Over the last half century, the legendary spy James Bond drove a seemingly endless fleet of exotic cars. To celebrate the golden anniversary of 007 – the first James Bond film Dr. No premiered 50 years ago – we’ve summed up a selection for what are arguably the 10 best 007 James Bond cars of all time.
Note: Car nuts and 007 aficionados alike can still check out the “Bond in Motion” exhibit at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, England (about 87 miles southwest of London). This exhaustive aggregation of 50 of the most recognized James Bond cars – including ones from the 23rd film in the series, Skyfall –runs through January 6, 2013.
10| Lotus Esprit
As seen in 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me, the low-slung Lotus Esprit served double duty as an on-road sports coupe and a compact submarine. Roger Moore’s 007 takes the Esprit deep below the surface to engage in a reconnaissance of the villain’s underwater facilities. As if that’s not enough, the Esprit was also handily equipped with anti-aircraft missiles, which Bond subsequently uses to blow a helicopter out of the sky. For its submerged skills the cinematic version of the vehicle earned the nickname “Wet Nellie.”
9| Ford Mustang Mach 1
Diamonds are Forever (1971) marked Sean Connery’s return to the Bond series after a one-film hiatus. The vehicular star of the show was a 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 owned by diamond smuggler Tiffany Case (1970’s bombshell Jill St. John) In the process of preventing the villainous Blofeld from controlling the world, Bond pilots the Mach 1 to out-maneuver pursuing police cars down the Las Vegas Strip that leaves assorted collisions in its wake.
8| Aston Martin DB5
First seen in the 1964 film Goldfinger, the venerable DB5 is arguably the car that’s inexorably associated with James Bond. A luxury grand touring car produced between 1963 and 1965 that came powered by a 282-horsepower 4.0-liter engine, the DB5 packed such then-upscale amenities as reclining seats, wool pile carpets, electric windows, chrome wire wheels, full leather upholstery and even a fire extinguisher.
7| BMW Z8
Automotive stylist Henrik Fisker designed this sleek high-performance roadster that had a brief production run from 1999 to 2003. In The World is Not Enough (1999), Pierce Brosnan’s Bond gets his Z8 equipped with unique features like radar-guided stinger missiles and remote control pads on the keyfob. In the film it winds up being sliced in half in Azerbaijan by a helicopter that was fitted with tree-cutting saws. Apparently Q couldn’t think of everything.
6| Aston Martin DBS
Another old-school British-club-like car, the original DBS was featured in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – the only film in which George Lazenby portrays 007. The latest iteration was Daniel Craig’s ride of choice as Bond in the 2006 version of Casino Royale and the subsequent 2008 installment, Quantum of Solace. Unlike the gadget-laden DB5 above, the Aston Martin DBS featured in either film stands on its own merits without being retrofitted with assorted armaments.
5| BMW 750iL
Perhaps Bond was beginning to feel his age in the 1997 release Tomorrow Never Dies with Pierce Brosnan’s 007 taking to the wheel of BMW’s flagship 750iL sedan. In the movie’s signature chase scene Bond isn’t behind the wheel at all, but rather is driving the car while hunched in the back seat – not to mention engaging all manner of weaponry including flash grenades, tear gas, rockets and a metal spike dispenser – using his specially modified Ericsson cell phone as a remote controller.
4| Toyota 2000GT
Strictly speaking, this wasn’t Bond’s car. It was driven by his assistant, Aki, in You Only Live Twice. But it makes the list because it was chock-full of cool gadgets — including a television, a cordless phone and a voice-activated stereo – that are commonplace today but the stuff of science fiction in 1967. Toyota built a GT without a roof because Sean Connery was too tall for the coupe.
3| AMC Hornet Hatchback
Bond stole this car from a dealership showroom to make an escape in The Man With The Golden Gun, making a spectacular corkscrew jump over a canal to elude his pursuers. The stunt was planned with help from a supercomputer at Cornell University, and it is the only time in history an AMC Hornet has ever looked cool.
2| Citroen 2CV
Another Bond car that wasn’t what it appeared to be. The 2CV couldn’t outrun its own belching plume of exhaust, so the car in For Your Eyes Only, was tricked out with a hotter engine, a modified transmission and a reworked frame. It still had trouble outrunning the humble Peugeots – Peugeots — pursuing it, so Bond had to resort to skilled driving and good luck to make his escape.
1| Jaguar XKR
Equipped with front grille machine guns, door panel missiles, rear mountedgattling gun and mounted mortars. The Jaguar XKR saved the Queen’s favorite agent several times in Die Another Day.
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