E3 Spark Plugs’ Picks – Best Bond Cars
In the newly released Skyfall, Agent 007′s longtime favorite – and one of ours here at E3 Spark Plugs – his Aston Martin DB5, makes yet another appearance in the decades-long James Bond film franchise. Debuting in 1964′s Goldfinger, the sleek silver stunner also graced the screen in Thunderball, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies and Casino Royale when Bond, played by Daniel Craig, wins the car back in a poker game with Alex Dimitros, an Albanian chess prodigy and villain.
The Goldfinger original was the first production DB5 built and underwent a gadget-heavy transformation by John Stears, known as the “Dean of Special Effects.” In a staggeringly dumb move, an Astin Martin employee ordered the original Bond car stripped of all its special equipment and rebuilt as a standard car to be sold to the next high-dollar Joe to come along in 1968. Fortunately for legions and generations of Bond fans, the next owner had all the gadget glory reinstalled.
Another fan favorite was the submersible Lotus Esprit S1 featured in 1977′s The Spy Who Loved Me.
Legend has it that the Lotus PR man got wind of a new Bond flick to be filmed at the Pinewood studios near London. So, he worked some PR magic and arranged to have an Esprit parked outside producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli’s office. Worked like a charm. One road car, plus a specially built submersible version and seven shells were ordered. Sadly, “Wet Nellie” ended up in a Bahamian scrap yard, painted red and covered in Christmas decorations. The Ian Fleming recovered it in 1993 and the original builder spent the next three months restoring it to its cinematic glory.
In 1985, the head-turning Bond ride was a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud ll in A View to a Kill, which Bond investigates a horse racing scam and a devious plan to set off an earthquake in San Andreas, wiping out California’s Silicon Valley. This silver beauty was producer Broccoli’s own personal car and we’re betting it took some smooth talking by director John Glen to allow use of the car. The arrangement proved a nerve-wracking one for actor Patrick Macnee, who played Sir Godfrey Tibbet and was tasked with safely driving the boss’ pricey car through narrow equestrian gates.
And then there’s that red AMC Hornet in 1974′s The Man With the Golden Gun. Just a mention of this one brings to mind one of the most memorable action sequences of the Bond franchise – a 40-foot barrel-roll jump over a Thai river in pursuit of villain Scaramanga, a freelance assassin with a slight obsession with Bond. The production car was widened by two inches and outfitted with a centralized steering wheel and floor-mounted automatic transmission for the stunt. Dressed in black and crouched down between dummies representing Roger Moore’s 007 and Clifton James’ Sheriff J.W. Pepper, legendary stuntman Bumps Willard actually performed the stunt.
So which is your favorite Bond car? Check this trailer for an upcoming Blue Ray release featuring a video montage of Bond car chases throughout the franchise’s history, then post your thoughts on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook fan page.