License to drive: Best cars from James Bond films

Over the last half century Ian Fleming’s iconic cinematic secret agent has piloted just about every manner of vehicle ever conceived in the long-running series of James Bond films, from a helicopter, fire engine and jet pack to a snowmobile, Russian tank and even a lunar rover. Still, it’s agent 007’s seemingly endless fleet of exotic cars – in some instances they’re virtually disposable within the context of the storylines – that are the movies’ un-credited co-stars.

To help celebrate the golden anniversary of the franchise – the first James Bond film Dr. No premiered 50 years ago – we’re revisiting our fan-crazed selections from earlier this year for what are arguably the best 007 vehicles of all time.

Note: Car nuts and 007 aficionados alike can still check out the “Bond in Motion” exhibit at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, England (about 87 miles southwest of London). This exhaustive aggregation of 50 of the most recognized 007 vehicles – including ones from the 23rd film in the series, Skyfall –runs through January 6, 2013.

Aston Martin DB5

First seen in the 1964 film Goldfinger, the venerable DB5 is arguably the car that’s inexorably associated with James Bond. A luxury grand touring car produced between 1963 and 1965 that came powered by a 282-horsepower 4.0-liter engine, the DB5 packed such then-upscale amenities as reclining seats, wool pile carpets, electric windows, chrome wire wheels, full leather upholstery and even a fire extinguisher. The DB part of the car’s name stands for David Brown, who owned Aston Martin throughout much of its post-WWII glory days.

Bond’s version featured such essential secret-agent accessories as a front-firing machine gun, passenger-ejection seat, smoke screen, oil slick dispensers, a bulletproof barrier, revolving multinational license plates and front and rear retractable ramming arms. It also came with extendable wheel hubs that could disable an adjacent vehicle by slashing its tires. The durable DB5 also saw duty in Thunderball (1965), GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) and Casino Royale (2006); it was even used as the basis for the spy character Finn McMissile in the 2011 animated film Cars 2.


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