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Despite how many actors are brought on to play James Bond, the iconic 007 spy remains best-known for his two quintessential loves: women and cars. The filmmakers behind the James Bond film saga won’t just put the dapper character in any vehicle, however. The larger-than-life action hero deserves a larger-than-life supercar.
Spectre, the latest installment in the Bond series starring Daniel Craig, is opening in theaters on November 6, and it looks like this film won’t disappoint in the car eye candy department. Spectre director Sam Mendes has already begun teasing the film’s highly orchestrated car chase sequence through Rome, claiming it’s one of the most exhilarating scenes in the film.
"It’s a cat-and-mouse game through the night time streets of Rome, at great speed, between two of the fastest cars in the world, neither of which the world has ever seen before," said Mendes in a short featurette posted on the official 007 website. The supercars in question are a bespoke Aston Martin DB10 and a Jaguar C-X75, both created specifically to make their world debut in Spectre.
“It’s one of those things you only see in a James Bond film,” added actor Dave Bautista, Bond’s newest nemesis. Bautista is right. The James Bond movies have always been fond of depicting eye-popping car chases in really cool cars. We’ve compiled a few of our favorite 007 car moments to keep audiences on the edge of their seats before the Spectre premiere.
You Only Live Twice: Toyota 2000GT
To accommodate the original 007, Sean Connery, a Japanese supercar was made specifically for him in the 1967 film You Only Live Twice, where Connery reprised his role as James Bond. The film is set mostly in Japan, so it makes sense that it served to introduce the first ever Japanese supercar, the Toyota 2000GT, to the Western world. Since Connery was too tall to fit into the original model, the two white Toyota 2000GTs used during filming were turned into convertibles (the only two ever built), thus creating a new Connery-modified model that is now considered one of the most beautiful cars ever designed. So beautiful, in fact, that it’s in exhibition at the Melbourne Museum.
The Spy Who Loved Me: Lotus Esprit S1
While Connery is hailed as one of the best Bonds to date, that doesn’t mean that other leading actors didn’t get our hearts racing while in the driver’s seat. It’s been over 35 years since The Spy Who Loved Me hit theaters, but the 1977 film has one of the most adrenaline-charged car chases in all of the 007 franchise. Roger Moore in the titular role maneuvers a Lotus Esprit S1 under a helicopter hovering terrifyingly low, before plunging into the ocean off the Italian coast. The best car moment, however, happens underwater, when the Lotus Esprit S1 smoothly converts into a submarine. No big deal.
The Living Daylights: Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante
The Aston Martin supercars may not be able to transform into submarines, but James Bond still has a soft spot for the British vehicles. Aston Martin models have been featured in so many Bond films, that it’s safe to say that they are the 007 signature supercar. One of the most memorable Aston Martin moments in James Bond happened in 1987’s The Living Daylights, when an Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante helped Timothy Dalton escape a Czech army through an ice-covered lake. Although 11 convertible V8s were used during production, only three were actually operating vehicles, including a “special effects” version that was equipped with a hardtop for all the snow scenes.
Goldeneye: Aston Martin DB5
For 1995’s Goldeneye, Pierce Brosnan’s Bond needed a faster Aston Martin, at least fast enough to catch up to a Ferrari. The first installment of the franchise starring Brosnan starts off at full speed. In the opening car chase, Bond is back on a silver Aston Martin DB5 (a vintage vehicle also featured in 1964’s Goldenfinger and 1965’s Thunderball). What quickly ensues is a cat-and-mouse chase with Xenia Onatopp, a female villain driving in a devilishly red Ferrari Spider 355, through the windy mountain roads above the French Riviera. Spectre will follow this heart-pounding formula to prove that in a 007 film, two sexy supercars are better than one.
Tomorrow Never Dies: BMW 750 iL
Two years later in Tomorrow Never Dies, Bond ditches his Aston Martin (for now) in favor of a BMW 750 iL. The 1997 film has 007 driving his BMW from the safety of the back seat using an Ericsson phone as a remote control while he’s being chased and shot at inside a parking garage in Hamburg, Germany. Out of the 17 BMWs used during filming, four were modified with this “hidden driver” feature to be able to be driven remotely by the production staff.
Quantum of Solace: Aston Martin DBS
While James Bond has always been fond of tech gadgets, Daniel Craig’s interpretation of the MI6 secret agent is not afraid to do things the hard way. The opening car chase sequence in 2008’s Quantum of Solace sets the tone for how this new brooding Bond likes to outmaneuver the bad guys. Craig reunites 007 with his favorite supercar maker, the Aston Martin DBS. But unlike Goldeneye’s DB5 amusing joyride, this car chase is action-packed and it intensifies with every turn, as Craig tries to escape a fleet of wicked black Alfa Romeo 159s.
The Aston Martin DBS and the DB5 were also featured in the other two Craig-starring Bond films, Casino Royale and Skyfall, and with the inclusion of the bespoke Aston Martin DB10 in the forthcoming Spectre, the Bond and Aston Martin love affair will only live on.