Friday, October 5, 2012

50 Years of Bond Films: The Cars

50 Years of Bond Films: The Cars

By Chuck Tannert of MSN Autos

Fast machines, lethal gadgets and improbable high-speed pursuits have been key ingredients in James Bond films since the series began in 1962. From modest beginnings in "Dr. No," when 007 outran his pursuers in a rented Sunbeam Alpine to "Skyfall," which is due out Nov. 9, in which he opens the show on two wheels, Bond's choice of transport has grown in speed, sophistication and sex appeal with each film. To celebrate 007's 50th anniversary on film, we've put together a list of our 12 favorite Bond vehicles.
Click through to see them listed in chronological order.
Bentley Mark IV
The Bentley Mark IV is almost as legendary as the Aston Martin DB5; it is featured in many of Fleming's novels. Unfortunately, it's as fictional as the spy himself; Bentley never produced such a model. The vehicle in "From Russia With Love" is a Derby Bentley convertible, which Sean Connery uses to seduce Miss Sylvia Trench. Yeah, baby!

Aston Martin DB5
"Goldfinger," 1964
Without a doubt the most famous of the Bond cars, and one of the most iconic cars in cinema history, is the Aston Martin DB5. This was the first Bond car to feature Q's unique brand of lethal extras, which has become a hallmark of the Bond film series, including machine guns, an oil-slick deployer, bullet-proof glass and rotating license plates, as well as that famous ejector seat.

Toyota 2000GT

Back in the late '60s, many considered the Toyota 2000 GT to be a genuinely futuristic car. With a production run limited to 350 and a construction that made use of advanced engineering techniques such as independent suspension, disc brakes on each wheel, and a 6-cylinder engine, it was the perfect fit for Bond. Gadgets included a video monitor, a cordless telephone and a voice-controlled stereo system — all standard features today.

Ford Mustang Mach 1

Having already conquered evil masterminds, the Soviet Union and a temptress or two in his first three flicks, it was only a matter of time before Sean Connery's Bond tamed an American muscle car. In one of the more spectacular Bond car stunts, Bond pops the Mustang up on two wheels to squeeze it through a narrow alleyway.

AMC Matador Coupe

Bond (Roger Moore) is foiled by perhaps the best trick a getaway car has ever performed: The Matador transforms into a plane. Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee) and Nick Nack (Herve Villechaize) use this 1974 car to kidnap Mary Goodnight (the luscious Britt Ekland) and make their escape. The transformation occurred when wings and a tail unit were attached to the actual car, which served as the fuselage and landing gear.

Lotus Esprit

Bond (Moore) escapes his pursuers by driving theLotus off a pier into the Mediterranean Sea, where it transforms into a fully functioning submarine armed with surface-to-air missiles, depth charges, underwater sight screens and torpedoes. Moore dispatches a helicopter and a team of underwater attackers before surfacing at a nearby beach. So popular was the Lotus Esprit that it was brought back for the next film, "For Your Eyes Only."

Citroen 2CV

As James Bond, Roger Moore outran two rather unthreatening Peugeot 504s in an even more sluggish Citroen 2CV during a chase down a Spanish mountainside in "For Your Eyes Only." Quirky appearance aside, the 2CV was one of the most heavily modified of all the Bond cars. Nearly every part of the original vehicle was replaced with high-performance components; otherwise, it probably would have fallen apart.

T-55 Russian tank

"GoldenEye," 1995
Although the BMW Z3 is the official Bond car of "GoldenEye," the T-55 tank steals the show. Weighing a hefty 40 tons, the T-55 is armed with a 100-millimeter cannon, two machine guns and a 580-horsepower engine. Bond (Pierce Brosnan) drives over cars and through buildings and even shoots a train along the way. Lesson: Don't mess with a machine of mass mayhem.

BMW 750iL

Though somewhat stately compared with other sports cars in the Bond stable, the 750iL was no less spectacular during a chase around a parking garage in "Tomorrow Never Dies." It featured a number of predictable enhancements, including rocket launchers, reinflating tires and wire cutters. One notable Q addition was remote-control capability, allowing Bond (Brosnan) to steer the car using his cellphone — the ultimate in hands-free operation.

Aston Martin V12 Vanquish

During the late '90s, Bond traded in his signatureAston Martin for several BMWs. He then went back to the British automaker in "Die Another Day." The Aston Martin V12 Vanquish was equipped with familiar gadgets, such as an ejector seat, rocket launchers, machine guns and spiked tires — a must-have for driving on ice, you know — as well as a ridiculous cloaking device that rendered the car invisible.

Aston Martin DBS

"Casino Royale," 2006
The Aston Martin DBS has roots in Bond lore going back to 1969's "On Her Majesty's Secret Service." But it wasn't until 2006's "Casino Royale" by making Guinness World Records: It rolled seven and a half times in a spectacular stunt. For a Q car, this DBS is rather sedate, featuring only a concealed Walther P99 with silencer, a medical kit and a computer link to MI6. No missiles whatsoever.

Honda CRF250R

"Skyfall," 2012
Not only does the DB5 return as Craig's main steed in the latest Bond blockbuster, "Skyfall," due out Nov. 9, but the star also spend some quality time on two wheels. Director Sam Mendes and the crew customized a series of the off-road bikes for the movie's opening chase scene in Istanbul.

By Chuck Tannert of MSN Autos

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