What are as stunning as the women Bond has not-so-lasting relations with? His cars. Some — like the quintessential DB5 — we worship; others — the horrid AMC Hornet X Sedan, for example — are as tempting as having your privates divided by a laser beam. We decided to take a closer look at the definitive, the utterly awful and everything in between, all while selecting alternative rides that we think were worthy as secret agent transportation — for both the clunkers and the greats.
See the good, the bad and the ugly (along with our personal picks for MI-6) after the jump.
What Bond Drove: Aston Martin DB5
Goldfinger, 1964; Thunderball, 1965; Skyfall, 2012
The production version of the British grand tourer was once called “the most famous car in the world”, and its regal lines, gorgeous wire wheels and signature Aston grille back up that label. Okay, so its 0-60 time was around 8 seconds — slightly slower than a 2013 Hyundai Elantra — but the DB5 is all panache. It’s as beautiful today as it was in 1964, and the dollars prove it: one of the two cars used in Goldfinger was auctioned off in 2010 for a whopping $4.6 million. The DB5 is so good and so Bond that it makes a return in the 23rd and latest Bond film; though we probably won’t see a front-to-rear weight-ratio-killing bullet shield.
Should Have Driven: 1964 Jaguar E-Type Coupe
Still bloody British and arguably better looking than the DB5, the Jaguar E-Type is about as cool as they come. Connery would’ve been smashing in it — not that the E-Type needed more recognition in the automotive world. But it’s really the only logical replacement for the Aston. Plus, it drives the ladies crazy, just like Monsieur Bond.
What Bond Drove: Toyota 2000GT
You Only Live Twice, 1967
With its huge driving lights and slippery curves, the 2000GT is one of our favorite non-Brit cars in the lineup — and it’s a true automotive icon as the first real Japanese sports car. Though Toyota never built a production convertible of the 2000GT, two were built for the movie (largely because Sean Connery was too tall for the hardtop). Okay, so the limited production Japanese supercar was primarily driven by Mr. Bond’s girlfriend; it’s still one of the stars of the movie and is remembered as a standout limited-production sports car, not just for its time, but for any era.
Should Have Driven: Mazda Cosmo Sport 110
Though it’s not quite as eye-catching as the 2000GT and shares a name with a publication that’s very un-Bond, the Cosmo had its own sophisticated style, plus it looked like a Japanese Maserati. The European influence is unmistakable, and it’s still from the Land of the Rising Sun. Check. Double check.
What Bond Drove: AMC Hornet X
The Man With the Golden Gun, 1974
Yes, we know. It did the famous “corkscrew jump” over a broken bridge; but that was a beefed-up version of the car. It had all the styling of a slightly used bar of soap, and the “racing” stripe did nothing except highlight its snooze-inducing shape. Though we know that the Hornet was a hastily chosen getaway car for Roger Moore’s Bond, it still strikes us as far less than 007 material. Having Sheriff J. W. Pepper as a passenger was the used-lot frosting on this automotive cake.
Should Have Driven: AMC Javelin AMX
The Javelin pumped out 401 horsepower through its “Go Rally Package” V8, making it bonafide American muscle, and it looked damned awesome, too. Okay, so it’s still an American Motors Corporation product, but at least this masculine pony car doesn’t look like the offspring of a Chevy Vega and an AMC Gremlin.
What Bond Drove: Lotus Esprit S1
The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977
Roger Moore’s Lotus was definitely one of the best parts of the movie — and the fact that it turned into a submarine with a built-in periscope and front-mounted torpedoes made it a gadget geek’s “wet” dream. The Esprit easily ranks as one of the coolest vehicles in our childhood memory banks; this despite an underwater speed that probably measured in negative knots.
Should Have Driven: Porsche 928
We know it’s not British, but as the then-touted replacement to the Porsche 911, it looked like nothing else on the road. Its slickness is all Bond, even with the protruding bug-eyed headlights. Plus, the teardrop shape would add a bit of speed in submarine mode.
What Bond Drove: Range Rover Classic Convertible
Hmm… the thought of a Range Rover Classic Octopussy Edition has merit. Wait. We’ve banished that thought forever. The chop-top SUV looked like a crappy British version of an International Harvester Scout, and it fit the part of Roger Moore’s horse-trailer-toting wagon perfectly (but that’s not meant to be a compliment). If you’re Bond, maybe you shouldn’t drive something that makes you look like a dandy. At least he ditched the yellow ascot after driving it to the pony show.
Should Have Driven: Jeep CJ8 Scrambler
Substantially more rugged looking than the wussified Range Rover; plus, it’ll pull the teeth out of Jaws (the villian and the shark).
What Bond Drove: Aston Martin Vantage Volante
The Living Daylights, 1987
Nearly as beautiful as the DB5 but definitely more muscular, the Vantage Volante upstaged Timothy Dalton — as if that were a difficult task. Fully gadgeted with tire spikes, outrigger skis, a rocket booster and lasers in the wheel hubs, the Vantage Volante was one of Bond’s better automotive choices and about as lethal as Xenia Onatopp’s thighs.
Should Have Driven: Jensen Interceptor Mark III Convertible
A proper British drop-top with a big 7.2-liter Chrysler V8, the Interceptor Mark III would fit right in with Bond’s need for style and power. Plus, it was a bit cheaper than the Vantage Volante, so Q wouldn’t have had a massive coronary over the self-destruct-mode scene.
What Bond Drove: Lincoln Mark VII LSC
License to Kill, 1989
If you happen to be a jet-setting retiree who loves a rousing game of Yahtzee, this is clearly the car for you. Not so much for an MI-6 Agent. Whoever chose this as one of Bond’s rides should be slapped with a pair of wet Depends. The Mark VII was distinctly American but also distinctly the size of a barn house, with the sophistication to match.
Should Have Driven: Chevrolet Corvette C4
Again, if you’re going to showcase an American car, you might as well throw down some muscle. The C4 was hugely desirable with its long hood, clean lines and enough horsepower to shred Blofeld’s cat. It was a revolutionary Corvette design, and at least looked like a down-home car Mr. Bond might actually want to drive.
What Bond Drove: BMW Z3
The little BMW roadster sure was a cute little car, for chicks… and for Pierce Brosnan’s lilty hair. Any man worth half his weight in testosterone would rather just ride a bicycle, quickly. Sure, it’s all about automotive brand placement (sigh), and the Z3 was a truly unique design for its time, but how about something with a bit more chutzpah? We’re just thankful the car got all of about two minutes of screen time. Was Bond drinking a latté whilst puttering along?
Should Have Driven: Mercedes SL600
6.0-liter V12 with nearly 400 horses. The beefy Merc flagship certainly had the kind of thrust to impress Izabella Scorupco’s Natalya Simonova. Plus, we’re pretty sure the Z3 fits in the SL600’s engine compartment, and at least that would hide the BMW’s powder blue hue.
What Bond Drove: Ford Mondeo
Casino Royale, 2006
007 probably needed a rental car in the Bahamas, so he got stuck with a family sedan. It’s like trading his vodka martini for a Zima (Gold). Ford’s euro-spec kiddie hauler isn’t a bad car, but he might as well have been driving to get groceries and feminine hygiene products rather than to a tropical resort paradise for high-stakes poker.
Should Have Driven: BMW M3 CSL
The limited-edition, lightweight version of BMW’s sports coupe got a 17 horsepower bump up from the standard European M3’s 338 and with a carbon fiber roof, a stupendous set of wheels and racing seats, the CSL is so good that it just might make Bond hesitate (for a second) about jumping even into the stellar DBS.
What Bond Drove: Aston Martin DBS
Casino Royale, 2006; Quantum of Solace, 2008
The V12-powered DBS is certainly an excellent choice for Daniel Craig’s tougher, more masculine, but still very sophisticated 007. Aston Martin’s flagship, replete with Walther PPK gun compartment and built-in defibrillator, was fast, sonorous and one glorious car to behold. Sadly, it was mashed to hell in both films, but did its part in some fantastic stunt work and one of the best chase scenes in recent memory.
What Bond should’ve driven: TVR Sagaris
Though the originally Lancashire, UK-based automaker is now defunct, its Sagaris was one of the most eye-catching cars of its time. Enough vents to suck up small rodents, and 380 horsepower made it a serious sports car, indeed.
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