Retro Heaven

James Bond and Aston Martin

Celebrating a match made in heaven….

Fifty-three years ago this week, as the release of the James Bond film Goldfinger rolled out across American cinemas so its audience would be introduced to the first of many appearances of his mode of transport, the Aston Martin. This was the first showing of the legendary DB5 which would be revived by Pierce Brosnan in Goldenye, Tomorrow Never Dies and briefly in The World is not Enough before his successor, Daniel Craig carried on the tradition in the trio Casino Royale, Spectre and Skyfall. 

Aston Martin’s association with the Bond franchise is well documented, the DB5 would be seen in Thunderball, the follow-up to Goldfinger in which its rear-facing water cannons come in to play, a gizmo which, like those in the previous film, fascinated its audience and prompted the launch of one of the most iconic toy replicas ever created. The use of far-fetched modifications such as rocket launchers, machine guns and ejector seats doesn’t sit all too comfortably with me. It is a significant point of division between the desire to ‘wow’ audiences and particularly the young and to appease those, who, like me, wish for a Bond more in keeping with traditional spying methods!

I do think the choice of car and how it has been used has often reflected the production team’s own struggle with placing Bond as a relevant character throughout the franchise’s history. With the first departure of Sean Connery we saw a different Bond in George Lazenby and the very cool and equally understated Aston Martin DBS. Gone were the guns and radar screens and instead we see the car in only four scenes. There is no mention of any special modifications and most especially a tragic lack of bullet-proof glass to save his bride. Roger Moore’s tenure featured many makes, most notably the Lotus Esprit, but no Aston Martin, and whilst the jokes grew, the car gizmos mostly faded.

So as another Bond anniversary is upon us this week I find myself in two minds about the Bond/Aston Martin relationship. As someone who had high hopes for the future with the release of Casino Royale I would prefer my Bond more hard-hitting or Harry Palmer than big budget parody, but we cannot have it all. Despite the silliness, Bond introduced the proletariat to a truly beautiful automobile and for that we must be thankful.

Categories: Retro Heaven

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