James Bond is a man known for many things – elaborate gadgets, a seemingly endless stream of women, fine tailoring and, until now, routinely breaking British highway safety laws. Believe it or not, the UK parliament finally revised traffic laws last week to allow for exceptions-of-the-speed-limit in cases of emergency for bomb disposal units, organ deliveries and, fortunately for Mr. Bond, members of special intelligence. At last, our secret agent friends can legally put those luxury car engines to proper use. In honor of the open road becoming a little more open in the UK (at least for a handful of citizens), we rounded up five of our favorite cars from Bond’s greatest films.
Dr. No (1962)
The British made Sunbeam Alpine was Bond’s first car. The classic chase sequence in Dr. No introduced us all to Bond’s superior skill from behind the wheel. Bond rents the convertible and drives to the mountain-top apartment of Miss Taro. A hearse following in close pursuit quickly disrupts Bond’s leisurely drive and tries to force him off the road. With some quick thinking, Bond drives under a construction crane that has blocked the road. The hearse is too large to fit under and swerves off the mountain to a fiery demise. According to legend, so that the movie producers could save money and not pay for import fees, a local islander loaned his Sunbeam Alpine to be used in the filming of this scene.
Aston Martin DB5
Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 is one of the most iconic cars in the history of cinema. The DB5 first appeared in Goldfinger and has resurfaced in several other Bond films including Thunderball, GoldenEye, and in Casino Royale when Daniel Craig wins the car back in a game of poker. In the films, the DB5 features a few spy-worthy modifications: oil sprayer, tire shredder, hidden machine guns, rotating license plates and best of all, an ejector seat to get rid of unwanted passengers. In 2010, the silver Aston Martin DB5 driven by Sean Connery in Goldfinger, with operational Q-Brand gadgetry, sold for $4.1 million dollars.
Ford Mustang Mach 1
Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Most people don’t think of American cars when they think of Bond-vehicles, but to evade a police chase in downtown Las Vegas in Diamonds Are Forever, Bond needed something with a little muscle – the Ford Mustang Mach 1. This car was equipped with a few special features, most notably, the ability to drive on two wheels.
Lotus Esprit S1
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
The Lotus Esprit is a spy vehicle in full 70’s design splendor. Although the special effects may have been a little cheesy compared to today’s standards, this is one of our favorite cars for its ability to convert into a fully functioning submarine. It was reported late last year that Elon Musk (Tesla Motors founder) won the white Lotus that was used for all the underwater sequences at auction for an easy $860,000.
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
The 750iL was BMW’s V-12 flagship sedan. Despite its non-flashy looks compared to other Bond-vehicles, it made up for it with many gadget modifications – a hidden gun compartment behind the airbag, electrified door handles, hidden missiles mounted underneath the sunroof, hidden cable-cutters and re-inflatable tires. Perhaps the most genius modification of the time was the ability to remotely control the car via cell phone – this made for an entertaining mid-90’s getaway scene.
You have the rides of Bond, now dress like him.