The British spy turns 50 this week and in that time he’s managed to drive quite a collection of cars, we rate his best.
1. Aston Martin DB5 – Goldfinger
How could it not be number one? It is the Bond car, so much so that since its debut in Goldfinger it has appeared in four more films; Thunderball, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies and Casino Royale.
It was the first Bond car to feature the now compulsory gadgets; including a bulletproof screen, rotating numberplates and an ejector seat.
Up until its appearance in Goldfinger Bond was actually a Bentley man in Ian Fleming’s books, and was briefly seen with one in From Russia With Love.
It will be back playing a major role in the newest instalment Skyfall due for release next month.
2. Lotus Esprit S1 – The Spy Who Loved Me
When Bond ditched Aston Martin in the seventies fellow British brand Lotus stepped in. By 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me the gadgets were in full swing and the Lotus pulled off one of the most spectacular transformations in the Bond series – it turned into a submarine.
To escape the bad guys (well, actually it was a bad girl) Bond drove the Lotus into the Med and pulled out the Esprit’s next party trick, launching an anti-aircraft missile to destroy the villain’s helicopter.
3. Aston Martin DBS – Quantum of Solace
When the franchise was re-booted in 2006 with Casino Royale Bond was delivered a shiny new DBS – at the time Aston Martin’s fastest and most expensive model. He promptly destroyed it trying to get his lover back with a world record number of rolls.
For the next movie, Quantum of Solace, it didn’t take long for the DBS bodycount to increase as Bond fended off bad guys in a fleet of Alfa Romeos with a punishing car chase through the Italian Riviera.
Interestingly the latest Bond car did without any of the gadgets its predecessors were famous for.
Given Bond’s recent form with Aston Martins let’s hope he’s more careful with the DB5 in Skyfall.
4. BMW 750iL – Tomorrow Never Dies
German car maker BMW pay big bucks to get Bond to dump British cars (and his patriotism) and drive its Ultimate Driving Machines.
His first Beemer was a Z3 convertible in GoldenEye but that only had a few minutes of screentime. And besides, it was a particularly tough car for a manly British spy to drive.
Fortunately for the next movie, Tomorrow Never Dies, he’d upgraded to a more appropriate 7-Series which featured some of the best gadgets in the series history.
Bond was able to outwit (and explode) the bad guys thanks to his mobile phone that could control the car. Our hero was able to stretch out in the back seat and unleash rockets and tyre spikes to confound his attackers.
5. AMC Hornet – The Man with the Golden Gun
It’s not a great car. It wasn’t involved in an exciting chase. It didn’t even have any gadgets. But what the Hornet did do was one of the most unforgettable stunts ever committed to film – a corkscrew jump across a river.
If they made the movie now they’d just use computer trickery but in 1974 that wasn’t an option. Instead, a stuntman only needed one take in the specially modified car to nail the jump.
Christopher Lee’s villain also had a memorable Bond-mobile, his AMC Matador coupe transformed into a plane; allowing him to escape despite Bond’s spectacular jump.
6. Aston Martin V8 Vantage – The Living Daylights
This was Bond’s return to Aston Martin after an 18 year break. And it was back with a vengeance featuring a full array of gadgets that harked back to the DB5.
Which was handy because Bond needed to escape the police and army in a snowy chase in Slovakia. The Aston comes complete with outriggers, spiked tyres, laser in the wheel and a rocket booster.
It also had a self-destruct system meaning it didn’t enjoy the same longevity as the DB5.
7. Jaguar XKR – Die Another Day
Not technically a ‘Bond car’ because it was driven by a villain but it was one of the few highlights of the otherwise forgettable Die Another Day.
Bond’s Aston Martin Vanquish had to do battle with the evil Zao and his machine gun, missile and mortar equipped Jag.
And to make life more difficult the pair fought spectacularly across a frozen lake, making it one of the most spectacular chase sequences in the series’ history.
8. Renault 11 – View To A Kill
Bond didn’t have much attachment to his expensive Aston Martin and Lotus company cars so when he stole a taxi driver’s Renault 11 you knew it wasn’t in for an easy ride.
Sure enough Bond destroyed the car as he chased Grace Jones’ character across Paris. First he throws it down some stairs, jumps across a bus, before knocking its roof off (making it a convertible) and then smashing it in half.
By the time he’s travelled halfway across Paris he’s left with two-wheels, an engine and a seat.
9. Ford Mustang Mach 1 – Diamonds Are Forever
When in Rome... or more actually, when in Las Vegas. Bond ditches British wheels for a taste of American pony cars in this 1971 instalment.
He manages to evade the bad guys with the help of his V8, fastback Mustang and one of the most famous bloopers in movie history.
As he attempts to evade his pursuers Bond tips the ‘Stang on two wheels and squeezes through two buildings and manages to come out the other side on the opposite two wheels!
10. Russian T55 Battle Tank – GoldenEye
Gadgets are all well and good but sometimes you just need brute strength. In one of the most mismatched chase sequences Bond commanders a Russian army tank and sets off in pursuit of the bad guys driving a Lada.
Naturally there is plenty of carnage, but Bond is still able to squeeze in some product placement by driving through a Perrier truck.