Cars have fulfilled an important role in the James Bond films. They’re more than just a beautiful sight to behold. They represent Bond and his tastes regarding the enjoyment of life itself. The cars have shifted in both make and appearance with the actors and their respective eras, but no other vehicle is as synonymous with James Bond as the Aston Martin DB5. It set the benchmark for what Bond should be driving (in the films) and it was the beginning of an enduring partnership between the makers of the franchise and Aston Martin.
It all began with Goldfinger (1964). In the novel, James Bond drove the DB Mark III but Aston’s newest model – the DB5 – had just been made and the producers (‘Cubby’ Broccoli and Harry Saltzman) instinctually jumped at the idea of using it in their new film, instead of the Mark III. The DB5 started a fan-favourite Bond tradition of stocking a car with any gadget imaginable and it fascinated an entire generation of movie-goers. The success of Goldfinger (and franchise at that point in time) partially stemmed from the iconic appearance of the DB5. The producers had a lot to thank regarding Aston Martin. What worked well was that danger, suspense, charm and class could be embodied in such a car as the DB5. All of these qualities are synonymous with James Bond. In other words; Bond and Aston worked brilliantly together on-screen. Each complemented the other, which elevated them both equally to an iconic status.
Continuing the tradition, the Aston Martin DB5 would also feature in seven other Bond films. Such as Thunderball (1965), Goldeneye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999), Casino Royale (2006), Skyfall (2012) and even as recent as Spectre (2015). The DB5 was not used for three decades, between ‘65 and ’95 but it returned with Brosnan as an homage to Sean Connery’s Bond films. As usual, it would be fitted with modern gadgets perfect for the new 007s (Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig) but it wouldn’t take the center stage as it had done in Goldfinger. Instead, the DB5 was used more as fan-service or a nod to Bond-savvy audiences. Think of its brief, albeit iconic, use in Skyfall where we got a massive surprise as Bond opened a storage unit with the DB5 sitting there with the James Bond theme playing.
However, Aston Martin was more than just the DB5. They supplied their new ‘modernised’ cars which appeared throughout the franchise. There was the DBS in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), the V8 Vantage in The Living Daylights (1987), the V12 Vanquish in Die Another Day (2002), the DBS V12s in Casino Royale (2006) and Quantum of Solace (2008) and the rare DB10 in Spectre (2015). In total, Aston Martin have provided fourteen cars in twelve Bond films, which means that we see one Aston in every two films on average (half of the films have an Aston). This shows how strong the partnership between the two companies has always been and is a clear sign that we will be seeing another Aston in the future.
Aston Martin recently hinted that we will see a new model in the next James Bond film. They have two options: they could use a prototype car or use an ‘older’ model like the DB11, which was released in the last year. What is certain is that Aston Martin is keen on using the image of the Bond franchise since it is very profitable and the producers (Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson) seem to like using their cars as call-backs to the early Bond films. For 53 years the two entities successfully stuck together. Let us hope that it continues for a further 53 yearS.