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Hollywood’s Most Famous Hero Cars Revisited in Diecast – 1

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Enduring Bonds
By Matt Boyd – Photos by Hope McCall & courtesy of Aston Martin

After 54 years, 39 novels, 22 films, six leading actors and countless action-packed chases, eye-popping stunts and outrageous gadgets, is it any wonder that the wheels of the world’s most famous super-spy—James Bond— are the best-known, best-loved movie cars in film history? The cars have changed to keep pace with the times but always exude the charm and capability of 007 himself. With the latest Bond film—the 2006 remake of “Casino Royale”—cashing in at the box office, the world is primed for a new Bond car to lust after. Aston Martin has obliged us and with a showmanship that’s rarely seen these days. The company chose not only to use the new film to debut a new model—the sizzling DBS V12—but also managed to keep information about it as secret as one of M’s mission dossiers. But now that the film is out—and with it, diecast versions of Bond’s newest ride—the time is right to look back on the all-time great Bond cars and see where the DBS V12 fits in.

The Connery Era

CONNERY BOND CARS IN DIECAST

ASTON MARTIN DB5
AUTOart 1:18*
Joyride Studios (RC2) 1:18
Danbury Mint 1:24*
Corgi 1:36*
Minichamps 1:43

TOYOTA 2000 GT ROADSTER
AUTOart 1:18*
Minichamps 1:43

FORD MUSTANG MACH I
Joyride Studios 1:18
*Out of production

Many Bond purists insist that Sean Connery remains the “true” James Bond and that the car he is most closely associated with—the Aston Martin DB5 is the official Bond car. Even though it did not appear until the third film—1964’s “Goldfinger”—it became as synonymous with James Bond as a shaken—not stirred—Vodka martini. With a 280hp engine packaged in an undeniably beautiful—and undeniably British—body, it was the perfect choice for Bond. The iconic Aston instantly became one of 007’s defining attributes, and the tech-briefing that outlines its special options (machine guns, smoke dispenser and ejector seat among others) helped define another beloved character: Major Boothroyd—better known simply as “Q.” The DB5’s mix of sophisticated bearing and brutal performance seemed to perfectly mirror Sean Connery’s portrayal of the character. That, with the growing popularity of the Bond franchise and the charisma of Q’s gadgetry produced a critical mass of appeal. The car exploded into stardom despite being on screen for less than the proverbial 15 minutes and meeting a rather ignominious end. Still, producers knew a winner when they saw it, and in 1965, the Aston returned for an encore in “Thunderball.” Thirty years later, the DB5 would be resurrected in “GoldenEye.”

LAZENBY BOND CARS IN DIECAST
Neither the DBS nor the Cougar convertible is directly represented in diecast, although both would be fun—if somewhat obscure—to see at some point.

The Lazenby Era
In the sixth installment of the Bond franchise, 1969’s “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” Aston Martin returned. Gone were Connery and the DB5— replaced by newcomers George Lazenby and the DBS. Though the DBS was cool, fans seldom remember it. This film is mainly remembered for being Lazenby’s only Bond performance and for Diana Rigg’s scene-stealing portrayal of the only woman ever to trap the evasive 007 in the bonds of matrimony. Automotively, Rigg’s Mercury Cougar convertible (badged as a Ford in Europe) took center stage, despite its laughably incongruous use in and around French Alps ski-resort towns during a blizzard.

 

MOORE BOND CARS IN DIECAST
LOTUS ESPRIT
AUTOart 1:18*
Joyride Studios (RC2) 1:18
Corgi 1:36*
Minichamps 1:43

LOTUS ESPRIT TURBO
AUTOart 1:18*
Minichamps 1:43

CHEVROLET CORVETTE
Joyride Studios (RC2) 1:18
*Out of production

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Moore Era
Roger Moore comprehensively remade the character for the 1970s. His first was “Live and Let Die” in 1973, but given the film’s Caribbean setting, automotive escapades are absent, but there are some rather spectacular boat stunts. Moore was not vehicularly challenged for long, though, as just a year later, he returned in “The Man With The Golden Gun,” which features one of the more memorable car gags of all time—the corkscrew jump across a collapsed bridge. The jump is so outrageous that fans can almost forgive that the car he was driving was a lowly AMC Hornet. The next Bond signature car arrived in 1977 with “The Spy Who Loved Me.” In this, Moore hops into the dramatically styled Lotus Esprit, which is then transformed into a submarine so he can take a beautiful Soviet agent (Barbara Bach) on an undersea jaunt. With its over-thetop gadgets and campy scenarios, the white Lotus sub has come to symbolize the Moore-era Bond. And just like Connery and the DB5, the Esprit seems to parallel Moore’s interpretation of the character—flashy and dapper, but a bit of a lightweight
. For 1981’s “For Your Eyes Only,” the Lotus returns—this time, in the more robust and garish Turbo model. The extroverted Turbo’s biggest moment was its self-destruction—not unlike the plots of many contemporary Bond films. The more memorable car scenes from this flick are actually those featuring the hideous Citroen 2CV.

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Updated: June 30, 2011 — 11:26 AM

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