Chasing Classic Bond Cars
How can a car guy not like James Bond movies?
The cars in the movies could almost be listed as co-stars with all the gadgets and those chase scenes. But it didn’t start that way. James Bond’s first car was the modest ’62 Sunbeam Alpine Series II, in lake blue appearing in Dr. No (1962). Still it’s one of my favorites along with the following.
A ’71 Ford Mustang Mach 1 was the co-star in Diamonds Are Forever, (1971). Bond evaded the police in a chase through the streets of Las Vegas driving the Mustang Mach 1. Bond makes a wrong turn down a dead-end street with a police car right behind him. Dead-end for anybody else. With only a thin alleyway ahead, Bond drives up a ramp and puts the car on two wheels, driving right through.
Of course I’m going to add the AMC’s where a ’74 Hornet X Hatchback appeared in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), In the film’s landmark stunt, Bond spots an old collapsed bridge and does a 360 degree barrel roll over the river. Oh and don’t forget the AMC Matador Coupe that Scaramanga used to get away adding wings and then takes off like an airplane. In reality, the car didn’t have enough power to climb out so a radio control version was created. I’m thinking of making one myself. See both chase scenes here.
This was probably the biggest product placement ever for American Motors since Matador sedans were used by the Bangkok cops. The Hornet Bond drove on the streets is on display at The National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, UK. as part of a collection of Bond items owned by the Ian Flemming Foundation. I could not hunt down the one that made the jump which was specially modified. AMC had the flying Matador and used it for marketing purposes and where it went after that is anybody’s guess. Sure would look cool in my driveway though.
I loved the 76 Lotus Esprit S1 appearing in The Spy Who Loved Me (1976). In the chase scene, the Lotus transforms into a mini submarine, and shoots a sea-to-air missile the bad guys are toast. As cool as it was going into the water the scene where the Lotus transforms the vehicle back to a car and drives out of the sea onto a beach of unsuspecting tourists. Click on the image on the left to see the chase scene.
What are those movie cars worth?
There was a guy who had the submarine Lotus used in the movie trying a couple of time to sell it on Ebay for a million bucks! Surprise, no takers because it was a full-size model and not functional. There were actually several versions of the Lotus used in the chase scene. This one is a fully functional submarine sealed all around for underwater scenes and converted into a submarine. This Lotus, the only one of the two fully functioning Esprits, that had the missile launching button on the gear stick and the special revised housing for the clock/periscope screen sold for only $165,446 at a Bonhams’ auction in 2008.
In February this collection of 60 vehicles used in various James Bond films went up for sale for $33 million. Might be a great deal for a collector with deep pockets because included are six Aston Martin’s, including two DB5s, a vintage DBS, two V8s from For Your Eyes Only (including one with skis), and a Vanquish from Die Another Day, a Toyota 2000GT, 4 Lotus Esprit’s including a submarine prop, 2 BMW’s including a Z8 and a Mustang Mach 1 from Diamonds Are Forever.
A 1964 Aston Martin DB5 original movie car used in Goldfinger and Thunderball was sold by RM Auctions in 2010 for $4.6 million. At the same auction, was a British racing green 1965 Aston Martin DB5, sold for $385,000. Might not have had all the gadgets.
Fast forward to the newest Bond movie, Spectre, where the co-star will again be an Aston DB10. It was not just pulled off the assembly line, this one is special and a limited run of 10 cars that will be used for filming. For Aston Martin, and the James Bond franchise, this is a partnership that spans 50 years dating back to the appearance of a DB5 in 1964’s Goldfinger. If someone were able to get a hold of one of these cars after filming ends, what would it cost? A guess would be in the millions based on what other Bond movie cars I mentioned above.
My favorite Bond
Well why not. I like Sean Connery best since he was the original Bond and a great actor. Second is Roger Moore (1973-1985) followed by Pierce Brosnan (1995-2002). Daniel Craig is growing on me. So how about you? Who’s your fav and which was your favorite Bond car?