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The metallic silver birch Aston Martin DB5 is synonymous with James Bond. Sadly, the original Goldfinger (1964) DB5 was stolen from a private collection in 1997 and still hasn't been recovered.

In 20 films, whether personified by Sean Connery or Roger Moore or Timothy Dalton or Pierce Brosnan, James Bond has shown driving moves that would make NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon salivate. Like everything else he does, Bond is smooth behind the wheel.

The difference between the two men (okay, besides the fact that Gordon isn't speeding through populated metropolises, trying to chase or escape bad guys) has to be the cars. Since the early '60s, no one has driven cooler automobiles than 007. All of them mirror—and enhance—Bond's sex appeal, while making the car chase sequences extraordinary eye candy for moviegoers. Oh, and then there are the gadgets: Once NASCAR starts equipping their race cars with oil slick devices or ejector seats—then we'll start debating.

There have been approximately 150 different types of vehicles featured in James Bond films over the past four decades (no, 007 hasn't driven them all). Let's take a look at some of the high-profile machinery that helped shape James Bond's legendary image.

  • Aston Martin DB5—James Bond's signature car was first written about by author Ian Fleming in the novel Goldfinger, and then featured in the film of the same name in 1964. Metallic silver birch in color, the tiny sports car is synonymous with Bond. When it first makes its appearance in Goldfinger, Q-Branch has tinkered with the vehicle, making it a mobile weapon as well as a 330-horsepower getaway car. It contains two machine guns that emerge from behind the parking lights; rotating license plates; smoke screen capabilities; oil slick discharger from taillights; passenger ejector seat; spikes deployable from the side of the taillights; bulletproof windows; tire cutters in the wheels (a personal favorite); and a car phone. All of these devices are controlled from a panel near 007's fingertips. The DB5 made three subsequent appearances in Bond films. In 1965 it appeared in the pre-title sequence for Thunderball, this time sporting a bulletproof steel plate over the rear window and two flashy water cannons firing streams of spray at gangsters outside Paris. The car was retired for thirty years before being pulled out of storage in GoldenEye (1995) and Tomorrow Never Dies (1997). Sadly, the original Goldfinger DB5 was stolen from a private collection in '97 and still hasn't been recovered.
  • Aston Martin Vantage/Volante V8—Both models are seen in The Living Daylights (1987). They are often used on ice, so the tires come equipped with spikes to keep the car on track. For gadgetry, the car has rocket drive, rocket launchers, wheel-mounted lasers and a self-destruct button.

  • Lotus Esprit—Next to the Aston Martin DB5, 007's universally deployable vehicle, the white Lotus Esprit is his second-most-famous mode of transportation. As seen in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and driven by Roger Moore, the Lotus was an intensely armed machine with a versatile ability to turn into a submarine. When seen on land, Bond protects himself by spraying cement at villains; while underwater, the Lotus came fully equipped with a periscope, torpedoes and mines. Two more Esprits made appearances in For Your Eyes Only (1981), with one blowing up due to a sensitive burglary system and another one getting a chance to ski a mountain.
  • Citro?n 2CV—Stylish bright-yellow buggy car used in For Your Eyes Only, after 007's white Esprit blows up.
  • Renault 11 taxi—Used and mangled in one of 007's more frantic chases in A View to a Kill (1985). In Paris, Bond steals the car to escape goons. He takes the poor thing down steep steps, loses its roof by a bar and completely trashes it when it's cut in half by another car.
  • BMW Z3 roadster—In 1995, Bond producers created controversy and broke English hearts by placing 007 behind the wheel of his first German car, a metallic blue BMW Z3 in GoldenEye. How could England's most famous hero drive something from Germany? It didn't help that the car was loaded with gadgets, and the film only utilized one or two. According to Q, the bulletproof Bimmer boasted stinger missiles, SATNAV tracking equipment, a parachute braking system and an all-point radar warning system. Only the parachute and radar systems were used in the film.
  • BMW 750iL—The Q-Branch worked overtime on this baby. Bond's 750iL, from Tomorrow Never Dies, boasts the most gadgets since the Aston Martin DB5 in Goldfinger, as the producers tried to answer the criticism from the BMW Z3 in GoldenEye. For example, it has eight missiles in the sunroof, self-inflating and deflating tires, bulletproof windows (of course), a wire cutter, more machine guns, protective-gas security system, cameras in the front, and a safe in the glove compartment. It's used exclusively during a long chase, giving Pierce Brosnan a chance to show off his new toy.
  • BMW Z8—Another Q special, this gorgeous, silver metallic, 400-hp car is loaded with an arsenal big enough to defend a small third world country. Unfortunately, it meets an untimely end in The World Is Not Enough (1999), getting cut in half by saws suspended from a helicopter.
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