Ranking the Bond Cars
Today we conclude what has become “Thirty Days of Bond.” I hadn’t quite intended it to become thirty days, but that’s what it became. Now we have thirty articles all about what’s probably the best franchise in film. We’ll conclude with the area that I know absolutely nothing about — Bond cars.
Bond cars are a huge staple of the franchise — all those great, iconic cars that Bond drives, like that Citroen in For Your Eyes Only, the BMW in Tomorrow Never Dies and the Vanquish in Die Another Day. You know… classics.
I honestly know nothing about cars and, outside of like, three of them, would probably just rank them based on how they look to me. But fortunately, I have a Bond expert who knows all about cars. So I’m just gonna leave the floor to him. He knows more about this shit than I do. This article is honestly going to be the opposite of what the earlier ones were. I’m leaving all this entirely to TokyoRemix — he’s gonna rank the cars, and I’m gonna comment (and put my list down below, since what the fuck do I know?). He’ll be the play-by-play guy, and I’ll be the colored guy.
(TokyoRemix Note: Did you guys know Mike is Puerto Rican?)
(Mike Note: Now everyone’s gonna believe… ah fuck it. Nobody reads this.)
Oh, and later on today, I’m gonna post an index of all the lists that were published, with links to all the articles. And the link will go up in the Favorite Films tab up top for future reference.
So let’s get into the car talk.
Ranking the Bond Cars
25. Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II (A View to a Kill)
A Rolls Royce in a Bond movie? Absurd! Or, not at all, because there have actually been more individual Rolls Royces in this franchise than Aston Martins, which may come as a surprise. This particular car is a 1962 Silver Cloud II, which wouldn’t have been my first choice; the Silver Cloud I looks about the same, but is smoother and quieter. At any rate, this is Sir Godfrey Tibbett’s car that he chauffeurs Bond around in. It ends up at the bottom of a lake with Bond inside, and he has to breathe with air from the tires. No idea how he got out — the pressure on the door would be immense, and the Silver Cloud II came with power windows for the first time in the line.
This car is NICE. I made my list completely separate from TokyoRemix’s, just to get an idea of how far off my taste in cars (or lack thereof) is from his. So I’m happy that he put this on his list, because I put this on mine. And mine was based solely on the look and pretty much nothing else.
Though this does seem like a car that James St. John Smythe would be driven in.
24. Alfa Romeo GTV6 (Octopussy)
I have no great reason to put this car here other than the fact that I really like it. I’m of the opinion that the 80s were an awful time for automotive styling just about everywhere in the world except Europe. There were a few gems, and this is one of them. Bond is in a hurry, so he steals this car from a woman in a phone booth and speeds off. It could be my high point of Octopussy, tied with Bonesaw, of course. The car doesn’t get all that much action, and it was a standard product placement deal with Alfa Romeo, but I’ve always been fond of this car and was pleased to see it used in the film, albeit sparingly.
Yeah… I don’t like this car as much. Looks too 80s for me. Plus, Octopussy. I, personally, don’t have too many reasons to like this one. (This is me, providing a voice for us people who know nothing about cars. It’s like all the people who don’t watch movies and have opinions. So I can see why car people wouldn’t respect us.)
23. Rolls Royce Silver Wraith (From Russia With Love)
This is how Kerim Rolls (see what I did there?). I’m not as big on the Silver Cloud, but the Silver Wraith oozes class. You may recognize it from a number of films — there were two of them in Arthur, one of which was Dudley Moore’s main limo — or just in classy pictures or commercials. We see that Kerim has one of these, we know that he’s Rollin’ in style. You know he paid for the Rolls with rolls. Sorry, I don’t have any Royce puns. Pork fried Royce. See? Doesn’t work.
Did I just hear Arthur? Am I gonna have to alter my list? Shit, if I knew this two days ago, I probably would have snuck it on for that reason. Though I guess it’s better that I didn’t. Since that’s no reason to put a car on a list. (Who the fuck am I kidding… yes it is.)
22. Jaguar XJ8 (Casino Royale & Quantum of Solace)
You wouldn’t think this car would make it up this high, but I have to respect it for multiple appearances. It also looks good. The point is, I didn’t realize it would be an important car until I’d seen it a few times. In Casino Royale, we see that it’s Le Chiffre’s car. It’s one of those cars (and there’s another coming up next!) that has the rare honor of having a kidnapped Bond girl thrown into it while screaming. After Le Chiffre’s demise, I thought that’d be the end of it. But then we see Mr. White roll up to his sweet house in one at the end of the film. Same car. Okay….coincidence? Then in Quantum, Dominic Greene has one that we see on multiple occasions. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: The Quantum company car. At least for those two films, anyway. This is the car evil people drive. I should work for MI6, cause I could just spot these and have the owners arrested. 10 to 1 Bond could have followed some of those marked bills to the Jaguar dealer just up the street and done just as well as when he went to Haiti.
Yeah, not a bit fan of this one. Looks too much like most nameless cars on the road today. I mean, that’s the point, I get it, it’s just — meh. I want something distinctive. I don’t want something that I almost could drive if I had some money.
21. AMC Matador (The Man With the Golden Gun)
Admittedly, I’m not fond of this car or the fact that it turns into a plane, but it’s interesting enough and not far-fetched enough to really dock it points. Scaramanga’s car is an AMC Matador, which was a slow piece of crap that worked its way into the Bond franchise through product placement, since Eon has been known to be a money-grubbing whore. I will say that I can see why people enjoy the novelty of a car that can hook on some wings and an engine, and why they enjoy it. And it gets points just for not being Bond’s AMC Hornet, which stung. Hah, another pun. But seriously, that stupid car makes me want to drink heavily.
“(Noun) makes me want to drink heavily,” said Mike. (MadLibs)
I like that this car turns into a plane. It’s also very 70s. As such, it’s good for an honorable mention from me.
20. Jaguar XKR (Die Another Day)
Here’s another one I wasn’t particularly fond of as a spy car because it was too ridiculous, but it’s going up here because of the minutes and minutes of screen time it got, I’m sure it had some good moments. This is Zao’s Jaguar XKR (remember? Evil people drive Jaguars!) that he uses to chase Bond in the “Vanish”. It seems like the perfect counter for Bond’s specially equipped Vanquish, since its thermal imagine system renders Bond’s cloaking device useless. It can then lock on to the heat signature and has a minigun that auto-targets. There are missiles where the engine should be, so we’re to assume this car (and Bond’s) runs on magic. It has pretty much everything Bond’s car does except cloaking and a roof. All I can say is, “It’s good. BUT IT AIN’T ENOUGH!” Like I said before, it’s only here because it gets in some action, looks nice and didn’t offend me as much as a Holocaust denier. But we’re still at that point on the list where stuff is either not too involved, or ludicrous.
I put this car on my list despite how they use it in the movie. It just doesn’t seem to fit on the ice. Maybe because it’s green.
19. Ford Fairlane (Thunderball & Die Another Day)
This was a nice little homage to Thunderball. The car belonged to Count Lippe, who chases Bond’s DB5 out of the spa and shoots at it from the window. Fiona Volpe shows up on her custom BSA Lightning and blows it up with missiles, saving Bond the trouble. A cool chase, especially at the time. But then it comes back for Die Another Day, which was perfect. Bond’s in Cuba and he asks for a fast car — of course, because of the embargo, there are no new cars, so “fast” is a relative term, and we end up with this.
Damn fine automobile. I love these cars. 60s for pure sexiness, 70s for flavor. I’d love to be driving around in one of these.
18. Lincoln Continental (Goldfinger)
I think everyone remembers this car pretty well. It doesn’t get much action, but it’s an important car all the same. Goldfinger’s Continental is used as a limo for Oddjob to chauffeur Mr. Solo to the airport. On the way, Oddjob kills Solo (eat your heart out, Greedo) and pulls into a junkyard. The car is put in a crusher and we watch as it’s pulverized. Makes you wanna cry. The cube of car is removed and placed in the back of Oddjob’s replacement car (no way it’d be able to haul all that, by the way) and he returns to Goldfinger’s ranch. I don’t see why they couldn’t have just hidden the body somewhere instead of crushing a beautiful, new car and being left with a crunched up, 4500 lb hunk of metal dripping blood. But either way, it’s dramatic.
I’m happy to see this too, because I loved this car. I like the Thunderball one better because it’s a convertible. Convertibles always look nicer.
17. Chevrolet Bel Air (Dr. No)
This is a Chevy Bel Air. A ’57 Chevy Bel Air. That should be all I have to say. Ok, fine, it’s also the first car Bond drives in the franchise. But you got it, right? ’57 Chevy Bel Air. I don’t need to explain further.
Look at that car…
16. Rolls Royce Phantom III (Goldfinger)
One of the finest Rolls Royces ever made. It’s a thing of beauty, and it’s used for smuggling gold. Plus, Oddjob drives it. I can’t not love this car. If I was ever going to let someone chauffeur me around, it would be in this.
“But don’t go in!”
15. Corvorado (Live and Let Die)
You can’t not have the Pimpmobile on this list. This is a Corvorado, which is the underpinnings of a Chevy Corvette with the body of a Cadillac El Dorado. I believe the description I used in the article was, “muscle car speed, sleek pimp looks.” Look at the thing — that’s EXACTLY what it is. I don’t care about the dart that shoots out of the side mirror. I only care that it looks like that, sounds like a Corvette, and is driven by a fatter version of Questlove.
It’s a fucking pimpmobile. End of story.
14. BMW Z3 (GoldenEye)
This car doesn’t make it any higher because although it’s an official Bond car, it doesn’t do anything. BMW signed on for a product placement deal too late for another chase to be worked into the script or a gadget car to be made for Q to demonstrate. As a result, we have a car that only has gadgets we can be told about rather than seeing, and the car only gets a minute or so of screen time. It is a fun little car, though, and the product placement worked out — BMW sold out all 15,000 pre-order models almost instantly. Pierce should have been a car salesman. Either way, it’s recognizable and it’s a great car, so I show it some love.
The only thing I have against this car is the lack of screen time. I like that it’s compact. That makes it look less like all those cars I don’t like because there are so many of them out there.
13. Ferrari F355 GTS (GoldenEye)
Oh, how I love this car. I’ve always been big on targa models from just about any company — Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc — but this one really works. For those aren’t familiar, a “targa” is halfway between a coupe and a convertible. Instead of a the whole roof folding away, there’s a panel over the seats that comes off or slides back. You get the fun of open-air motoring without making your car look like its head got chopped off; I think it’s an awesome look. This is Xenia’s (though it’s implied that it’s stolen) F355 GTS that she races against Bond’s Aston Martin DB5. Although the matchup is ridiculous — this would DESTROY the DB5 on the road — I still love the scene, and the driving. This car cuts corners, does an offroad spin and shows off its throaty V8. Half of it is sentimental, since this was the most common Ferrari on sale when I was a little kid.
12. Aston Martin Vanquish (Die Another Day)
You knew this wasn’t cracking the top ten. I really don’t like this car all that much, but I have to acknowledge its impact and popularity. I went on a rant in the article about how this car is wrong in a lot of ways, so I won’t go into too much detail here about it. I do believe that this generation of the Vanquish is one of the least attractive sports cars (I’m not counting the Lagonda) Aston Martin has ever made, period. I know that “unattractive” by Aston standards is still supernaturally good by average standards, but it was a disappointment.
So many invisible car jokes to make, so little time.
11. Mercury Cougar XR7 (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)
I don’t know what to think of this car. I like it in general, and it gets some awesome action in the film, but to be honest, I have no idea why it was Tracy’s car (other than Ford product placement) unless they were trying to cleverly portray her as a sexy, older woman. It’s not a Mustang, which is nice — we’ve got plenty of those — but this raging muscle car doesn’t seem to fit the character of an Italian contessa and even though it has a thrilling and impressive chase, it’s not very memorable. I guess what I’m driving at (ayyyy!) is that while I love this car in real life, I bet there are scores of other cars that it could have been instead, and they’d get just as high on this list, if not considerably higher. I’m putting it here for substance; not so much for form or legacy.
What a great looking car. I love the look of this car.
10. BMW Z8 (The World Is Not Enough)
This is really just a stick in the eye of everyone who says that BMW product placement is the worst thing that ever happened to the Bond franchise. It wasn’t all bad. And I think Mike’s habit of sticking up for things that are constantly attacked has rubbed off a bit, because I feel the need to defend this car. For one, it’s a looker. The Z8 was a limited run car designed by Henrik Fisker, who’s also basically responsible for the lines on Daniel Craig’s DBS. The guy knows his way around a sketch table. So it’s ultra rare, powerful, fast, gorgeous…what’s wrong with this car again? It doesn’t have any outlandish gadgets, pretty much just missiles. I’d say that the only thing really keeping this car from going any higher is that it didn’t do all that much. We get some nice wide shots of it, and then it’s involved in the caviar factory battle before a saw helicopter cuts it in half. If they’d given this car a proper chase, a chance to stretch its legs, I think this could have gone several places higher.
This car does look real nice. I actually like the look of it better than I like his GoldenEye BMW.
9. Ford Mustang Mach 1 (Diamonds Are Forever)
I’m not the world’s biggest Mustang fan, but I can’t deny a nice one when I see it. Tiffany Case’s car is a 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1, although it’s painted more conservatively. Most Mach 1s have aggressive stripes and angry-looking tires. And the rear wing. I was disappointed that they watered this one down so much. The thing I was pleased to note was that the car used in the movie had the optional 429 Cobra Jet Ram Air engine, which was a BEAST. They could have chosen the stock engine and most people wouldn’t know the difference. But it’s got a nice sound to it, and this thing scoots. I would have liked to see something that showcased its straight-line speed, but the chase we got was fine as well.
Big fan of the look of this car. This is a high one for me.
8. Ford Mustang Convertible ( Goldfinger & Thunderball)
A lot of car people are going to be surprised that this beat out Tiffany’s Mustang Mach 1, but I feel it has to be here for sheer significance. Fiona Volpe’s 1965 Mustang Convertible isn’t anything too special — she picks Bond up in it and they have a great scene together where he makes him nervous by hitting 100+ mph at night. So we like that. But more important is Tilly Masterson’s 1965 Mustang that appeared in Goldfinger. She’s trying to get by Bond in the mountains in Switzerland, and Bond ends up ruining her tires with a gadget. We get excellent shots of the car, which is white on red (sploosh) and hear some engine noises, too. The real significance is that this was the first major screen appearance of the Mustang, only months after production began. This is the effective international screen debut of arguably the most iconic American car every made — one that is still in production nearly 50 years later with more than 10 million models produced. It’s a biggie.
I originally had the two of them separate and both on my list, but once I saw they could be combined, I made them one as well. That way I don’t have to decide which one I like better, since I’m going on looks and they’re essentially the same car.
7. Sunbeam Alpine (Dr. No)
You might not love it, but this is the first Bond car. There’s nothing too special about a Sunbeam Alpine; it’s small and not too powerful. But the crew showed up to Jamaica with no car to use, and this was the best thing that could be borrowed from the locals. It’s fun, it’s sporty, and it’s British. It introduced us to Bond chases, and gave us some swell rear projection.
How could you not love this car? Look at it! (I said LOOK AT IT!)
6. Aston Martin V8 Vantage (The Living Daylights)
This is a pure Bond car, no matter which way you slice it. It’s an Aston Martin, so it looks great, and it’s got all the usual gadgets, plus a few. I wasn’t originally too keen on the rocket engine or the skis, but I guess Q did know that they would be heading somewhere chilly. It uses missiles, and even better — Bond uses a tireless rim to cut a hole in the lake ice to get some bad guys. I could rank this is the top ten because it’s an Aston Martin and isn’t awful, but that particular car chase has grown on me a bit. It’s nowhere near the top chases, but it’s not too shabby, either.
Dare I say it… this car is on my list too. I like it despite my feelings about the film in which it features.
5. Aston Martin DBS (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)
Two words: Bulletproof. Glass. Get on that, cause you clearly don’t have it. This car doesn’t get much use, other than the beginning (isn’t it funny that Tracy stole this car to drive to HER car that was parked like 100 yards away?) and the end of the film as the wedding car. Otherwise it’s mostly just parked here and there. But it is an important car because Tracy’s in it when Blofeld has to use his AK and she gets killed. Bummer. But what a gorgeous car. You catch two in the back of Q’s workshop in Diamonds Are Forever, but it must’ve just been to tease car people, cause that’s all we get. A shame.
When does a DBS NOT look good?
4. Lotus Esprit (The Spy Who Loved Me & For Your Eyes Only)
This is here because I feel like this poor car needs a break. Everyone remembers the Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me. That was a first generation car, the Esprit S1. We had a good chase, and then it goes underwater. I’m sure I’m in disagreement with the vast majority of fans, but I hate the underwater bit. It’s just…no. I felt like it ruined an otherwise perfectly awesome Bond car. Wet Nellie is well-recognized, but not for what I like it for. Then there were the two cars in For Your Eyes Only. These were generation two cars, the Esprit S2 or Turbo Esprit. The styling’s a little pointer, more angular, and somehow more aggressive. You’re thinking, great, it gets a chance to redeem itself! And after about 20 seconds of screen time, the white Esprit that Bond had parked is tampered with and explodes. What gives? After like 20 seconds? Seriously? Dicks. Anyway, they give Bond a THIRD Esprit, cause they grow on trees. This one is the same car, but red with the yellow Turbo livery. I love that color scheme, and it only works on that car. It’s got skis up the back in a possible homage to Tracy’s Mercury Cougar, which was also red. A guy dies in it, but other than that, NO love at all. Could have been amazing, but they gave it nothing. I put it at 4th because for one, there’s three of them, and I also think Eon was out of its mind to treat this car the way it did. Replace the stupid Citroen chase with a thrilling Esprit chase that doesn’t do weird stuff like going underwater and For Your Eyes Only jumps MULTIPLE places for me.
I love cars that look like this. That DeLorean look.
3. Toyota 2000GT (You Only Live Twice)
God, I love this car. This is so classic it hurts to know I’ll never own one. The Toyota 2000GT is the granddaddy of all Japanese sports cars, really. It was innovative, stylish, and fast. The Bond car is never driven by Bond, but it gets a solid chase and will forever be fondly remembered. The two film cars were also the only cars out of 337 to be convertibles, since Sean Connery was too tall for the coupe. And in spite of the fact that only .5 percent of total production models of this rare car were convertibles, that’s what most people think of when the 2000GT is mentioned. It’s timeless, and we love it.
The way they designed this car is so nice. I wish I had enough pull for them to redesign a car because I was too tall to ride in it.
2. Aston Martin DBS (Casino Royale & Quantum of Solace)
I would call Daniel Craig’s Aston Martin DBS a work of art, but art is by definition something that has no function other than beauty — and this car is VERY functional. Technically, we’re talking about two different cars, since the first was trashed in Casino Royale, and the second car for Quantum is a different color. But we’ll put them together, cause they’re pretty much the same. Anyway, if you read the article we did about action sequences, you’ll have seen this car featured quite prominently. Both of its exploits made the top 25 sequences of all time, and they’re both well worth watching. I’ve got a serious thing for this car, so if anyone wants to chip and get me one…seriously, I’ll settle for a die-cast model. I couldn’t have been happier that this was the choice for Craig in the reboot. 19 years of Bond without a new Aston I liked, this was just what the doctor ordered. I’ve criticized Eon pretty heavily for car choices over certain decades, but they’re back on top.
1. Aston Martin DB5 (Goldfinger, Thunderball, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, Casino Royale & Skyfall)
Fucking really. There’s no denying that this is the most iconic Bond car ever, hands down. In fact, it’s hard to make a case that this isn’t one of the most recognized FILM cars worldwide because most of its major competitors are American, like Back to the Future‘s DeLorean or Bullitt‘s Mustang. I’ve already spoken at length about the DB5 on several occasions, most notably in the Goldfinger article, so I won’t trouble you with all the details. Frankly, you should know all the details. It’s THE Bond car — excellent looks, performance and standard gadgets. Having appeared in Goldfinger, Thunderball, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, Casino Royale, and Skyfall, it’s got a pretty impeccable record as a spy car. It gets copied just about everywhere, from Cars 2 to Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. I even caught an obvious version of it featured prominently in an official trailer for the upcoming release of Grand Theft Auto V. You cannot escape this car. And that engine. The 4.0L inline six. I’d recognize that sound anywhere. This is the car we associate Bond with, and if you don’t recognize it when you see it, I really can’t help you.
Number one was between this and Wade’s ZAZ.
Had to eeny meeny it.
– – – – –
Time for some honorable mentions, in no particular order. They deserve some praise.
Bentley Mark IV (From Russia With Love)
Bond’s car that we see briefly during the scene with Sylvia Trench. It has a car phone fitted, and he proceeds to screw her in the backseat. Well done, sir. Spot on. We later hear in Goldfinger that Q has trashed it.
Maserati Biturbo (Licence to Kill)
This car doesn’t make a lengthy appearance, but it’s the car that Sanchez is in for the beginning of the fuel tanker sequence. This is just like the Alfa Romeo GTV6 for me — it’s an Italian 80s car with exceptional styling. I’m a fan, but it wasn’t cracking the top 25.
Daimler Limousine (The Living Daylights, Tomorrow Never Dies, Casino Royale)
Not sure how many people caught on this, but cars are my character actors list. We seen one of these at the MI6 safehouse in Living Daylights. Then, there’s a scene in one in Tomorrow Never Dies as M and Moneypenny brief Bond. Finally, this is also the car from Casino Royale that Bond and Vesper arrive at the hotel in.
Mercedes Benz 600 (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Octopussy)
This is a sweet car to begin with and it’s also the only car we ever see Blofeld driving. It’s the drive by car from which Irma Bunt shoots and kills Tracy. We also see two in Octopussy — the first is technically a long wheelbase model owned by Kamal Khan, and the second is the car that Bond takes on two wheels and subsequently mounts the train tracks with.
Rolls Royce Silver Shadow Mulliner Park Ward Drophead Coupe (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)
Draco’s car that Bond is first kidnapped from the hotel in. We later see him, Draco, and Tracy all in it. Mike and I both like this car for its crazy long name, but I’ve never been as big a fan of the Drophead models, so it didn’t make the cut.
– – – – –
Ranking the Bond Cars (My List)
25. Lincoln Mark VII LSC (Licence to Kill)
24. BMW Z3 (GoldenEye)
23. Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud (A View to a Kill)
22. Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado (Live and Let Die)
21. BMW Z8 (The World Is Not Enough)
20. Chevy Impala (Live and Let Die)
19. Rolls-Royce Phantom III (Goldfinger)
18. Aston Martin V8 Vantage (The Living Daylights)
17. Mustang Convertible (Goldfinger & Thunderball)
16. Aston Martin V12 Vanquish (Die Another Day)
15. Lincoln Continental (Goldfinger & Thunderball)
14. Rolls Royce Silver Shadow Drophead Coupe Mulliner Park-Ward (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)
13. Ford Thunderbird (Thunderball, Diamonds Are Forever & Die Another Day)
12. Chevrolet Bel Air convertible (Dr. No)
11. Sunbeam Alpine (Dr. No)
10. Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner (Thunderball & Die Another Day)
9. Ferrari F355 GTS (GoldenEye)
8. Mercury Cougar XR-7 (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)
7. Ford Mustang Mach 1 (Diamonds Are Forever)
6. Lotus Esprit (The Spy Who Loved Me & For Your Eyes Only)
5. Aston Martin DBS (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)
4. Toyota 2000GT (You Only Live Twice)
3. Corvado Pimpmobile (Live and Let Die)
2. Aston Martin DBS V12 (Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace)
1. Aston Martin DB5 (Goldfinger, Thunderball, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, Casino Royale, Skyfall)
- AMC Matador (The Man with the Golden Gun)
- Bentley Mark IV (From Russia with Love)
- Daimler Limousine (Tomorrow Never Dies, etc.)
- Mercedes Benz 600 (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)
- Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow (The World Is Not Enough, etc.)