- While AMR Green is my favorite car color of all, silver birch is right up there too.

Why is Aston Martin synonymous with James Bond?

The story of two British icons.

No Time To Die dropped recently (great movie by the way), and in it, were a whopping four Aston Martins! The storied British brand has been a staple of Bond films for years, but how did it all begin? It actually didn’t start with the first Bond film, Dr. No. We’d only see the first Aston Martin until Goldfinger in 1964. In the previous two films, 007 drove around in Sunbeams and even a Bentley.

"Oh, it's had it's day I'm afraid."

Said Q after Bond asked him about his Bentley in Goldfinger. After noting that it is to be replaced on M’s orders, the iconic silver-birch grand tourer was seen on-screen for the first time. What followed was a presentation of the car’s gadgets which included: Machine guns in the front lights! Bulletproof windows! Rear oil slicks! A smokescreen! A rear window shield, even if the window is already bulletproof! An ejection seat! But most impressive of all, a satnav! Remember, this was 1964.

The DB5 then proceeded to lead the charge in the rest of the film, carrying our hero around in his secret-agent antics. The DB5 would then make a cameo appearance in Thunderball the following year, with the DBS featured, albeit briefly, in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

And then they were gone

The 70s were not good for Aston Martin. The global energy crisis, a plethora of new environmental regulations in the USA and the economies of most countries on Earth pooping their pants made for a terrible time to be a small, boutique luxury car manufacturer. The whole company was purchased by a group of investors in 1972 for, get this, £101 pounds sterling. That’s just under £1400 today. For the price of one DB11 today, you could have bought all of Aston Martin in 1972 a hundred and thirteen times. And that’s without options. To make things even worse for them, the producers of Bond decided to abandon Aston Martin in favor of other brands such as Lotus, to differentiate Roger Moore’s films from Sean Connery’s. Sheesh. The new investors didn’t like this. After just three years of ownership, they sold off the company.

Making up for lost time

Out went Roger Moore, and in went Timothy Dalton. And with them, out went Lotus, and in went Aston Martin again. The two British icons were reunited in The Living Daylights, where Dalton’s 007 was kitted out with a V8 Vantage. In 1987, Ford purchased Aston Martin, giving it two things it really never enjoyed before. Some deep as-(expletive) pockets, and a bunch of manufacturing experience from Detroit. They would offer a larger lineup during these years, including the Vantage, the Vanquish, and the drop-dead-stunning DB9.

How do I live? How do I breathe? When you’re not here, I’m suffocating…

That subtitle is a piece of Writing’s On The Wall, Sam Smith’s theme song for Spectre. It’s also a decent description of how Aston Martin probably felt after they were dumped by the film producers again, going with BMW for Pierce Brosnan’s films instead. While 007 would now drive around in a Z3 or a 7 Series or a Z8 in these films, the DB5 would return in the three films featuring BMWs, right under Munich's nose. Neat.

BMW then left, and Aston Martin picked up the pieces for Die Another Day, the last of Brosnan’s films and also the last Bond film before Daniel Craig’s rebooted series. The V12 Vanquish’s appearance meant that a brand-new Aston Martin was on-screen for the first time since the 80s. The pair have never looked back.

The name's 10. DB10.

Ever since 2002, Bond has never not driven around in an Aston Martin, and it seems that the two will never separate again. This is made even more apparent when you see the DB10, a car made exclusively for use for filming Spectre (it would later become the Vantage). No Time to Die meanwhile features the V8 Vantage (the one from The Living Daylights, not to be confused with the modern one I just mentioned), the DBS Superleggera, Valhalla and DB5. To my surprise, the film’s main car was the Vantage.

Actually answering the question on the title

Over the past 50+ years, these two figures have been brought together by a long series of events, including a breakup and another half-breakup. However, why was an Aston picked for the Goldfinger movie? Like in the films, Astons weren't always 007's car of choice in the novels. Normally, Book Bond (yes, I’m calling him that) drove a Bentley 4 ½ Litre from 1930. However, in Moonraker, he crashes the car, and is assigned a DB Mark III in Goldfinger.

The rest is history.

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Comments (5)

  • Didn’t Bond always use a Bentley in the books though?

      1 month ago
    • He did. I just realized that sentence was wrong. Thank you!

        1 month ago
  • The DB of Book Bond was the DB Mk111, but wasn't it misnamed a DB3 or such like?

      1 month ago
  • Wasn't Aston bought by Ford in 1987?

      1 month ago
    • I think Ford bought a 75% stake in 1987, and had fully acquired the company by 1993. Correct me if I'm wrong though.

        1 month ago