Live and Let Drive: 50 Years of Amazing James Bond Cars (All of Them)
By Ben Samuels
It’s been half a century since Sean Connery first brought James Bond to life on the silver screen. Since then, each new film excitedly raises three questions among fans. They are:
1. Who’s playing Bond?
2. Who’s the Bond girl? And perhaps most importantly…
3. What’s the Bond car?
From Connery’s modest light blue Sunbeam Alpine in Dr. No to a slew of extraordinary Aston Martins, we anxiously hop alongside 007 for the vicarious joyride of a lifetime with every film. The franchise is gearing up once again with the November 10th release of the 24th Bond film, Skyfall, which will feature the classic Aston Martin DB5, a Jaguar XJL, and the new Range Rover Evoque, among other stunning vehicles.
Each amazing automobile is a reflection of the man himself: classy, cool, powerful, and yet ultimately inaccessible. That’s where KoldCast TV’s Driving Sports comes into play. In this fun and informative new series, not only will you hop inside today’s hottest vehicles, you’ll take a ride alongside three best friends who know everything under the sun about cars and love nothing more than joyriding and riffing off one another.
You are watching the Pilot episode of Driving Sports
In honor of Skyfall’s spectacle and Driving Sports’ expertise, we’ve compiled every cool car (literally, every single one) that James Bond has ever driven over the past 50 years.
Dr. No – Sunbeam Alpine Series II (1962)
The first Bond car and perhaps the most modest, Bond drives the Sunbeam Alpine to Miss Taro’s home in the Blue Mountains where he is pursued by Dr. No’s thugs, who are piled into a LaSalle hearse.
From Russia with Love - Bentley Mark IV (1963)
Featured in the first scene, the Bentley Mark IV came equipped with only one gadget: a car phone, which in 1963 was very uncommon and exceedingly cool.
Goldfinger – Aston Martin DB5 (1964)
The most famous and frequently used Bond car was the Aston Martin DB5, featured in five Bond films: Goldfinger, Thunderball, Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, and Casino Royale. It will be back with a vengeance in the upcoming Skyfall.
Thunderball – Aston Martin DB5 (1965)
Used in tandem with a jetpack, Bond escapes the funeral of Colonel Jacques Bouvar in his Aston Martin DB5 after killing Bouvar, who was actually alive and disguised as his own window. Henry Ford II, grandson of the carmaker, appeared as an extra.
You Only Live Twice – Toyota 2000 GT Convertible (1967)
The GT is owned by the beautiful Japanese ninja agent, Aki. Toyota built two convertibles for the film, one of which is displayed at their Tokyo headquarters today.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – Aston Martin DBS (1969)
The Aston Martin DBS was seen in only four scenes of the film, including the prologue and in James’ and Tracy’s wedding. Nothing is known about what kind of gadgets were installed, except that it had a secret compartment for a sniper rifle in the glove box.
Diamonds Are Forever – Ford Mustang Mach 1 (1971)
In the famous Vegas car chase scene in Diamonds Are Forever, the Ford Mustang Mach 1 balances on two side wheels to drive through a narrow alley.
Live And Let Die – Corvorado (1973)
The Corvorado, a supped-up Cadillac Eldorado, is also known as the “Pimpmobile.” Enough said.
The Man with the Golden Gun – AMC Hornet (1974)
Bond steals a red 1974 hatchback Hornet from an AMC dealership in Thailand and makes his exit by crashing through the showroom window.
The Spy Who Loved Me - Lotus Esprit (1977)
Q delivers the Esprit to Bond in the Italian region of Sardinia. The car is capable of transforming into a submarine and comes equipped with anti-aircraft missiles. It’s on display at the National Motor Museum’s “Bond in Motion” exhibit in Beaulieu.
Moonraker – MP Lafer (1979)
As much of this polarizing Bond film famously takes place in space, car use is minimal. Of note is the MP Lafer convertible, which Lois Child’s Dr. Holly Goodhead takes for a spin, snapping some candid photos of Bond along the way.
For Your Eyes Only – Lotus Espirit Turbo / Citroen 2CV (1981)
Two Esprits are featured in For Your Eyes Only. The first, a white model driven by Bond in Spain, is destroyed when a bad guy trips its self-destruct system. The second is a red model driven by Bond at a ski resort in Northern Italy, which also self-destructs, forcing Bond to borrow his lady’s Citroen 2CV to make their escape.
Octopussy – Mercedes 250 SE (1983)
A stinger device in Octopussy tears off the tires on Bond’s Mercedes 250 SE, so he drives the car without them on railway tracks in pursuit of a circus train.
Never Say Never Again – 1937 Bentley Gurney Nutting (1983)
Bond famously remarks on his vintage 1937 Bentley Gurney Nutting that “they don’t make them like that anymore” in Never Say Never Again.
A View to a Kill – Renault 11 Taxi (1985)
Bond commandeers a Renault 11 Taxi and takes it on a chase through the streets of Paris. During the pursuit, the car’s roof is chopped off before the entire back half of the car is eventually ripped away.
The Living Daylights – Aston Martin DBS V8 Vantage (1987)
The convertible Aston Martin DBS V8 Vantage is later winterized with a hardtop. It comes with extending side outriggers, spike-producing tires, missiles, lasers, signal-intercepting smart radio, and rocket propulsion. It can also be prompted to self-destruct.
License to Kill – Kenworth W-900B (1989)
License to Kill took creative license with the Bond car. In its epic finale, Timothy Dalton pops a wheelie in a Kenworth big rig loaded with petrol and cocaine during a final chase sequence.
GoldenEye – BMW Z3 Roadster (1995)
Equipped with stinger missiles and other armaments, the BMW Z3 Roadster was only featured briefly and the gadgets were never used because the product placement deal with BMW was only reached during the last stages of the film’s production.
Tomorrow Never Dies – BMW 750IL (1997)
On loan to Bond by Q, this film’s BMW 750IL can be remotely controlled via cell phone.
The World Is Not Enough – BMW Z8 (1999)
The BMW Z8 is cut in half by a chopper after only firing one shot. Its screen time was short but sweet.
Die Another Day – Aston Martin V12 Vanquish (2002)
Perhaps one of the coolest Bond cars ever, the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish in Die Another Day comes equipped with front-firing rockets, hood-mounted target-seeking guns, spike-producing tires, and a passenger ejector seat. It was also memorably equipped with “adaptive camouflage” that rendered it invisible at the push of a button.
Casino Royale – Aston Martin DBS (2006)
The Aston Martin DBS set a Guinness World Record for flipping seven times mid-air during a car chase sequence in this film. A modified DB9 was actually used as the DBS was still in its final phases of design.
Quantum of Solace – Aston Martin DBS V12 (2008)
Six Aston Martins were destroyed during the production of Quantum of Solace, the first of which carried the captured villain from Casino Royale, Mr. White, in its trunk.
Skyfall – Aston Martin DB5 (2012)
The most famous James Bond car of all is making a triumphant return in the upcoming Skyfall. Though its exact role in the movie is under wraps, director Sam Mendes has spoken about the role it played in his own childhood and his love for the franchise.
Q: Will you need collision coverage?
Q: Property destruction?
Ben Samuels has worked in film development and production on both the studio and independent side. He’s currently a freelance writer, entrepreneur, actor, and self-described space nerd. Follow Ben on Twitter @bensamuels or on his tumblr, To be.