The best James Bond 007 cars

James Bond Die Another Day Aston Martine

Dave Morley

Posted November 09, 2021


James Bond's slickest sidekick has always been the beautifully bulletproof and ejector-seated machines that have helped propel his career.

The latest in a long line of James Bond movies, No Time to Die, is finally hitting cinemas this week. While it will apparently be Daniel Craig's last round having his martinis shaken not stirred, it has been a long overdue wait to see both Bond and his magnificent new wheels in motion.

To give 007 fans their four-wheeled fix ahead of the premiere, here’s a look back at the greatest Bond cars to hit the silver screen. Will No Time To Die be one to remember? 


Aston Martin DB5 - Goldfinger (1964)

This is without a doubt the car that got car lovers interested in Bond films. The most famous of all 007’s wheels over the past six decades, the DB5 was a great choice for an action character renowned for nerves of steel, fearlessness and an eye for beauty. Ian Fleming’s novel that gave us the 1964 Goldfinger film did, in fact, have Bond in an Aston Martin, but it wasn’t the gadget-laden Swiss-Army-Car that Sean Connery eventually drove on the silver screen.

Gadgets? Oh yes, and who can forget the scene in Goldfinger where Q implores Bond to “Pay attention please” as he explains the workings of the ejection seat. Beyond the pyrotechnic passenger’s seat, the Aston featured villain-beating tech such as machine guns mounted in the bumperbar, tyre shredders, radar, bulletproof glass and shields and revolving number plates. The DB5 was also capable of producing everything from a smoke screen to an oil slick to put pursuers off the scent.

The DB5’s appeal was so strong, it spanned the decades itself, appearing in subsequent Bond films including Thunderball (1965), Goldeneye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), Casino Royale (2006) and Skyfall (2012). It also spanned Bonds, from Connery and Pierce Brosnan to today’s Daniel Craig. One of the four DB5s built for Goldfinger fetched an astounding $9.4 million at auction last year, even though it never appeared in the film. It was a promotional vehicle that toured the US to promote the next Bond film, Thunderball, in 1965.

Aston Martin Goldfinger

James Bond pictured with the Aston Martin DB5. Image: Alamy. 


 

Toyota 2000GT - You Only Live Twice (1967)

Set in Japan, it made sense for Bond to drive a Japanese car for You Only Live Twice. Of course, Japan wasn’t exactly known for its exotic performance cars back then, but Toyota’s limited-edition 2000GT was deemed the most likely candidate, having been unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show of 1965.

Perhaps it was the visual resemblance to the Jaguar E-Type, but it soon became obvious that the 2000GT was a good choice. With one crucial stumbling block: Sean Connery, at 188 centimetres tall, didn’t fit in the Toyota. Specifically, he couldn’t make entry and egress the simple, elegant matter it should have been for an international man of mystery. So the studio came up with a neat solution for the two examples used in filming: Chop off the car’s roof and make it a convertible. That’s why the 007 version of the 2000GT is the only roofless one. All the other production cars – all 351 of them – were hardtop coupes. The tonneau cover was cleverly styled to make the Bond cars look like they had a convertible roof.

The car itself is still regarded as Japan’s first true performance car and was even compared with the iconic Porsche 911 back in the day. Its abilities, rarity, place in Japanese history and the Bond factor have combined to make the 2000GT the most collectible Japanese car in the world, with prices now comfortably north of a million US dollars.

 

The Toyota 2000GT from Japan.

The Toyota 2000GT from Japan featured in You Only Live Twice. Image: Alamy. 


 

Lotus Esprit - The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Roger Moore’s rather camp Bond doesn’t always stack up too well against the earlier suave hardman of Connery’s nor the later, brooding 007 of Daniel Craig. But Moore’s transport for The Spy Who Loved Me must rate as one of the most memorable, outrageous Bond-mobiles ever to roll out of Q’s MI5 workshop.

The Lotus Esprit played its trump card during the obligatory chase scene in which a helicopter full of bad guys pursue Bond and his passenger, the stunning Barbara Bach, off the end of a pier over a lake. But instead of sinking like a stone, the Lotus shuttered its windows, sprouted fins and magically became a submarine, allowing Bond to pick off the remaining bad guys in frogman suits and make good his escape.

The submarine version of the Lotus is not based on a car at all, even though it uses the Lotus’ fibreglass bodyshell. Nor is it even a submarine in the classic sense. In fact, the unit used for the exterior underwater shots was essentially a platform crewed by two operators in scuba gear as the vehicle (nicknamed Wet Nellie) filled with water once beneath the surface. It used electric motors which allowed for forward motion only and was piloted by an ex-US Navy SEAL. The car spent a decade hidden in a storage unit in New York before being auctioned and bought by none other than Tesla founder Elon Musk in 2013.

Roger Moore’s Lotus Esprit in The Spy Who Loved Me.

Roger Moore’s Lotus Esprit in The Spy Who Loved Me. Image: Alamy. 


 

Aston Martin Vanquish - Die Another Day (2002)

Although its chances were not harmed by the original Bond Aston Martin of 40 years earlier, the V12 Vanquish was another natural choice for a Bond car with its sweeping profile and debonair looks. A little strange, then, that its party trick was to literally disappear, turning those sexy body-lines into a shimmering, ghostly suggestion of a car thanks to the on-board cloak of invisibility developed by Q and his mates.

Actually, the almost-not-there outline of the car was a cleverly executed piece of special-effects work, adding to the plot as well by giving Bond’s position away when a hapless baddie crashes his snowmobile into the stationary (but invisible) Aston. The ensuing chase on a frozen body of water would have lost a lot of its impact had the Vanquish remained invisible.

But in a most timely fashion, the pursuing green Jaguar convertible used its on-board thermal-imaging camera and machine guns to damage the invisibility field to the extent that Bond and the Vanquish were suddenly very visible to both their pursuers and the cameras. Like all classic Bond cars, the Vanquish fairly bristled with spy standards such as machine guns, torpedo launchers and, of course, an ejection seat.

Aston Martin Vanquish featured in Die Another Day

The Aston Martin Vanquish featured in Die Another Day. Image: Alamy. 


 

Citroen 2CV - For Your Eyes Only (1981)

Though back officially with another Lotus Esprit (a Turbo this time) Roger Moore’s Bond is forced to resort to a ‘borrowed’ Citroen 2CV when the Lotus self destructs at the hands of the bad guys. As a stand-in, the Citroen was not fitted with gadgets, high performance parts or anything else from the House of Q, instead it made do with sheer pluck.

In the chase scene, the 2CV rolls twice and performs a huge jump, despite being savagely battered on the way down a mountain road by a pair of Peugeot 504s driven by villains. With not a straight panel left on it by the end of the scene, the Citroen nevertheless manages to see off the black-hats and motors on its way, offering Bond the opportunity to introduce himself properly to his off-sider, Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet). The brave little Citroen was such a hit that Citroen produced a 007 Special Edition of the 2CV, complete with yellow and bullethole decals.

The Citroen 2CV from For Your Eyes Only

The Citroen 2CV from For Your Eyes Only. Image: Alamy. 


 

Aston Martin Valhalla - No Time To Die (2021)

So what will Daniel Craig drive in his last Bond film? While the No Time To Die trailer shows a heavy Aston Martin presence (including the original DB5) it’s believed Aston’s hypercar, the Valhalla (below), will also feature. If so, it seems Bond is going green as the Valhalla uses hybrid technology with a Formula 1 V6 engine and electric motor.

But only so green – early reports that Bond would drive the Rapide E, Aston Martin’s first all-electric car, seem to have been premature.

The Valhalla may be featured in No Time To Die.

The Valhalla is set to make a cameo in the latest Bond film, No Time To Die. Image: Alamy. 


 


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