Behind every great secret agent are a few standard items: a few beautiful women, a good pistol and, usually, a disgruntled genius inventor trying to put the pieces of his car back together.
Q has stated, “Need I remind you, 007, that you have a license to kill, not to break the traffic laws.” Unfortunately, not only does Bond break traffic laws but also the vehicles that he breaks them with. Here are some cars that haven’t a chance of making it back to MI6 in pristine condition.
Aston Martin DB5
Aston Martin became MI6’s car manufacture of choice in Goldfinger, and rarely ever wavered. The DB5 boasted 282 horses under the hood, which was quite a size for a luxury car in the 60s.
Modifications for the secret agent lifestyle included bullet-proof windows, .30-caliber machine guns, and deterrents like oil slicks and water cannons to ward off pursuing henchmen.
The Lotus Esprit has always been one of those compact pocket-rocket cars that always flew under the radar, probably due to its speed. While it only boasted a mere 140-160 horses, the concept of the car’s pick-up and handling was so captivating that the engine grew over time, until 2013’s R variant concept car would boast 620 hp.
Luckily, Bond didn’t need that much horsepower, as the most memorable actions of the Esprit were driving underwater, its torpedoes and surface-to-air missiles, and its use of a self-destruct sequence to ward off carjackers.
Aston Martin V8
Aston Martin returned once again, this time to outfit Timothy Dalton’s Bond with the most lethal luxury car to date that the 80s could offer in the V8.
Boasting 380 hp, hubcap lasers, Stinger missiles, re-inflating snow-tires, a rocket motor, and even skis, the V8 became the trademark automobile for any secret agent on the go.
BMW Z3 Roadster
As Bond changes, so do the car manufacturers that steer him. This was apparent when Pierce Brosnan was given a Z3 to play with.
While the car supposedly had a parachute breaking system, stinger missiles, ejector seat and all-points radar, none of these gadgets were actually put to use, making this 138 hp slug less a spy car, and more a phallic reference to James Bond.
BMW made another attempt at constructing a car for James Bond. This time, they went full luxury sedan, and outfitted the 367 hp chariot with loads of gadgets that were put to good use: bullet-proof everything (almost), anti-theft devices, mini-missiles coming out the sunroof, metal spike dispensers in the rear, re-inflatable tires, grenades, a cutting mechanism, and the ability for Bond to use them all with his phone from the safety of his room or the backseat.
Unfortunately, all of these gadgets without Bond physically driving the car made the big chase scene look like Pierce Brosnan playing Need 4 Speed on a SONY PSP.
Aston Martin V12 Vanquish
It took 15 years, but Aston Martin returned yet again to make sure we all know what car James Bond would really drive.
In this instance, it was the V12 Vanquish, a fitting name for a beastly luxury car sporting 450 hp and a design that puts stealth bombers to shame, which makes sense, considering the car had refractive light camouflage that made it invisible.
With missiles, machine guns, spiked tires and target-seeking shotguns, the V12 Vanquish went up against an equally weaponized Jaguar XKR with the prize of being the pride of Britain. Spoiler alert: the Vanquish won.
Aston Martin DBS V12
If there is one thing that the Daniel Craig rendition of James Bond lacks thus far, it is the gadgetry that previous Bonds have had added to their cars. The DBS V12 is a 510 hp monster, with a design that one-ups only its predecessor. Unfortunately, the only gadget we are given is a med-kit. You know…just in case you happen to be given heart-stopping poison. Granted, having your own mini-hospital in the glove compartment is pretty high-tech, but it leaves us hoping for a bit more when a new, younger Q takes hold of car designs at MI6.
Patrick Emmel is a legend in his own mind when it comes to driving, and almost pissed himself when he drove an Audi R8. Sadly, he has not been trusted enough to drive anyone’s Aston Martin. You can see some of his work at www.theineptowl.com or heckle him on Twitter @Patrick_AE.
Patrick knows every good secret agent has a drink in his hand, which is why he compared the characters of Archer to different types of alcohol. And check out the rest of our Bond articles, including the 25 Most Beautiful Bond Babes.