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James Bond’s cars: the Daniel Craig era

A look at the cars from Daniel Craig’s run of five James Bond movies.

Cars have always been an essential ingredient of the James Bond formula, and ever since he existed Bond has been associated with one automotive marque or another. In the books it was Bentley, although he also drove an Aston Martin DB Mk III in Goldfinger. And there were numerous other cars, often hired when the occasion demanded it.

  1. Casino Royale
  2. Quantum of Solace
  3. Skyfall
  4. SPECTRE
  5. No Time to Die

In the films it has been Aston Martin ever since the DB5 first appeared in Goldfinger. The car became so linked to brand Bond that to this day it almost feels that without James Bond, Aston Martin would have surely floundered. And they’ve come close to it on many an occasion.

Of course it hasn’t always been Aston Martin in the film series. There was the Sunbean Alpine in Dr No and the Bentley in From Russia With Love for instance. The Lotus Esprit in The Spy Who Loved Me is also one of Bond’s most iconic cars, turning as it did from road going vehicle to submarine at the flip of a switch.

And there were those BMWs in the 1990s. But as much as BMW make good cars, they were always more area sales manager than super secret agent.

In the Daniel Craig era there is no doubt that Bond’s marque is Aston Martin. Their cars appeared in all five of his films and as well as featuring the latest models, Craig’s films have also made heavy use of the classic DB5 and also a 1987 V8 Vantage in No Time to Die.

So let’s take a closer look at the cars James Bond drove in each film of the Daniel Craig era.

Casino Royale

While Daniel Craig’s Bond debut is best remembered for a pair of Aston Martins, Ford joined Aston Martin Lagonda on Casino Royale as official partner. As a result Bond’s first car of the Daniel Craig era is rather more modest than usual.

Ford Mondeo

After Bond arrives in The Bahamas headed for The Ocean Club on Paradise Island he is behind the wheel of 2.5-litre tonic blue Ford Mondeo ST. The four-door saloon was launched in November 2006 to coincide with the release of the movie.

The car has a five cylinder 2.5 litre engine car providing 220 bhp and a top speed of 150 mph but was hand-built for filming as it wasn’t launched until the following year.

Aston Martin DB5

The second car Bond drives in Casino Royale needs no real introduction. Bond wins the left hand drive DB5 he wins off Alex Dimitrios in a game of poker. To add insult to injury Bond then seduces his wife, Solange, inadvertently sealing her death sentence.

While it is coloured silver birch like the iconic car that originally featured in Goldfinger this car is left hand drive. The DB5 has a 4.0 litre engine providing 282 bhp, which could propel the car to a maximum speed of 145 mph.

Aston Martin DBS

In Montenegro MI6 provides Bond with an Aston Martin DBS V12. Rather than the host of gadgets we have grown to expect, the silver-grey car is only equipped with a hidden compartment for a Walther P99 and a medical kit that includes a defibrillator. When it comes down to it that doesn’t even work.

The car is a high performance grand tourer based on the DB9 and the 5.9 litre engine of the production cars produces 510 bhp and a top speed of 190 mph. Two prototypes were used for filming, while another three stunt cars provided were actually modified DB9s. The DBS V12 was finally launched the following year.

However, the car is wrecked when Bond flips it when pursuing Le Chiffre. He swerves sharply to avoid hitting Vesper, who is tied up and lying in the road.

The stunt was performed by Adam Kirley at Millbrook Proving Ground in the UK, which is used for the testing and development of vehicles, driver training, and special events. The stunt required of flipping  the Aston Martin at 80 mph using an 18 inch ramp.

The stunt was successfully rehearsed by flipping a BMW driven at 80 mpg with an 18 inch ramp. But when it came to filming they found the Aston Martin wouldn’t flip, even after raising the ramp to a height of 2 feet. Instead they ended up fitting an air cannon to the car which used high pressure nitrogen to blast a ram downwards instead.

Not only was the stunt successful but the stunt team inadvertently set a new world record of seven complete car rolls, which was three more than the previous record. The stunt damaged the road surface and if you are lucky enough to drive the hill circuit at Millbrook you’ll see where the road surface was repaired.

Quantum of Solace

Directly continuing from Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace starts with a high speed car chase. Once again Ford joins Aston Martin on the list of partners and provided Camille Montes with a Greene Planet badged Ford Ka for the scenes set in Haiti. The film also sees Bond on a Montesa Cota 4RT off-road bike.

Aston Martin DBS

At the very start of Quantum of Solace, a thrilling car chase takes place along the narrow roads on the banks of Lake Garda. Driving an Aston Martin DBS V12, James Bond attempts two outrun Mr White’s men pursuing in black Alfa Romeo 159s while evading bullets and incoming vehicles. The action then switches to a quarry in Carrara before Bond reaches his destination in Siena, the car much the worse for wear.

It is only when Bond reaches the MI6 safe house that we learn why they were after him. He opens the boot to reveal Mr White inside. The car stunts were choreographed by Ben Collins and took approximately three weeks to film, with seven Aston Martins being destroyed in the process.

Range Rover Sport

After arriving in La Baz, Bolivia, Bond and Fields drive to a fundraiser hosted by Greene in a a Range Rover Sport with a supercharged 4.2 litre Jaguar engine. Bond asks Camille to show him the Tierra Project but they are pulled over by cycle cops. Bond is ordered to open the boot of the car, where he finds a badly injured Mathis, who is then fatally shot by one of the cops. Afterwards Bond and Camille continue driving into the desert. By the time they arrive at an airfield it is daylight.

Ford Edge

After arriving in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince on the trail of Mr Slate – and assuming his identity – Bond is picked up by Camille Montes. She is is driving a gold coloured Ford Ka with Greene Planet graphics. This particular car was designed for the film in conjunction with production designer Dennis Glassner and was ostensibly hydrogen powered although no such model was ever available.

Dominic Greene has a fleet of Ford Edge SEL crossovers, also with Greene Planet logos. Although they all had petrol engines the fleet cars all have badges indicating they are powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Like Camille’s Ka, this was an option not actually offered by Ford.

Bond uses one of Greene’s cars to track him down in the desert. After leaving Greene with a can of motor oil he drives Camille to a railway station where they say their goodbyes.

These aren’t the only cars Bond drives though. After rescuing Camille from General Medrano Bond takes a battered reddish-brown 1989 Ford Bronco II XLT from near the boatyard. And after touching down in Austria Bond tails Greene in a hired Volvo S40 to the floating stage of the Bregenz Opera.

And while the main focus here is cars driven by 007, there are some other vehicles of note. After picking up Bond in Port-au-Prince, Camille’s car is tailed by a motorcyclist. When Camille drives off leaving Bond on the street he knocks him off the bike and follows Camille to the docks. The bike is a modified Montesa Cota 4RT trial bike.

Bond observes Greene talking to General Medrano and Camille, who is taken aboard the General’s boat, a Sunseeker Superhawk 43 headed out to the general’s Sunseeker M4 37 metre yacht. Bond takes an apparently battered old boat with an outboard motor to pursue them and a high speed boat chase follows. In reality it was a Riddle Marine jet boat, a high-speed aluminium hulled boat designed for fast, manoeuvrable performance.

As well as those Greene Planet eco-vehicles, Greene is chauffeured from the airport after arriving in Austria in a 2007 Daimler Super V8. Returning to Sunseeker, the boat on which Bond arrives at Mathis’s new home is a 1971 Sunseeker Sovereign 17. This was the company’s first ever design when known as Poole Power Boats. The boat was fully restored in 2005 and captained in Quantum of Solace by Sunseeker’s managing director.

And Bond pilots a DC-3 after telling Camille she is going to show him Greene’s tierra project. The DC-3 is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential aircraft in aviation history. After he returns to his hotel and finds there is a capture or kill order out on him he his picked up by Camille in an old VW Beetle.

Skyfall

While Skyfall doesn’t include an up-to-date Aston Martin, it does feature once again the classic DB5, while Jaguar Land Rover also provide cars. Once again 007 uses two-wheeled transport as he pursues Patrice on a Honda CRF250R in Istanbul.

The chase takes Bond through the bustling city streets and then onto the rooftops of Istanbul, as Bond uses the bike’s agility and power to expertly navigates the cityscape. The Honda CRF250R was an ideal motorcycle for the chase, with its lightweight design and punchy engine providing Bond the perfect combination of speed and manoeuvrability.

Mercedes S400

In Shanghai Bond drives a black Mercedes S400 to tail Patrice’s taxi.

Jaguar XJL

Later on M is driven around London in a black Jaguar XJL, the long wheelbase version of the XJ. After Silva and his men ambush the committee hearing attended by M, Bond acts as getaway driver after she is bundled into the car by Tanner.

Aston Martin DB5

Bond drives M’s Jaguar to a lockup where he uncovers an Aston Martin DB5. It turns out not to be the same car as that he won at poker though. It is a right hand drive car and although it is his personal car it has gadgets including an ejector seat and front machine guns.

Bond drives the DB5 to Skyfall, Bond’s ancestral home in Scotland. However The car is destroyed in a firefight with Silva.

SPECTRE

Director Sam Mendes requested that Aston Martin supply a custom designed car for Daniel Craig’s fourth Bond film. Remarkably they did.

Jaguar Land Rover also proved cars for the film, most notably Hinx’s Jaguar C-X75, but also the Range Rover Sport SVR used by Hinx and his men after they grab Madeleine Swann and the two Land Rover Defender SVXs that complete the convoy.

Aston Martin DB10

Aston Martin is so tied to James Bond that they produced a small number of 6-litre V12 cars designated the DB10 specially for the film. Gadgets include a bullet proof body, rear facing machine gun and flamethrower, and an ejector seat for the driver to escape.

Although Q-Branch has a DB10 waiting for 009, Bond takes and drives to Rome. After escaping from the SPECTRE meeting Hinx chases Bond’s DB10 in a Jaguar C-X75 around the city.

Aston Martin DB5

Early in the film the car is seen as a wreck in Q’s lab. Despite being Bond’s personal car, Q tells Bond “I told you to bring it back in one piece, not bring one piece”.

However by the end of the film it has been restored and Bond and Madeleine Swann disappear into the sunset.

But these aren’t the only vehicles used by Bond in SPECTRE. In the pre-title sequence in Mexico City he is involved in a fight with Marco Sciarra in a helicopter. The pilot tries to unbalance Bond by flying erratically and barrel rolling the chopper, a modified Messerschmitt-Bölkow Blohm BO-105 piloted by Red Bull stunt pilot Chuck Aaron. The stunts were done for real. After disposing of the pilot Bond takes over the controls himself.

And there is the Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander that Bond pilots in Austria as he pursues a convey of cars in which Hinx and his men have captured Madeleine. It ends its serviceable life by crashing through a barn.

No Time to Die

Daniel Craig’s final outing as 007 features no less than four different models of Aston Martin. But while Bond drives a DB5 and 1987 V8 Vantage the modern DBS Superleggera is driven by Nomi and the much heralded Valhalla hardly features at all. While it was used on location its only appearance is in Q-Branch’s lab wind tunnel and it was reportedly digitally replaced digitally by the DBS Superleggera.

Aston Martin DB5

In the pre-title sequence Bond and Madeleine are in Italy and driving to Matera along the winding coastal roads in his Aston Martin DB5.

Later in the chase sequence throughout the narrow cobbled streets of Matera a series of specially built stunt cars were used based on a BMW chassis and with carbon fibre bodies. This allowed them to manoeuvre like no real DB5 has ever done and proved to be a match for the pursuing SPECTRE cars.

Also in the sequence, Bond knocks Primo off his Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC and uses it to get back to the hotel and Madeleine.

Land Rover Series III

Five years later Bond has retired to Jamaica, where he drives a slightly battered Land Rover Series III to get into town. Nomi disables it while he is getting some food, so he catches a ride home with her on her Vespa.

Aston Martin V8 Vantage

After arriving back in London Bond retrieves an Aston Martin V8 Vantage from his London lockup. How many cars does he have in storage?

The V8 is similar to the one he drove in The Living Daylights although that was a standard model with Vantage badges. Later he drives the V8 Vantage along Norway’s spectacular Atlantic Ocean Road to Madeleine’s lakeside house in Norway.

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado

When Bond realises someone is after Madeleine and Mathilde they take off in her pre-2002 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado pursued by Logan Ash and his men in modern Range Rover Sports SVRs and V8 Land Rover Defenders.

After Madeleine and Mathilde are captured Bond is met my Nomi in the field. She drives him in her DBS Superleggera to the airbase from where they board a flight bound for the vicinity of Safin’s island.

Some other vehicles to note are Nomi’s Cessna A185F that Bond steals to fly Valdo from Cuba to the CIA boat. In Cuba, Paloma drives a second generation Chevrolet Bel Air into the supporting structure of a wooden platform on which Valdo is trying to escape. And the plane on which Bond and Nomi board at the airbase is a Boeing C-17A Globemaster III containing two gliders launched from the cargo bay. These were designed specifically for the film.

Note: this is a considerable updated version of an article originally published on 9th March 2021.



This post first appeared on The James Bond Dossier: News & Views On The World Of 007, please read the originial post: here

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James Bond’s cars: the Daniel Craig era

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