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Bond cars: Ten of the best… and five of the worst

Written by | Posted on 26.10.2015
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Bond Cars

James Bond and cars go together like James Bond and a glass of Martini, shaken not stirred.

Driving the right car is as important to Bond as the vintage – and serving temperature – of his Dom Perignon.

But not all of them make it to the end of the film.

While making Spectre – out on October 26 – more than £24 million worth of vehicles were destroyed, including seven specially designed Aston Martin DB10s.

Here we look back at the best – and worst – Bond cars.

1) Aston Martin DB5

Definitely the most iconic of all Bond cars, this gadget-packed DB5 became an object of desire for a generation of school boys after appearing in Goldfinger (1964).

It featured an array of gadgets and special effects, including machine guns, tyre shredders, a bulletproof rear screen and, most famously of all, an ejector seat.

A model of the DB5 became Corgi’s best-selling car of all time.
A DB5 has gone onto appear in five other movies: Thunderball (1965), Goldeneye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), Casino Royale (2006) and Skyfall (2012).

2) Bentley Drophead Coupe

In Fleming’s novels the secret agent drove a 1930s 4.5-litre Bentley with an Amherst Villiers Supercharger – known to aficionados as the ‘Blower Bentley’.
A 1935 Bentley 3.5-litre Drophead Coupe features at the beginning of From Russia With Love (1963).

3) Sunbeam Alpine Series II
The first car that Bond is seen driving around Jamaica in 1962’s Dr. No is a sky blue Sunbeam, borrowed from a local resident.
Not the most exotic car ever, perhaps – but one built in Coventry at a time when the British car industry was still cool and leading the world in sports cars.

4) Aston Martin DBS
1969’s On Her Majestys Secret Service, starring George Lazenby in his only outing, wasn’t the best Bond film.
But the DBS was the last car produced by Aston Martin with post war ‘saviour’ David Brown – or DB – in charge.

5) Ford Mustang
Diamonds Are Forever hasn’t aged well, but the 1971 movie features one of the best car chases – through the streets of Las Vegas – featuring the Ford Mustang Mach 1
Ford agreed to supply as many cars as producers wanted, if 007 was seen driving a Mustang.
And that’s why all the cars seen being written off are… Fords.

6) Lotus Esprit S1
Roger Moore – with terrified passenger Barbara ‘Mrs Ringo Starr’ Bach – used the white Lotus during a car chase in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).

What marks is out as a classic Bond car is its ability to change into a mini-submarine, which ends up driving out of the sea.

7) Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II

This 1962 version, which cost a whopping £5,078, was producer Cubby Broccoli’s own car – registration CUB1.

It featured in A View To a Kill (1985) – though Bond was a passenger, as Avengers star Patrick MacNee played Sir Godfrey Tibbett, an MI6 agent acting as his chauffeur.

It ends sinking in a lake, though Cubby sensibly swapped his own car for a damaged 1958 Bentley S1 for that scene.

8) Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante

New Bond Timothy Dalton got a new Aston – after an 18 year absence – for 1987’s The Living Daylights.

9) Aston Martin V12 Vanquish

Pierce Brosnan’s 2002 Die Another Day was another below-par movie, but interest in it was rescued by this beauty.

As new Q John Cleese put it, ‘Aston Martin call it the Vanquish, we call it the Vanish.’ Yep – a ‘stealth’ car with a Harry Potter-style ‘cloak of invisibility’.

10) DBS V12

Daniel Craig brought a moody, more cerebral tone to Bond, and this minimalist car reflected that.

His DBS V12 in 2006’s Casino Royale had fewer, more practical gadgets: a hidden compartment to keep his Walther PPK and, in these more health and safety conscious times, a defibrillator – which came in useful after he was poisoned.

Now here are five of the worst:

1) BMW 7-series

‘The name’s Bond. James Bond. Licensed to plug products.’
Things reached a new low when producers opted to stick our quintessential British gent in a German BMW.

Pierce Brosnan may have looked like a sales rep. In Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) he actually drives a sale rep’s car too – an unsexy BMW 750iL.

2) BMW Z3/Z8

Two years earlier, Brosnan’s first outing as Bond saw him saddled with the archetypal hairdresser’s car – the dull Z3. He drove it around as an extended commercial for the BMW brand.

3) Citroën 2CV

Roger Moore brought a creaky, raised eyebrow-style humour to Bond – as typified in For Your Eyes Only (1981), when he was seen driving around in an indestructible 2CV. Even with a souped-up engine, the yellow car couldn’t cope with a car chase and so producers sped the film up.

4) Bajaj RE

Another peculiar vehicle, used in 1983’s Octopussy: the Bajaj RE auto rickshaw, or Tuk Tuk taxi, driven by the embarrassed-looking tennis ace Vijay Amritraj and featuring an engine improved by Q.

5) Renault 11 Taxi

Keeping up his record of being saddled with the worst Bond car,s Roger Moore’s 007 commandeers a Renault 11 Taxi in A View to a Kill during a ‘tense’ car chase. The Renault has its roof sliced off, before being cut in two and continuing on two wheels.

 

Guest blog by Nigel Pauley, a Fleet Street journalist.

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