modern—Jimmy Page’s Hiwatt stacks were a state-of-the-art design, nobody had ever drummed quite like John Bonham before, and John Paul Jones, alongside The Who’s John Entwistle, was exploring the as yet untapped sonic possibilities of the bass guitar—Plant retained a heavy interest in an older England. In that context, the Aston was a pretty obvious purchase, a signpost automobile on Britain’s march to modernity that nonetheless carried some rather archaic roots.

Aston’s David Brown made his bones manufacturing agricultural machinery before his purchase of the sports-car brand in 1947, and the DB5 itself traced its development lineage all the way back to the DB2 of 1950, featuring a DOHC straight-six that Walter Owen Bentley had designed during World War II. Yes, in the interim, that engine had been reworked by Tadek Marek, and all but the earliest DB5s featured a modern ZF five-speed transmission, but there’s still something decidedly pastoral about Aston’s most famous automobile. After all, it carried a live axle out back, even as Jaguar had moved to independent rear suspension. It’s the same particularly English mishmash of country, heavy industry, and regal appointment that made Vincent’s postwar Rapide/Black Shadow motorcycles so appealing. And it’s that blend of rustic and ultramodern that makes Led Zeppelin IV such a revered album.


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