What if we were to say Aston Martin has launched an all-electric car that’s available for around the same money as the average new car? You’d want a piece of that, right? You can, though you’ll have to put up with some compromises, chiefly, the new Aston Martin model is two-thirds scale and is not able to be driven on the road.
It's the Aston Martin DB5 Junior. Following the similarly sized Ferrari Testa Rossa J and Bugatti Baby II, the DB5 Junior is the latest car from the Little Car Company, in Bicester, England. The Aston is the third product from this enthusiastic group of talented engineers, who keep busy building these incredible, manufacturer-sanctioned, scaled-down machines for enthusiastic collectors and their lucky children.
This diminutive model apes the shape of Aston Martin’s most iconic car in such obsessive detail, from the flowing lines of its beautiful bodywork – constructed in either fibreglass or carbon fibre – to the authentic Aston Martin badges that, parked t alongside a full-sized DB5, it’s an almost exact facsimile. Little surprise the Little Car Company 3D-scanned a real DB5 as part of the Junior’s development.
Like the Baby Bugatti and Testa Rossa J, this is a cabriolet (or in Aston Martin parlance, a Volante). Along with the roof, the straight-six engine of the original has gone, too. Instead this Junior Aston taps right into the motoring zeitgeist by being electric. The Little Car Company will build just 1,059 examples, which matches the build number of the original car, with three differing versions on offer.
Gallery: Aston Martin DB5 Junior By The Little Car Company: Review
Bond… Baby Bond
The choices include the DB5 Junior, DB5 Vantage Junior, and a DB5 Vantage No Time To Die Edition. The DB5 Junior makes do with a 6.7-bhp electric motor and a single 1.8-kilowatt-hour battery pack and offers two available driving modes. Novice gives you a single bhp and a 12-mile-per-hour top speed, while Expert uncorks it all for a 30-mph max.
The DB5 Vantage, as with its full-sized counterpart, ups the performance. Doubling the electric motor’s output yields a healthier 13.4 bhp and there’s an additional battery pack to help achieve a 44-mph maximum that’s possible in the Vantage driving mode. Other changes to the Vantage see its body switching from composite material of the standard Junior to full carbon fibre. That goes some way to explaining the roughly £10,000 ($12,000) more you’ll need to find for it.
If you’re a money-no-object Bond aficionado then you’ll be after the No Time To Die version, which doubles the battery count again and increases power to 21.5 bhp for a maximum speed in excess of 45. For Q-division authenticity, it also comes with (non-functional) mini guns, cycling digital number plates, a smoke screen, a skid mode, and a hidden gadgets panel.
Those number plates use the same technology as the actual DB5 in the film, and while the guns don’t fire actual ammo, they do pop out from behind the headlights and bang and spin with the barrels flashing. And the smokescreen? An hour’s worth of the stuff can be ejected from the No Time To Die model’s tailpipe, which should allow you plenty of opportunity to evade anyone chasing you in it.
Fun as Q division’s gadgets in the Bond special sound, they double the price of the Vantage, and without a villain to escape the Vantage should be just fine. Getting in is as simple as stepping over the small side and slipping into the comfortable seat. Usefully, the three-spoke mahogany and aluminium steering wheel is removable if you’re long of leg, but at 5-foot-11 I managed to get in without having to take it off.
The leather covering the seats is of a quality you’d expect in a full-sized Aston Martin, while the lustre of the chrome and the machined metal finish of the fly-off, hydraulic handbrake is similarly beautiful. The instruments, Smiths as per the original, display the battery state, a gear indicator, the motor’s temperature, vehicle speed, and power output. There’s an authentic DB5 clock, too, as well as indicator lights, a horn – which I’m still kicking myself for not trying – and a simple toggle dial that selects either forward or backwards.
No, Baby Bond I Expect You To Drive
On Bicester’s short testing track, the DB5 Junior Vantage quickly reveals the depth of engineering that’s gone into it. Under that gorgeous body the chassis features a DB5-correct double-wishbone front suspension and a live rear axle with upper and lower trailing arms and a Panhard rod. Engineers worked to recreate the DB5 in such detail that the roll centre and camber gain match the geometry on the original car. Aston Martin even sent its own Le Mans class-winning test driver, Darren Turner, during a break from his Valkyrie development work to sign off its smallest model.
With more than a child’s weight to shift, I’ve opted for Vantage power right from the offing, and it’s brisk. Step-off acceleration isn’t neck-snapping, but it’s quick enough to keep the grin you had getting in firmly on your face as you drive off. The sensation of speed is amplified by the fact you sit so low, with so little surrounding you. If you’re a conventionally proportioned adult, your face is even above the windscreen. Fun as that is, it’s when you first tip it into a corner that the Junior really gets interesting.
It handles, and it handles well, the steering a bit dead in relation to feel but weighty enough, the nose turning in quickly to reveal high grip levels. Inevitably, as the lap count grows, so does the level of enthusiasm, and the DB5 Junior responds exactly as you’d anticipate it doing so. Load it up on the brakes – discs at all four corners – before turning it in on a trailing throttle (or whatever the electric equivalent is) and the weight transfer allows you to initiate a slide into, through, and on the exit of the bend.
In short, it’s hilarious. Laugh out loud and giggle uncontrollably as the DB5 hurls down the straight at 44 mph before setting it up for another corner and sliding it through again. It’s the most fun I’ve had in a car, any car, for a long time, and I could keep going until the battery ran out, which it’d do in anywhere from 1.5-2.5 hours (or up to 40 miles) of driving depending on how it’s being driven. In my hands today, I’d imagine about an hour maximum, or as much ache as my face could take from smiling.
With the batteries easily swapped out in seconds, the fun doesn’t have to stop when the charge does, either, and the Little Car Company offers a spare set of batteries as an option just in case you get carried away. Which you’re likely to do, because it’s absolutely brilliant.
Yes, it’s Aston Martin’s most affordable model; no, you can’t use it on the road. And the DB5 Junior’s scale means it’s inevitably a plaything for those who are very deep of pocket. As such it’d be easy to write off as a pointless frivolity, but that would do the company building it a huge disservice.
The manufacture of the DB5 Junior and the Little Car Company’s other models employ over 30 people in Bicester and a good number more in the supply chain. The fact Little’s doing so with the backing of brands like Aston Martin, Ferrari, and Bugatti underlines its engineering prowess, integrity, and exacting attention to detail. The high level of want here is inversely proportional to the DB5 Junior’s diminutive scale, because what a joyous thing it is.
Aston Martin DB5 Junior Vantage By Little Car Company