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License to thrill: A look at James Bond’s most iconic cars

Ahead of the Spectre, here’s a look at the fifty-three year old of legacy of James Bond cars, which includes Aston Martins, BMWs, Lotuses and Jaguars.

hollywood Updated: Nov 19, 2015 21:16 IST
HT Correspondent
Sean Connery with the Aston Martin DB5. The car became as iconic as the British secret agent 007.
Sean Connery with the Aston Martin DB5. The car became as iconic as the British secret agent 007. (Twitter)

Fifty-three years since the first James Bond movie, the legendary British secret service agent is unimaginable without his gadgets and the cars, which often get wings and fins to help 007 get away with ease.

So here are the top drives of agent 007:

SUNBEAM ALPINE (1962)

In 1962, when James Bond drove that lake blue Sunbeam Alpine, little did he or the makers of Bond films know that his cars would attain such legendary stardom.

The drive through the Blue Mountains to Miss Taro’s place was a rough one, but Agent 007 managed to kill the henchmen tailing with ease and as the chase ends, Bond makes a swag statement: “I think they were on the way to a funeral.”

ASTON MARTIN DB5 (1964)

The DB badge on Aston Martin cars became the ‘signature on wheels’ by James Bond, lasting 11 films and over 50 years. Here’s a scene from the 1964 movie Goldfinger when Q asks Bond to pay attention and Bond, (not attentive here, like always), matches the perfect timing with the perfect gadgetry his car when in difficulty:

The car became iconic and was brought back in Thunderball (1965), Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, Casino Royale (2006, Quantum of Solace (2008) and Skyfall (2012), with upgrades like adaptive camouflage, rear water cannons, more guns and missiles.

TOYOTA 2000GT (1967)

In the 1967-movie You Only Live Twice, when Bond is attacked on his way out of Osato Chemicals, Aki drives in to his rescue in a 1967 Toyota 2000GT, and an amazing chase with gunshots follows. To fit the 6-feet 2-inch-tall Sean Connery, Toyota cut off the hardtop of the car, to also let Mr Bond show off his gadgets, including a video-calling screen. The chase ends as Tiger Tanaka arranges to airlift the tailing car.

FORD MUSTANG (1971)

On a condition that Ford provides all the cars destroyed in this very famous Las Vegas chase scene, the makers of 1971 Diamonds Are Forever agreed to 007 driving the Ford Mustang Mach 1 (1971). The car, not from Q-branch but of Tiffany Case, makes a great tricky mischief with the Vegas cops until Bond tilts it through a small gap through a dead end and lose them.

AMC HORNET X (1974)

In 1974, Agent 007 steals a car from an AMC showroom in order to chase ‘The Man with The Golden Gun’ Francisco Scaramanga who has kidnapped Ms Goodnight. While Scaramanga manages to trick and dodge the Bond car in the Bangkok countryside, Bond, with Sheriff JW Pepper in his passenger seat, maneuvers this incredible flip around across a canal. SERIOUSLY! Watch it to believe it!

LOTUS ESPRIT S1 (1977)

In the 1977-movie The Spy Who Loved Me, Q-branch hands over to Mr Bond the keys of a white 1976 Lotus Esprit S1. With Barbara Bach in the passenger seat, the sexy car is soon chased by Karl Stromberg’s powerful right hand Jaws in a car and another henchman with a bike attached with a missile-laden sidecar.

The chase ends with Bond asking Agent Amasova (Bach) “Can you swim?” and the car takes a dive. What happens next?

FYI, the white car Esprit and the submarine were separate machines and not a single convertible. While the former was a Lotus Cars-product, the “amphibious” car was from Perry Oceanographic Inc. developed especially for this one.

Today, Tesla Motors’ top boss Elon Musk owns the car-cum-sub ‘Wet Nellie’ and plans to bring the Q-branch technology to life.

CITROEN 2CV (1981)

For Your Eyes Only (1981) featured this not-so-great Citroen 2CV which comes to Bond’s rescue after his Lotus Esprit Turbo is self-destructed. Bond is seen driving this a funny yellow car more straight down the hilly slope than on a flat road. It even flips midway but is flipped back. How? Check this one out:

BMW Z3 (1995)

Though the British Aston Martins saved the British Secret Service agent from many breathtaking but unsuccessful chases, the German engineering impressed Q, which is why he gave Pierce Brosnan in 1995 a BMW Z3, equipped with “all-points radar, self-destruct system and all the usual refinements”.

Despite all these, the car makes only a cameo in this scene where Bond leaves this BMW Z3 to take the light aircraft. His “Bond girl” asks: “What’s with you and moving vehicles?” The answer is simple.

The product placement, a screen-time of less than two minutes, worked well for BMW which took over a year to fulfill its 15,000 bookings, while BMW 750 with a remote control was deployed in the next Bond movie in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997).

ASTON MARTIN DBS V12 (2006)

One thing for sure - Q won’t like this. But he had to save her! Wait. What’s wrong?

In the 2006 flick Casino Royale, watch how one of the most special cars in the world sacrificed itself saving the Bond girl tied up in the middle of the road:

ASTON MARTIN DB10 (2015)

No one knows what’s inside this one until Q himself tells us. But this one roars to scare… scare even the SPECTRE! And with cutting-edge metal from the core to the skin, this definitely has the “License to Kill”!

Bonus scene from Licence To Kill (1989)

This does not fit in this list of Bond cars, but we got it here! Just like his charm over girls, Bond also cast his spell over this truck as well. And at the end of everything, the name the stays is Bond, James Bond!