Hi all! The name’s James, James James… nope, that doesn’t really work does it, seeing as I, car enthusiast James, don’t actually have a surname, like Sting, Enya or Metallica. Or even a licence to a surname! Legal battles with the popular 90s music group ‘James’ are ongoing. Now, sit down, oh sit down, and enjoy this week’s word dump as we cover the first 25 years of Bond cars.
Chronology, the narrative choice of the deeply unimaginative
The first ever James Bond car was the 1962 Sunbeam Alpine from Dr No. This is notable for 2 reasons: tedious people will argue endlessly as to whether Dr No was a ‘proper’ Bond film, and Q couldn’t be arsed to make any alterations to it. So, if you’re on a tight budget, bone idle, or you’re perfectly happy with your car as it is, this is the one to go for! The Bentley Mark IV from 1963’s From Russia with Love wasn’t actually driven by James Bond himself, though he did use its car phone which was somewhat ahead of its time. Although a car phone could be considered somewhat behind the times now… Let’s map this onto the modern feature of handsfree Bluetooth connections, with voice-dialling if you’re feeling super fancy. So, if you’re a travelling salesman, or you have something so important to tell the world that it can’t wait until you’re out of the car, this is the mod for you! 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, featured the gorgeous Aston Martin DBS. It was properly fast for the day, capable of 0-60 in under 6 seconds. So a nice little tune-up kit, perhaps inspired by Gran Turismo, would appropriately capture the spirit of this one – ‘chipping’ the engine would be a cost-effective way of boosting performance, whilst simultaneously invalidating your warranty, insurance, and reducing the car’s lifespan. Maybe just stick to the whale-tail spoiler, go-faster stripes, over-sized wheel arches, and under-car UV lighting. People will think you’re an idiot, but at least you’ll be an idiot fully covered for parts and labour. The AMC Hornet X from The Man with the Golden Gun is best known for its epic bridge jump. The relevant tune-up here (coupled with the tune-down in your own life-preservation instinct and respect for driving regulations), would be a suspension upgrade. This is a pretty nifty way of giving your car a sportier, or more ‘leisurely’ feel. There have also been a few cars throughout history where their suspension has been their weak spot, so a modification here could turn it into the car it always should have been. I’m thinking back to the mk2 Fiat Panda 100, which was a fantastic pocket rocket (well, more a pocket supermarket firework) apart from the fact that its over-sporty suspension made every bump in the road feel like a deep tissue massage from an angry Russian Olympic shotput champion awaiting a ban for illegal steroid use. One of the most iconic Bond cars has to be 1974’s Lotus Esprit S1 from The Spy Who Loved Me, thanks to its rather handy ‘turning into a submarine’ feature. This was implausible for several reasons, not least that the built quality of any 1970s Lotus would surely have made the car flood with even light drizzle, let alone full submersion. The world of amphibious cars has been rather… chequered to date, mainly comprising some ‘hilarious’ Top Gear moments, and some sinking city tour ‘Duck’ mobiles. The one properly cool amphibious car is the replica Lamborghini Countach Z1A, which recently featured on eBay. If that’s a bit too showy for you, perhaps you could try getting its parents, SeaRoader, to convert your Ford Focus? The final vehicle we’ll cover is the Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante from 1987’s The Living Daylights, famous for its pop-out skis. In a piece of genius subversion, the tune up we want here is the opposite one – something to stop your car sliding around on snow. Nice chunky winter tyres, possible with snow chains, are the one here. Also, make sure you know what you’re doing if you’re piloting a rear-wheel drive car in the snow. Unlike all the hilarious BMWs sliding around during winter, with their drivers failing to grasp that the accelerator is analogue, not digital, and that their own sense of smugness can’t by itself counteract oversteer.
From Perrys with Love
Having been filled to the brim with this useful information, put down the Martini (because you mustn’t drink and drive), head to your local Perrys and let one of our special agents spec out your dream machine. Over and out.