From BMWs to Aston Martins, what really is Agent 007's favourite ride? Bond comes trotting out of the casino, pistol loosely in one hand. He spots a black sedan peeling out of the lot, sprints to his Aston Martin DBS, revs the engine, and takes off after them.
Bond comes trotting out of the casino, pistol loosely in one hand. He spots a black sedan peeling out of the lot, sprints to his Aston Martin, revs the engine, and takes off after them.
This is one of the many scenes from one of the countless Bond films (including the latest Skyfall) wherein James Bond gets into the film’s featured car and takes off in pursuit of the villains. There have been many 007 films and there have been even more 007 cars, but why is it that one company’s name especially sticks out whenever the name James Bond is mentioned? Why is it that Aston Martin is the company that has the distinct honor of being the favored company of the world’s most esteemed and envied secret agent?
It didn’t start off with Bond in an Aston. In Dr. No, the first ever Bond film, our hero was actually behind the wheel of a…Sunbeam Alpine. Light blue. Rented by the film company. Why? Because it was the only suitable sports car that was available on the island where filming took place. The classic and infamous Aston Martin DB5 plated “BMT 216A” was featured in two films: Goldfinger and Thunderball, and it was soon replaced by the Toyota 2000 GT and subsequently an AMC Coupe (God knows why!) in You Only Live Twice and The Man with the Golden Gun, respectively. It wasn’t until 1987 that Aston even got back in the game, only to be followed up by BMW in three films. Bond has driven cars manufactured by seven other companies, for every Aston he drove, he has driven two other makes. Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond himself, had Bond in a Bentley the majority of the time — only putting him behind the wheel of an Aston for one book. But only Aston Martin’s name is synonymous with the Bond series. Why is this?
I believe that it has something to do with the fact that Bond’s personality and Aston Martin’s image are quite similar. Just go with me here. James Bond is the classiest, most effective, most suave and attractive spy in the business. He’s not flashy, he’s not a tool, he just exudes excellence in every way imaginable. Therefore, it’s only proper for his vehicle of choice to be the same. Ferraris and Lamborghinis are too loud, ridiculous, and for all intents and purposes, immature. He’s not a lawyer who just won a huge settlement or a rapper whose first album Spyin’ n Sh*t just went platinum. Bentleys are too…stuffy and impractical, not to mention they wouldn’t make film deadlines because the car would be in the shop. He isn’t an industry tycoon who enjoys playing polo, hunting quail, and smoking a pipe while reading War and Peace. Less expensive cars such as BMWs and Porsches are too common — and James Bond is anything but.
My neighbor drives a BMW 7-series. He works for a BMW dealership of some sort. Why in the world should James Bond drive the same car as this guy (Tomorrow Never Dies)? You may as well put him in a Ford Taurus. Why not just put Bond in a Cadillac? How weird would it be to see him in pull up to a villain’s mansion in the dead of night…in a Mercedes E-Class? N one wants to see Bond get out of a car that their doctor drives. Same with Maseratis — there are international exchange students here at my university who drive GranSports and Quattroportes. Why should Bond be relegated to that same level?
I could play this game of elimination all day and the conclusion is and always will be the same. The brand image, if you will, of Aston Martin simply fits best with the brand that James Bond has evolved into. Aston consistently produces cars that are classy, smooth, and seductive, yet at the same time providing a level of excitement and power unmatched by others. They’re on a whole different level than other cars. Just like Bond. He’s a whole different kind of man. He doesn’t drink beer (don’t get me started on the Heinekens) — the drinks vodka martinis (shaken, not stirred), scotch and sodas, and champagne.
James Bond and Aston Martin are synonymous with one another because they’re so incredibly similar. And by similar, I mean vastly different from the status quo. James Bond drives Aston Martins. Anything else would be just…wrong.