The most iconic James Bond car, the Aston Martin DB5, first appeared back in 1964 in “Goldfinger.” In his look back at the film, Bob Westal discussed the car and all the gadgets.
No small part of the success of “Goldfinger” was the fact that it was the first film to really bring the gadgetry front and center. In this case, all those gadgets were mostly housed in one place — the world’s coolest automobile. So it was that Bond’s old Bentley was replaced with the more up to date Aston Martin DB5, as customized by production designer Ken Adam and efx genius John Stears.
An early example of the practice we now know as “product placement,” the Aston Martin company supplied a single car (another one was later purchased). As legend would have it, the auto was originally only to have a smoke screen device, but crew members began suggesting so many other nifty devices that James Bond becomes visibly irritated as Q informs him that describing them all won’t take more than an hour.
And what devices they were. Director Guy Hamilton had been plagued by parking tickets, so he was attracted to the revolving license plates that had been mentioned in the novel. Hamilton’s stepson suggested the auto-ejector seat that caused Bond to exclaim, “You’re joking!” There was also the bullet-proof windshields, the oil slick release mechanisms, and, of course, the left and right front-wing machine guns. Not technically built into the car as a practical effect, but created largely through the magic of editor Peter Hunt, the car also came equipped with a wheel-based tire-destroying device. That idea was a more or less direct lift from the killer chariots featured in the hit 1959 biblical epic, “Ben-Hur.”
The car was, of course, a huge hit with audiences and played no small part in the enormous commercial success of the James Bond series throughout the 1960s. Corgi’s model of the Q branch Aston Martin DB5 became the most successful toy of 1964 and one of the most iconic merchandizing opportunities of all time. (It was also maybe the first toy to be aimed at children from a movie containing material thought inappropriate for kids.) The Corgi DB5 was a key part of a worldwide merchandising bonanza that would prefigure films like 1977′s “Star Wars,” financed largely on the back of its built-in merchandising possibilities. David Worrell’s out-of-print 1993 book about the DB5 was aptly entitled The Most Famous Car in the World.
Business Insider recently did a post about the history of the Aston Martin DB5 in the Bond films, explaining how it started and then how it’s appeared in other Bond films. “Skyfall” is out in the US next week, and the Daniel Craig version of 007 enjoys the same vehicle in the latest film. Here’s a photo, and you can compare it to the Sean Connery photo above.
We noticed this amazing 1968 Dodge Charger RT at the Councours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach this year. This car is a classic and is definitely on our wish list.
Dodge has come a long way in their attempt to recapture some of the magic from cars like this one. While the new Charger is controversial with the four doors, it still looks like a beast and the new design has been very popular. Meanwhile, the new Challenger really invokes the styles from the past with its retro design. Of course if you buy the newer versions you won’t have to spend a lot of time restoring older models, though for many people that’s the whole point. That said, keep in mind the other expenses like pretty high car insurance rates. Badass cars like the Challenger will likely require performance car insurance.
Just looking at the photo above, for many people the additional expenses are worth it. There’s something about old classics like this one that you can’t replicate. Sometimes older is better.
Our friends at AutoBlog.com did us all a favor and covered the Woodward Dream Cruise in full force! Check out these great pics of muscle cars, classic cars and just about anything you might see on wheels. This is a long tradition that was in need of a comeback year and it looks like Woodward is back! The 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 is one of my favorites.
Every year, the muscle car is the most well-represented vehicle type at the Woodward Dream Cruise. And with good reason: These burly V8-powered steeds reinforce Detroit’s legend as the Motor City.
As we discussed in our post on Woodward’s classic cars, we’ve kinda sorta arbitrarily split American automotive history into two parts, using 1964 as the dividing line. Everything post-1964 is a muscle car… at least for our purposes. With that in mind, take a look at a bunch of classic Mustangs, Chevelles, Corvettes and, of course, Pontiac GTOs in our high-res image gallery below.