Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan or Daniel Craig aside, the other undoubted stars of the 007 movies are the cars. Always have been. And, hopefully, always will be.
Indeed, they give James Bond a driving licence to thrill and often outshine even the evil villains and beautiful ‘Bond women’.
So with the countdown now on to the screening later this month of the much delayed new film No Time To Die, it’s a good moment to look at what keeps 007 on the road.
Not shaken, just stirred: The £3.3m Aston Martin DB5 Goldfinger Continuation 007 replica
Most famous of the big screen Bond cars is the classic Aston Martin DB5, which is one of four Aston Martins to star in the latest film.
It appears alongside an Aston Martin V8, a superlight DBS Superleggera assigned to MI6 ‘double-O’ agent 003 Nomi; and the prototype of the £700,000 217mph Valhalla hypercar.
Since its first outing in Goldfinger in 1964 with Sean Connery (pictured), the DB5 has featured in several 007 movies with a variety of Bonds
Since its first outing in Goldfinger in 1964 with Sean Connery, the DB5 has featured in several 007 movies with a variety of Bonds including Thunderball (1965) also with Connery; Goldeneye (1995) and Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) with Pierce Brosnan; Casino Royale (2006), Skyfall (2012) and SPECTRE (2015).
Movie producers EON joined forces with Aston Martin and toy firm Corgi to produce the ultimate giant replica box for that much loved favourite 007 toy car — complete with a working gadget-laden DB5 inside.
The life-size model box, which measures 5.66 metres long, 2.7 metres tall and 2.7 metres deep, replicates the original Corgi design and, along with the car, will be on display to the public at Battersea Power Station in London until October 1.
Aston Martin and toy firm Corgi helped produce the ultimate giant replica box for that much loved favourite 007 toy car — complete with a working gadget-laden DB5 inside
The Aston Martin DB5 on show in the box is one of a limited number of just 25 DB5 ‘Goldfinger’ Continuation cars costing £3.3 million each. And I’ve been lucky enough to drive one.
They were built at Aston Martin’s former HQ in Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, and come complete with nods to the gadgets fans will recognise — including rotating number plates, a retractable bulletproof rear shield, battering ram bumpers, smoke and oil-slick options.
The more, the merrier
There have been other Aston Martins in 007’s life over the years. These include the DBS for George Lazenby’s only outing as 007 in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969).
The powerful 1977 Aston Martin V8 with ski-outriggers and missiles used by Timothy Dalton’s Bond in The Living Daylights (1987) makes a return in No Time To Die.
I’ve also driven the stunt version of the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish from Die Another Day (2002) — complete with ‘invisibility cloak’, rockets, machine guns and auto-tracking gun units which emerge from the bonnet.
Just ten hand-built DB10s were made to order for SPECTRE (2015) after movie executives spotted in Aston Martin’s design headquarters in Gaydon plans for a forthcoming but not yet ready V8 Vantage model.
Eight DB10s were used for filming — in Rome — with a one-off Jaguar CX-75 driven by Bond villain Mr Hinx that never went into production.
Roger Moore as Bond with Barbara Bach as Bond girl Anya Amasova and the Lotus Esprit submarine car
Beamers and Bentleys
In the original Ian Fleming books, Bond’s main automotive love was Bentley, starting with a super-charged 1931 4.5-litre ‘Blower’ Bentley.
There is a cinematic nod to this in From Russia With Love when 007 enjoys a picnic with Sylvia Trench while his British Racing Green Bentley is parked nearby.
In his first 1953 novel Casino Royale, Fleming noted of 007’s Bentley: ‘Bond’s car was his only personal hobby.
One of the last of the 4½-litre Bentleys with a supercharger by Amherst Villiers, he had bought it almost new in 1933 and kept it in careful storage through the war.’
The films have wavered further though: especially when German giant BMW muscled in to provide 007 with vehicles in three movies starring Pierce Brosnan: a Z3 Roadster in Goldeneye (1995); a flagship 750i in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997); and a retro-styled Z8 roadster in The World Is Not Enough (1999).
Friends and enemies
Villains’ vehicles include new flying Land Rover Defenders doing death-defying stunts in the latest movie.
Over the years Alfa Romeos and Mercedes-Benz limousines have also made appearances.
In The Man With The Golden Gun (1974), villain Scaramanga (played by Christopher Lee) had a flying car — an AMC Matador.
Naomie Harris and the Jaguar C-X75 concept car which gave Bond’s Aston Martin a run for its Moneypenny in Spectre
Other stand-out villains’ cars include the red Ferrari F355 GTS raced against Bond in the hills near Monte Carlo and driven by Xenia Onatopp, the lethal assassin with killer thighs, played by Famke Janssen.
Bond’s friends’ and allies’ vehicles are worth a mention, too. Toyota cut the top off its sporty 2000GT so Sean Connery could be seen in the passenger seat in You Only Live Twice (1967) as he’s rescued by Japanese agent Aki.
Halle Berry as Jinx drove a retro-revival Ford Thunderbird in Die Another Day (2002), while would-be assassin Tilly Masterson (played by Tania Mallet) in her 1964 Ford Mustang was pursued by Bond’s DB5 in Goldfinger.
Britt Ekland playing MI6 agent Mary Goodnight in The Man With The Golden Gun, has a classic MGB roadster.
And eyebrows were raised when Daniel Craig hired a yet-to-be-launched new Ford Mondeo in Casino Royale — he was dubbed ‘Bondeo Man’.
And so to the present
No Time To Die has Bond leaving active service and enjoying a quiet life in Jamaica. But his peace is short-lived when his old friend and CIA agent Felix Leiter arrives to ask for help…
It features Daniel Craig in his fifth outing as 007 along with Lea Seydoux as his love interest Madeleine Swann and Rami Malek as villain Safin.
No Time To Die has its world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall in London on September 28 and is in UK cinemas from September 30.
But with anti-car protestors like Extinction Rebellion (what a great name for a world domination group) taking to the streets, should we expect 007 to walk?
No, even now when it comes to Mr Bond, we still expect him to drive.
- Bond Cars: The Definitive History, by Jason Barlow, BBC Books.
- 50 Greatest Bond Cars: 007 Book, by Ben Robinson. Eaglemoss/ 007Store.com
Goodwood’s Revival spirit of ‘Make do and Mend’
It’s not just classic cars that are being kept alive to thrive at this month’s Goodwood Revival for which there are a last few remaining tickets.
There’s a much wider emphasis on ‘revive and thrive’ — from vintage clothing to items from the world of automotive and aviation ‘re-purposed’ as furniture and household decorations.
Retro feel: There’s a much wider emphasis on ‘revive and thrive’ at this year’s Goodwood Revival
One of the new highlights is the Revival Car Boot Sale billed as ‘the most glamorous and stylish car boot sale you’ve ever been to’.
Among celebrities donating items from their wardrobes is musician and human rights activist Annie Lennox who founded The Circle organisation to help support the world’s most vulnerable women and girls.
A ‘best in show’ car boot stall competition will be judged by Revival style advisor, ‘Queen of Thrift’ Bay Garnett.
Embracing the wartime austerity spirit of ‘getting on with it’, there will be a Make-Do And Mend corner celebrating craftsmanship from an age when possessions were made to last.
One of the new highlights is the Revival Car Boot Sale billed as ‘the most glamorous and stylish car boot sale you’ve ever been to’
Former F1 champion Jenson Button is to make his Revival racing debut in the Stirling Moss Memorial Trophy on Friday evening, honouring one of the world’s greatest racing drivers.
The Goodwood Revival, pictured, is staged entirely in a period 1940s, ’50s and ’60s theme covering cars, speed, fashion and, this year, sustainability.
Organisers said: ‘The Revival’s ethos is a thoroughly modern one: reduce, re-use and recycle.’
- The Goodwood Revival: September 17-19. Tickets at goodwood.com or 01243 755055.
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