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James Bond: The Cars that Maketh the Secret Agent

Along with the high-tech gadgets, James Bond 007 cars have almost taken on a life of their own. From the iconic Aston Martin DB5 to the latest Range Rover Sport SVR; the superspy has driven his way through many classic cars (and one motorcycle) over the past 60 years, since the franchise was launched.

While many Bond cars can be purchased for personal use, don’t expect the ejector seat and other gadgets! Our guide to the cars driven by the secret agent will take a look at the mean machines he has owned since the first Bond movie, Dr No, was released in 1962.

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  1. Sunbeam Alpine Series II

The first-ever Bond car, the Sunbeam Alpine Series II, made history in Dr No, in 1962. Starring Sean Connery as 007; filming took place in London and Jamaica, around Kingston, near James Bond creator Ian Fleming’s estate at Oracabessa Bay, on the north coast.

The crew borrowed the car from a local Jamaican resident, as it was the best sports car they could locate in the local area. With Lake Blue paintwork, the open-top sports car looked like a Bond car, but it didn’t have the gadgets fans would come to expect from the later vehicles.

With a relatively small 1.6-litre petrol engine with 80 bhp, it was one of the slowest cars Bond ever drove – top speed was around 100 mph. However, it has a place in Bond history because it was the first car he drove.

During a chase scene, he drove the Alpine at high speeds to escape from Dr No’s henchmen, before eventually making his getaway by driving under a large crane in true Bond style.

  1. Aston Martin DB5

The Aston Martin is the car most people associate with James Bond, with the famous DB5 making an appearance in the 1964 film, Goldfinger, again starring Connery. It was almost fresh off the production line when it first appeared in the film.

It was so popular that it reappeared in Thunderball in 1965, Goldeneye in 1995, Tomorrow Never Dies in 1997, Casino Royale in 2006, Skyfall in 2012, Spectre in 2015 and No Time to Die in 2021. The car purred along with its 4-litre engine and a power output of up to 325 bhp.

Unlike Bond’s first car, the Aston Martin had plenty of gadgets including 303 Browning machine guns behind the front lights, rotating number plates, a smoke-screen unit, bullet-proof windows and steel-plated bodywork, an oil ejecting device, a passenger ejector seat, an M134 mini-gun, water cannons, mines hidden in the back bumper and a champagne refrigerator – obviously!

  1. Aston Martin DBS

The Aston Martin DBS made its first appearance in the 1968 bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, starring George Lazenby, in his one and only performance as 007. It played a crucial role in the action, appearing at the beginning and the end, as well as throughout the film.

It returned in Diamonds are Forever, in 1971, when Connery played Bond. For its second outing, the 4-litre sports car was equipped with missiles in gadget man Q’s lab! Essential add-ons included a telescopic rifle in a secret section of the glove compartment.

If you were looking to buy a 2022 Aston Martin DBS today, it retails at around £248,000.

  1. Aston Martin V12 Vanquish

The Aston Martin V12 Vanquish was the 5-litre supercar in Die Another Day in 2002, starring Pierce Brosnan as 007. John Cleese played Q, who kitted the V12 out with an invisibility cloak, making it miraculously disappear from sight. Unfortunately, fans weren’t thrilled with this latest feature and felt it was a little too unlikely and even silly!

However, the car appeared in an epic chase sequence, made interesting because Bond activated the invisibility cloak, but his foe was using thermal imaging to track its movements. Gadgets, apart from being invisible, included auto-targeting machine guns and an ejector seat.

  1. Toyota 2000 GT

In 1967, James Bond went to Japan for You Only Live Twice, where he drove the limited-edition Japanese supercar, the Toyota 2000 GT. It was a hard-top originally, but a customised model was equipped with an open-top, apparently to accommodate Connery’s 6 ft 2 ins height.

The limited-edition supercar was produced between 1967 and 1970, but only 351 were made. It was a joint project between Toyota and Yamaha and featured a 2-litre engine and five-speed manual gearbox.

Provided by Q, gadgets included miniature CCTV, cameras behind the licence plates at the front and rear and a voice-controlled tape recorder, which was pretty high tech in the ’60s!

  1. BMW Z8

Featuring titanium armour plating, built-in missile controls, torpedoes, jet propulsion, autonomous driving, remote control and a dive function; the BMW Z8 was 007’s car in The World is Not Enough in 1999.

The car had a 5-litre, 400 bhp, V8 engine and six-speed manual gearbox. Produced between 1999 and 2003, it had a top speed of 168 mph. It did 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds and had innovative neon exterior lighting.

Sadly, the stunning car came to a sad end in the film: it was sliced in half in Azerbaijan by villains in a helicopter equipped with tree-cutting saws.

  1. Range Rover Sport SV

The latest Bond car was the Range Rover Sport SV, which appeared in the 2021 007 movie, No Time to Die, starring Daniel Craig as the superspy. Giving a whole new meaning to off-road driving, it slid through mud, tumbled down an embankment and veered off a rockface, before flying through the air!

Equipped with a turbocharged, supercharged and intercooled engine, it included direct fuel injection and an 8-speed automatic gearbox. Sadly, it ended being the latest in a long line of Bond’s expensive cars that were wrecked!

Despite the Bond franchise having a number of iconic and classic cars over the past 60 years, 007’s favourite car will always be the Aston Martin DB5 – the true star of most Bond films!

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