“It will engage and then fire the passenger ejector seat,” says Q to James Bond in Goldfinger. With those words in 1964, the fascination with audiences for Bond Cars began.
It’s interesting that Rule #19 of the James Bond Lifestyle states: “My car is filled up, clean and ready to go”, because in SPECTRE Bond actually breaks that rule. Bond is in his Aston Martin being chased by the villain Mr. Hinx. When Bond tries to use his rear car gun, the panel on his dashboard flashes; Ammunition not loaded.
It just proves that a Bond Car can do much, but without the operator’s attention, it can’t be used to full capacity. It also shows that 53 years of Bond movies hasn’t slowed down the audience’s interest in what he drives. As Ian Fleming said: “Bond likes cars and likes driving them fast.”
Let’s take a look at those ‘fast cars’ he likes to drive and the movies that he drove them in. But before we proceed, let’s see the car that started it all; the silver Aston Martin DB5 that appeared in Goldfinger and Casino Royale.
It has machine guns, revolving license plates, an elevating rear bullet protection plate and the very famous ejector seat. There were two cars made for the Goldfinger. One of them sold in 2010 for four million dollars.
In Casino Royale, Bond wins a 1963 Aston Martin DB5 in a poker game. In SPECTRE, he uses an upgraded model made especially for the movie; an Aston Martin DB10.
All ten cars were used in the SPECTRE and won’t be sold to the public. No yet, anyway.
James Bond’s first car (in the movies) was the simple Sunbeam Alpine Series II. He drove it in Dr. No to meet Miss Taro and was chased by the Three Blind Mice.
The mice were killed, Miss Taro was arrested and Bond had a nice time in bed. All in a day’s work for 007.
In From Russia with Love, Bond drove a 30 year old Bentley Mark IV in which he drove a 24 year old, champagne lubricated Eunice Gayson in the role of Sylvia.
The Aston Martin DB5 was used by Bond again in both Goldfinger and Thunderball. The later film showed us the water jets that helped Bond escape his pursuers so he could ride off with his female French agent assistant.
The Toyota 2000 GT, known as Japan’s first supercar, was used by Akiko Wakabayash in You Only Live Twice to rescue Bond outside the Osato Chemical Company.
In 1969, the new James Bond, George Lazenby, got the newest Aston Martin for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
He used it to pursue his future wife at the beginning of the movie only to lose her in the car at the end.
In Diamonds Are Forever Bond drove Tiffany Case’s Ford Mustang chased by the Las Vegas police.
And then he drove Tiffany. It seems Bond’s cars and women are interconnected. In the movie, Bond’s was filmed going into the narrow ally on its right side and coming out of the alley on its left side. The mistake was slightly corrected by an insert of Bond and Tiffany inside the car appearing to shift to the other wheels. Not a good save, but a good attempt.
Live and Let Die has a Mini Moke used by Bond briefly when he and Rosie Carver go and meet Quarrel Jr. Not much style there for 007, but it gets them where they need to go.
In 1974 the Bond movie producers sign a $5 million dollar product-placement deal with American motors for James Bond to drive their cars. That made Roger Moore the only Bond who never drove an Aston Marin.
In The Man with the Golden Gun, Bond does an incredible stunt driving a AMC Hornet Sportabout ‘hatchback’. Being chased, Bond spots a wooden collapsed bridge and does a 360 degree barrel roll over the river, shown here in multiple images.
This stunt was thought impossible to do at the time until they used a computer-calculated ‘Calspan Spiral’. Unfortunately, the effect was ruined in post-production by adding a comic slide-whistle sound effect leaving the audience to wonder if the stunt was real or not. A roaring engine and the loud sound of the car hitting the ramp would have been more appropriate to sell the reality of the highly professional stunt.
In The Spy Who Loved Me, Bond drove a white Lotus Esprit S1 that could go underwater.
It was fondly referred to as ‘Wet Nellie’ which was in reference to ‘Little Nellie’ the small helicopter Bond flew in You Only Live Twice. Built for a mere $100,00 the car sold at auction in 2013 for a million dollars to Elon Musk, an engineer/inventor who plans to turn it into a real underwater car. Anyone want to go on the first test dive with him?
Moonraker has no cars worth the mention except for a few incidental cars.
The underwater car returned one more time in For Your Eyes Only, but just as part of a few jokes. After it self-destructs, Bond is forced to escape in a Melina Havelock’s Citroën 2CV.
Not quite the style of car that Bond is used to, but he had no choice in that given situation which echoes James Bond Lifestyle Rule #4 – For challenges, I improvise, adapt and overcome.
He has to do the same in Octopussy when he lets his agent assistant drive. The Bajaj RE is an ‘auto rickshaw’, also known as a Tuk Tuk Taxi.
It’s a ‘company car’ with a powerful engine from Q Branch.
In A View to a Kill Bond grabs a Renault taxi and drives it up a ramp and across the roof of a bus, but crashes it into a stop barrier cutting off the roof of the car. Bond sure can destroy cars.
Also in the same movie is a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II which is actually the personal car of James Bond producer Cubby Broccoli.
In The Living Daylights, Timothy Dalton gets to drive an Aston Martin making its comeback after 18 years.
The Aston Martin V8 was outfitted with lasers, missiles, outriggers, a rear rocket propulsion system and tire spikes for extra traction.
License to Kill doesn’t have any car of particular interests except for the 1959 Rolls-Royce Phantom V Mulliner Park Ward Limousine used briefly.
In The Living Daylights Timothy Dalton is involved in a good car chase sequence in an Aston Martin Volante.
For Goldeneye the Aston Martin DB5 is back on the screen.
Bond has a Bollinger champagne hidden under the armrest. Not exactly a high-tech weapon, but useful in some situations.
Also, Goldeneye was the first Bond movie to use a BMW.
Q shows Bond the BMW Z3 with the parachute breaking system. It also has stinger missiles behind the headlights. But none of these things were used in the movie.
Tomorrow Never Dies has a BMW 750iL which can be driven by remote control via a mobile phone with touchpad controls.
The World is Not Enough features the BMW Z8 which has, according to Q’s new assistant played by John Cleese, “Titanium armor, multi-tasking heads up display and six beverage cup holders.” Does Bond ever drive with five friends who need cup holders?
Die Another Day has the infamous ‘invisible car’. The Aston Martin V12 Vanquish. Q, now played by John Cleese says, “We call it the Vanish." Get it? Most fans got it, but didn’t like it.
In Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace Daniel Craig got an Aston Martin DBS V12 that came with two secret trays that held a Walther PPK and a defibrillator that saved him when he was poisoned, with a little help from MI6 and Vesper, of course.
In Casino Royale, as mentioned, Bond wins a DB5 from the villain Demitrios in a poker game and uses it to steal his girlfriend. Poor Demitrios, he never saw it coming. And that brings us back to SPECTRE and the Aston Martin DB10.
Just watching Bond handling these great machines can excite us and empower us, even though many of them may be out of our financial limits. However, if you’re really aching to get behind the wheel of one of them, remember James Bond Lifestyle rule #20: “I rent what I need and take mental possession of it.”
For more information on you and your Bond Car read the Q BRANCH chapter in How to Live the James Bond Lifestyle. And if you ever get in trouble on the road, ask yourself; ‘What would James Bond do?' And the answer will come back:
He would improvise, adapt and overcome. And that’s what you will do.