4-Car Top 10 Bond Cars

Cars, and car chases, have been an intrinsic part of the glamour of James Bond since the film series began in 1962 with Dr No, although it was the Aston Martin DB5 that really set the ball rolling in 1964 with an arsenal of gadgets that captured the imagination of boys large and small all over the world. Nearly 40 years on you can still buy a James Bond Aston Martin. The impact of that car has proved difficult to beat and most subsequent attempts to ‘do a Bond car ‘have descended, like the films themselves, into parody.
Not all of the cars Bond has used have been up-market – 2CV’s, Renault 11’s and three-wheeled Indian taxi’s have all featured – but currently BMW seems to have the franchise. Would Ian Fleming have approved of his British agent driving a German car? I doubt it.

1. Sunbeam Alpine: Dr No
In his first outing Bond starts off modestly with a hired Sunbeam Alpine that features in a dramatic car chase along rough Jamaican mountain roads, pursued by unsavoury assassins in a pre-war Packhard hearse which doesn’t look as if its enjoying being thrown around corners too much. Inevitably it gets trashed when it careers off the road down the side of the mountain. Look out also for the ’57 Chevrolet convertible and the MkII Ford Consul taxi.

2. Derby Bentley: From Russia With Love
For Bond purists this is the best of the series and features only low key gadgets like an exploding brief case. Bond doesn’t even drive but gets chauffeured around in a Rolls Royce Silver Wraith and Ford Fairlane station wagon. What we do see briefly is the Derby Bentley (which is what he drove in the books) fitted with a radio telephone to bring it up to date.

3. Aston Martin DB5: Goldfinger and Thunderball
This car needs little introduction. Fitted with machine guns, radar, a rear bullet shield and that famous ejector seat it is still the most famous piece of hardware in the Bond armoury. In Goldfinger it expires against a brick wall after an exciting tear-up with a brace of black 220 Mercedes saloons but is revived for a brief appearance in Thunderball where it blasts baddies with a powerful jet of water in the pre-title sequence. Four were built. Two for filming and two for promotional work.

4. Toyota 2000GT: You Only Live Twice
Toyota built this convertible version of their exotic 2000GT because Connery wouldn’t fit in the coupe and, in anycase, it made filming rather easier. In the film the only gadget is a TV monitor: the Corgi version had rocket launchers. Two were made for the film: Toyota has one in its museum but the other has disappeared.

5. Aston Martin DBS: On Her Majesty’s Secret service
For the new Bond – George Lazenby – a new Aston, the DBS. The green car features mainly in the pre credit sequence and at the end of the film after Bond marries Diana Rigg who gets shot through the cars windscreen by Blofled’s female side kick from the side window of a speeding Mercedes 600. From an action point of view this is actually one of the best Bond films and Lazenby, who had only ever done chocolate commercials before getting the job, looked the part in a way the Roger Moore somehow never did. Look out for Miss Rigg’s Mercury Cougar.

6. Diamonds are Forever: Mustang Mach 1
Mustangs pop-up frequently in Bond films – early models featured in both Goldfinger and Thunderball – and here the massive Mach I shows its paces in Bonds most dramatic car chase to date out-wittingly the inept Las Vegas Police as he drives over the roofs of parked cars and goes on two wheels down a narrow back alley. There is a memorable moon buggy chase too and a brief appearance of a then new Triumph Stag. Connery returned for a 1 million-dollar fee for this one and donated the money to the Scottish National Party. Never quite got himself together to go and live in Scotland though. Funny that.

7. Lotus Esprit: The Spy Who Loved me
The Lotus Esprit and its under-water exploits are second only to the DB5 in the Bond car hall of fame. To escape a rocket-equipped Helicopter Bond – now played for laughs by bouffant Roger Moore – drives the Esprit off a pier into the sea where it transforms into a submarine at the flick of a switch and blows-up the helicopter with its own rockets.  More underwater action ensues until Bond emerges victorious on a beach full of holidaymakers. Six cars were used to film this sequence. A turbo Esprit featured in For Your eyes only in 1981. The Bond genre was in decline now: the Title song was belted-out by, er, Sheena Easton?

8. Aston Martin V8: The Living Daylights.
Moore had retired now to make way for Shakespearean actor Timothy Dalton, who always looked rather embarrassed to be doing it. To give him some much needed gravitas producer Chubby Broccoli brought the Aston Martin back, not in the slender form of the DB5 but dinosaur-like V8. With its rocket launchers, spiked tyres, laser tyre slashers and ski’s it certainly came fully equipped but didn’t have the charm of the original. Something about Bond didn’t sit comfortably in the eighties and if you judge a Bond film by the artist that did the theme song, well, you’ll remember this one with a cringe: A-Ha…

9. BMW Z3:Goldeneye
BMW were more than happy to supply their effete roadster for a walk-on role in the first Bond film for six years. The car hadn’t even been released when it appeared in the film but occupied just a few minutes of screen time. More memorable is the return of the DB5 which features in a wild chase at the start of Goldeneye and serves as feel good factor to smooth the introduction of a new actor – the oily Pierce Brosnan.

10. BMW Z8: The world is Not enough.
More crass product placement for BMW with its new flagship retro roadster the Z8 which, again, was still only a prototype when the film was being made. The cars used in the film were actually highly accurate replicas based on Chevrolet powered Cobra kit cars built in the UK!

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