James Bond. 00. The suave, sophisticated spy in a sharp suit and a car to die for. But what would be the ideal car for an actual spy? The dictionary definition of 'spy' reads: "a person employed by a government or other organisation to secretly obtain information on an enemy or competitor". The key word there is 'secretly'; how secret is Mr Bond's presence going to be if he rolls into town in an Aston Martin DB5? He might as well have MI6 tattooed on his forehead.
Of course, James Bond isn't all about the Astons. In the early novels and films he drove vintage Bentleys (because a 4.5-litre blower Bentley won't get you noticed, will it James?). He doesn't always drive British though. The Citroen 2 CV he drove in For Your Eyes Only might have slipped by the baddies unnoticed, had it been a less retina scorching shade of yellow. Then there was the eye-catching BMW Z8 he drove in The World is Not Enough, which got chopped in half by a massive saw swinging from a helicopter. Which brings me to another point...
Citroen 2CV, one of the stealthier vehicles Bond drives .... in not so subtle canary yellow. Photo: Fiona Easterby
How long would you keep your job if you repeatedly trashed the company car? If you didn't get the sack, you'd be handed a bus pass. Bond has trashed millions of pounds worth of vehicles over the years and yet we are led to believe, firstly, that the British Secret Service can afford this, and secondly that they keep handing him some of the sexiest cars in the world knowing they won't come home in one piece, if at all. Just look at the scars on the side of the DB5 in the opening shots of the No Time to Die trailer. Would you lend that man a car, with his reputation? On your bike Mr Bond!
So what would a top flight spy in the British Secret Service drive? It would need to be something discreet, which leads me to a Toyota Prius. As much as I hate them, nobody gives them a second glance unless they're waiting for an Uber. But what if a high speed pursuit is called for? Priuses aren't exactly quick. A Tesla? The saloon models aren't too in your face, they're quiet and they're quick, but I can see Bond getting range anxiety, running out of juice just before catching the supervillain. So let's rule out full electric.
What about a van? Battered white Transit vans are seen the world over and nobody pays them much attention. It would be the ideal vehicle for a lengthy stake out, you could even have a Portaloo in the back and Sabine Schmidt proved they can shift in the right hands. Just make sure that loo is secure before doing any handbrake turns.
Toyota Previa, as owned by the British Prime Minister - could Boris be on to something here?
It's odd, the things that pop into your head on a morning commute, but then I do pass MI6 on my way to work. The people and vehicles going in and out of that building have one thing in common; they're nondescript. Boris Johnson may be chauffeured around in flash Jags now he's Prime Minister, but do you know what he drove when he was Home Secretary? An ageing Toyota Previa. That's right, while in charge of MI5, Boris Johnson drove a battered people carrier full of rubbish. Perhaps he's on to something. While it's not the quickest car in the world, he could drive wherever he wanted without being noticed.
What do you think? What would a real Bond drive? It needs to be discreet, fast and have a good fuel range. Let me know in the comments.
Lego don't do a Toyota Previa...
...but you can get a blocky version of Bond's Aston Martin in all it's brick-filled glory. Although we'd probably buy a Lego Previa.