Ahead of the release of No Time to Die, the landmark 25th installment of the James Bond films on November 12th, the Radio Times has revealed the results of a poll of 14,000 of their readers to find and name the Best Ever Bond.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Sean Connery - who played Her Majesty’s most trusted secret agent for the first six films in the series between 1962 and 1971 - came top of their rankings, with a victory of 44% over Timothy Dalton (Bond from 1987 - 1989) who finished second with 32%, and Pierce Brosnan (Bond from 1995 - 2002) who placed third with 23%.
One marque of supercar that’s always been synonymous with the Bond films is of course Aston Martin. Read on as we take a look back and profile the Astons we’ve got available to book for driving experiences across the UK, and which 007s drove them on the silver screen...
Goldfinger, Sean Connery’s third appearance as Bond, featured a DB5 model that was modified by John Stears, the special effects genius who worked on the earlier instalments of the films. It also marked the point where James Bond became known just as much for the gadgets as the on-screen action.
Aston Martin, who had not long released the DB5, the second of their ‘Superleggera’ cars, were initially reluctant to let their then latest model be featured on screen, but were eventually talked round to a product placement deal that continues to this day and has been partly responsible for making them recognised the world over.
The stunt version of the DB5 used on screen was equipped with a revolving licence plate, an ejector seat, and a compartment that released wheel destroying spikes. However, the latter feature was not formally added into the stunt model, for fear it might become copied by fans. It was instead recreated in-studio when the accompanying sequence was filmed.
Another DB5, styled on the stunt version was produced but minus the gadgets as part of publicity for the film when it was released. The DB5 also appeared in the next 007 film in 1965, Thunderball, and it has also made trainspotter appearances in GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) and The World Is Not Enough (1999).
Their signature model in the 1980s, the Vantage was once dubbed as Aston Martin’s take on ‘the British Mustang’. A Volante convertible version was used for Timothy Dalton’s first outing as Bond in The Living Daylights.
Featuring in the opening credits of the film, it was actually the very same Volante model that was owned by Aston Martin’s then chairman, Victor Gauntlett. Later scenes in the film show the Vantage being ‘winterised’ (given a hard top) at Q Branch.
Amongst the gadgets on offer in Bond’s Vantage were a rocket motor behind the rear number plate, heat seeking missiles behind the front fog lights, bulletproof windows and body and a self destruct system. The Vantage will feature again in No Time To Die when it comes out in November, which will be Daniel Craig’s final film as 007.
Pierce Brosnan made his final outing as 007 back in 2002 for Die Another Day, which featured a modified version of the Vanquish, which was their then signature supercar model, and went into production the following year in 2003.
A total of four Vanquish models were used during filming, all of which were kitted out with 4x4 wheels for the infamous ice chase sequence in the film. All four were also - inevitably - total write offs after said scenes were filmed on a frozen lagoon in Iceland.
But it’s use in such a high action scene thus prompted the Vanquish to earn third place in Autocar magazine’s 2011 poll of the Best Film Cars Ever, only beaten out by the DB5 (in first place) and the Mini Cooper featured in The Italian Job (second place).
Quantum of Solace was the second outing for Daniel Craig as Bond, following his debut in Casino Royale in 2006. The two films are linked, as the former picks up where the latter’s cliffhanger left off.
The film notably features 007 driving a stunning DBS V12 in a car chase sequence around Lake Garda in Italy (with the previous film’s villain, Mr White, locked in the boot). A total of ten of Aston Martin’s then Grand Tourer models were supplied.
Six of these were ‘hero cars’, used for promotional purposes and close up shots, whilst the other four were stunt cars, used for special effects and stunts. However, one of these was in a collision before it even reached the film set at Lake Garda.
An Aston Martin employee crashed it into the lake during filming in April 2008. Alas, no secret agent powers meant he was fined to the tune of £400 for reckless driving.
Whilst we can’t offer you these same cars with all the gadgets that are at 007’s disposal (sadly), we can offer you driving time in these and many other fantastic Aston Martins at venues and locations all over the UK here on Driving Experience, so you can at least feel like you have a licence to kill. Head to our dedicated Aston Martin page now to book yours today from available dates and gift vouchers.