Triumph’s latest collaboration is two-wheeled art
Gear — 2 months
From wooing women to evading capture, the four-wheeled stars of the Bond films have become as iconic as the actors who have filled 007’s superspy shoes. Everything from Bentleys to BMWs have transported James Bond over the course of twenty-six films, with even more making appearances in the original novels. But, with so many beautiful motors making their marks on these productions, it can be difficult to choose a favourite. But don’t be shaken – or stirred, for that matter – and instead allow us to count down the list of the 10 definitive best Bond cars.
We’re kicking off with a car that isn’t technically Bond’s, but rather owned by his future wife, Tracy. Played by Diana Rigg, and featuring in the 1969 film adaptation, Tracy’s Mercury Cougar features ski racks, a convertible top and the Cobra Jet Option Package. It’s a rarefied beast, and first crops up when Tracy passes the superspy on a Portuguese coastal road near Guincho Beach – showing the chic and class that has come to typify both Bond’s motors and women.
If you need to blast around Las Vegas with Jill St. John’s Tiffany Chase, pursued by a fleet of police, what better car than this brash American Mustang Mach 1? Bright red and fitted with the special ‘Fastback’ performance option, the car’s starring moment comes when Bond takes the wheel and puts it on two wheels to escape down a very narrow alley. Despite being one of cinema’s most famous movie mistakes – the car exits the alley on the other two wheels – it has earned its place as one of the superspy’s most iconic motors.
Like a miniature muscle car, this Hornet Hatchback – produced between 1970 and 1979 by the American Motors Corporation – features in another of the Bond franchises most iconic automotive moments. After stealing the red Hornet, with white striping details, from a Bangkok showroom to chase villain Scaramanga, Bond performs a 360-degree twisting corkscrew jump in mid-air over a broken bridge to clear a river. Six cameras were rolling, and stuntman ‘Bumps’ Willard performed the stunt in one take. Impressive stuff, from an impressive car.
Filmed in Japan, the Bond car in You Only Live Twice could only be a Toyota. A special model was created for the film, to make the car a convertible – to accommodate 6’2” Sean Connery – but the actor’s head still protruded notably above the roofline. Despite these problems, the 2000GT has gone on to become a firm fan favourite of the franchise, with current Bond Daniel Craig even citing the Toyota his favourite vehicle of the entire 26-film series.
A bespoke Aston Martin, Bond’s wheels in Spectre were the focus of much media attention. Unveiled at the same event during which the title and cast were revealed to the world, and one of the rarest vehicles ever made, this was a glorified prop that epitomised Bond’s influence outside his fictional world. The 2016 DB11, and recent new V8 Vantage have lifted their styling cues directly from the superspy’s most recent Aston, showing that truly nobody does it better.
Bear with us. Not only does this nippy French motor feature in one of the most ludicrous and memorable car chases in the franchise’s history, but it is genuinely almost as indestructible as it looks on screen. After having its roof ripped off, and then being t-boned in half by another car, Roger Moore is somehow still chasing down Grace Jones’ May Day in essentially quarter of a car. It may not be the prettiest motor, or the most expensive, but boy did it look like Moore was having a good time.
You may think this is another bear with us moment, but think it through: The Sunbeam Alpine was a sleek, beautiful and cool British-made car – essentially a blue-print for most of the great Bond cars to come. Just look at those little fins, bulbous headlights and neat grille – it’s an iconic look. Bond’s own, a lake blue rental version, is driven under a truck to escape pursuing hitmen – and was allegedly borrowed from a local owner as the sportiest car the production could find locally to use.
Hailed upon its introduction in 1977 as ‘Britain’s First Supercar’, this up-on-its-haunches Aston Martin is one of the manufacturer’s finest efforts. As such, it only makes sense that it would end up in the lap of the nation’s favourite superspy. Timothy Dalton drives the car in The Living Daylights, with the very special options of missiles and rocket boosters included under the bonnet. Later in the film, Q ‘winterises’ the car for the snowy scenes – some of the most iconic ice driving in the entire franchise.
The dream car of many a boy growing up in the 80s, Lotus’ bright white Esprit would have been a pin up even without its special submarine abilities. But the audacity of Bond driving the car off a pier to escape helicopter gunfire, only to have it transform into a submarine, is one of the most thrilling, stylish and memorable sequences in the film. And it’s not just us who it clearly made an impression on. Elon Musk bought Wet Nellie in 2013, and has owned it ever since.
Simply put, this couldn’t not be number 1. Arguably the most famous car in the history of the world – we’re looking at you, Model T – Bond’s DB5 has cropped up, or been nodded to, in many instalments since it original drove onto the screen in Goldfinger. Equipped with everything from a champagne cooler to an ejector seat, these wheels epitomised the class and innovation of what continues to make the Bond franchise great to this day. And it doesn’t look half bad either…