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Lights, camera, traction! Bond of man and machine

18:12 01 November 2015

Lotus Esprit Turbo from For Your Eyes Only.

Lotus Esprit Turbo from For Your Eyes Only.

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Bond films have a few essential ingredients – despicable villains, gorgeous girls, stunning action-packed stunts and car chases. Even when gadget guru Q fails to supply suitable transport, 007 will find his own. With the new Spectre movie in cinemas, we look at some of his more notable drives but do you agree? Tell us about your favourite Bond car or chase scene in the 007 movies – email motoring@archant.co.uk

Lotus Esprit – The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Timed to perfection, Roger Moore went for a dip in a Norfolk star – the Lotus Esprit S1 – just as the real car burst on to the international stage. It managed to stay ahead of a helicopter despite only 160bhp, and Q must have had his work cut out making the thing run properly, never mind stay watertight.

Lotus Esprit Turbo – For Your Eyes Only (1981)

A tax-payer’s nightmare, as Bond (Roger Moore) gets through two Esprit Turbos in a single film. The first one explodes thanks to a combination of Q’s over-zealous alarm system and a dumb henchman, while the second one gets a ski-rack and is left at the hotel while Bond goes in search of a missing missile guidance device. Worst of all, the obligatory chase scene involves neither.

BMW Z3 – Goldeneye (1995)

German cars and British secret agents shouldn’t mix. As James May once put it… “James Bond driving a BMW is like Douglas Bader flying for the Luftwaffe”. Still, product placement rules all, which is why the then-new Z3 had a mercifully brief cameo in Goldeneye with Bond, played by Pierce Brosnan, using a tank to chase down the bad guys instead.

BMW Z8 – The World Is Not Enough (1999)

The best BMW-Bond match up yet, another starring Pierce Brosnan, the beefy Z8 at least had the performance and looks to keep up with 007. This one met a particularly grisly end by being sawn in half, although kit cars with Z8 panels grafted on were used for filming, thereby leaving enough for punters to buy.

Aston Martin DB5 – Goldfinger (1964)

This is where it all started. Sean Connery in his prime only just shades the DB5 for style and panache, but the Aston whips him in terms of gadgets – ejector passenger seat, smokescreen, bullet-proof shielding, guns, rotating numberplate – Q was clearly going for a promotion with this one. The fact that even the period Corgi models are highly sought after says it all.

Aston Martin V8 – The Living Daylights (1987)

This car arguably represents Bond better than any other – resolutely British, ageing, but still able to kick ass. It had a great set of gadgets too – police band scanner, laser mounted in the wheel hubs, missiles behind the foglights and even a rocket booster behind the rear numberplate. Continuity geeks will also note that the car switches between the coupe and Volante drop-top versions depending on the scene. It doesn’t matter in the end anyway – Bond, now played by Timothy Dalton, detonates the car, killing the bad guys and escapes by skiing down the mountain in a cello case.

Aston Martin Vanquish – Die Another Day (2002)

This Bond Aston was a mix of old and new, and it was also the last film with Pierce Brosnan as 007. Paying homage to Astons of the past with guns, rockets and an ejector seat, it also had something never seen before – an active camouflage system that could make it invisible, leading Q to call it the “Aston Martin Vanish”.

Aston Martin DBS – Casino Royale (2006)

A new Bond, played by Daniel Craig, meets a new car – Aston Martin can count on a mind-numbing amount of interest in the new DBS thanks to Casino Royale. And it was a belter of a Bond film, thanks to a healthy introduction of some back story, Bond in his most raw form and Craig at his moody best, although the chances of the car, complete with life-saving defibrillator, surviving intact was always slim.

Citroen 2CV – For Your Eyes Only (1981)

Ever the improviser, when Bond’s Lotus Esprit gets detonated, he instead dives into Melina’s Citroen 2CV and sets out to escape the bad guys. Undeterred by the fact that his pursuers are in Peugeot 504s and Ford Cortinas, Bond (Roger Moore) uses all his skill, cunning and 602cc of French power to escape unharmed.

AMC Hornet X – The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)

Certainly not the best Bond car, but one of the best-ever stunts. After stealing the Hornet from an AMC dealership – with the hapless Sheriff J W Pepper inside – Bond, played by Roger Moore, chases Scaramanga across Bangkok. Eventually they become separated by a river, and in true 007 style, Bond performs a 360-degree spiral jump across the river. Hi-tech computer modelling of the time was used to calculate that the jump would be possible, and it was even patented so the stunt could not be performed elsewhere before the film appeared.

Aston Martin DB10 – Spectre (2015)

The stunning Aston Martin DB10 was built exclusively for James Bond in the 24th big-screen 007 outing Spectre. starring Daniel Craig. Limited to just 10 examples, all are used in the new movies. The DB10 is one of two main cars in the film, the other is Jaguar C-X75. But, in case you have not seen Spectre yet, the rest is, well, top secret!

Tell us about your favourite Bond car or chase scene in the 007 movies – email motoring@archant.co.uk

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