As No Time To Die revs up for cinema release, and Bond back at the wheel of his beloved DB5, Alan J. Porter considers the secret agent's connection with the Aston Martin brand. 

James Bond and Aston Martin, two iconic brands that seem almost inseparable. The upcoming Bond 25 movie will include not just one, but three distinct Aston Martin models, the classic DB5 from the 1960s, the V8 Vantage from the 1980s, and the latest Aston Martin, the Valhalla supercar. But it wasn’t always that way.

Originally Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming, depicted his secret agent as a Bentley man, driving a variety of Bentley cars over the period of the first six novels. All that changed with the publication of the novel Goldfinger in 1959, in which Fleming placed his hero in a smaller, faster, more modern sports car, the Aston Martin DBIII (sic). In fact there was no such car. The road car of the time was officially titled the Mark III, while the race car was known as the DB3. But the mistake didn’t really matter, the Aston/Bond connection had been established. Another new idea was that Bond’s car had been altered by the secret service with switches to alter the type and color of the front and rear lights, reinforced steel bumpers, a hidden compartment containing a Colt .45, and a receiver for a standard-issue homing device. 

Although the tricked out Aston-Martin disappeared never made a repeat appearance in the novels, the idea was picked up by EON productions for the 1964 movie adaptation of Goldfinger. The combination of Bond and the DB5 was an instant success and the gadget-laden car became quickly dubbed “the most famous car in the world.” It made a repeat appearance in the following year’s Thunderball movie, but then would not be seen on screen, in a Bond movie at least, for another 30 years.

A  new Bond actor for 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service meant a new Aston Martin, as our first views of George Lazenby as 007 was with him behind the wheel of a contemporary DBS. Other than a compartment for stowing a sniper’s rifle and sights, this particular car seemed gadget free, and judging from the events at the movie’s conclusion was lacking bulletproof glass.

When Roger Moore took over the role for his run of seven Bond movies between 1973 and 1985 there were no Aston Martin’s to be seen. However during this period the iconic DB5 made movie appearances with Moore himself behind the wheel (Cannonball Run, 1981) and once with George Lazenby driving (The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E., 1983).

With the arrival of Timothy Dalton as Bond in 1987 the franchise moved back closer to its roots, including the return of an Aston as Bond’s main car, this time a V8 Vantage. The Brosnan era saw Bond’s gadget-laden company cars supplied by another manufacturer, but the DB5 made a return appearance to the franchise serving as Bond’s personal vehicle in several scenes in three of his movies.

The association between Bond and Aston has continued ever since and grown stronger with the DB5 going from being an occasional nostalgic nod to the past to becoming almost a supporting character in its own right having shown up in Casino Royale, Skyfall and SPECTRE, while the Q-Branch supplied vehicles have included the latest version of the DBS V12, as well as a specially built DB10. 

Which brings us back to the present day, where we’ve seen the V8 Vantage and DB5 on the road during filming in London and the Valhalla in action in Scotland. Based on the recent released photo of the Bond 25 vehicle workshops it looks like there will be multiple stunt vehicles in action. What role the three Astons have to play in the latest 007 outing we will have to wait and see.