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A License to Drive

When I started my Youtube channel, I knew I want to do a collection of famous movie vehicles. And there are a lot of them to choose from – from Herbie, KITT, Ghost Busters, The Smokey and the Bandit, A-Team Van to all the Batmobiles. But the cars from James Bond movies were always special even in such a lineup – classy, fast, packed with many weapons and gadgets. The Bond films are one of the biggest movie franchises ever. It counts 24 official and two unofficial films, 6 different actors, and of course a lot of cars and gadgets. The famous British agent had a license to kill and also a license to drive some of the coolest cars in the history of cinema. Let’s take a look at three of them, that I like the most and also at the one, I’ve already built!

Aston Martin DB5

Autor: Chilterngreen at the German language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0


If  I should choose a car, that defined James Bond as we know him today, then it is must be the beautiful Aston Martin DB5. This car was designed in Italy by Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera, but it embodied the spirit of British GT cars like no other. It has class but also plenty of horsepowers to back it up. It appeared first in the 1964 film Goldfinger with Sean Connery behind the wheel and it becomes such a cult, that it returned in several other films like Thunderball (1965), Goldeneye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) and also in the newest films with Daniel Craig, where he wins it in a game of poker. From there it moved on to the broader waters of modern pop culture – to films like Cannonball Run (1981), Catch Me If You Can (2002) or even Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003).

When Ian Fleming was writing his original novel, Goldfinger, he was actually inspired by 1954 Aston Martin DB 2/5 Mk I which belonged to his boss. But ten years later the DB5 was a perfect choice. It was also the first Bond car to introduce many useful spy gadgets like changing license plates, hidden machine guns, bulletproof screen in the back and most famous one of all – the ejector seat fired by a red button in the head of the gear shift. Who doesn’t want that!

This was also probably the first example of direct product placement in cinema. And I have to say, that a very successful one!

Lotus Esprit S1

Lotus Esprit.JPG
By Thomas doerfer – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, source: Wikipedia


When Roger Moore took over the part in 1973, it was a whole different Bond for a whole different era. And he needed a different car. In his third film The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), where the megalomaniac named Karl Stromberg plans to destroy the world and create a new civilization under the sea. And so the new Bond car needed to catch up with that and to go where no other car went before – under water. The new concept car by another British luxury car manufacturer Lotus was chosen and the story how it happened is as interesting as the car itself.

This beautiful British supercar was designed by a famous Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro as a manifestation of his “folded paper” approach. This angular style later culminated in the design of another very famous movie car, the DeLorean DMC-12. They say that the beauty is in simplicity and the S1 is the best proof of this. The wedge shape later utilized mainly by the Lamborghinis, made this car look like a spaceship on the road among other cars of that era.

Colin Chapman, the founder of Lotus, heard one day that the producers of a new Bond movie are looking for a new car for the famous agent. He really wanted the Esprit S1 to become that car and he came up with a simple plan. He parked the prototype in front of the producer’s office and waited nearby. When the producer went to lunch, he saw this amazing car standing right in front of him. Nobody knew what it was. Chapman just came in, got in the car and left without a word. The gamble paid off as a few days later the producers called to Lotus begging them for the car.

According to the script, the car had the ability to seamlessly transform into the submarine. But in the real world, the filmmakers had to use three different cars to make this transition happen. The car actually floats under water, but it wasn’t possible to make the interior waterproof. The driver sat behind the wheel in a diving suit and that’s probably why they also added the iconic shades over the windows – so we don’t see him inside. Aside from this transformation, the car had many other usual gadgets installed and gave Roger Moore many opportunities for memorable comic one-liners.

Recently, the original movie car was sold in an auction to no other than Elon Musk. And the visionary entrepreneur wants to make the seamless submarine transition reality. Good luck man!

Recently I was visiting a car show, where I saw the real Lotus Esprit Turbo from another Bond film For Your Eyes Only (1981) on display. And I have to say, this design doesn’t get old at all!

Aston Martin DB10

The DB10 is different from any other Bond cars because it was created exclusively for the new movie Spectre (2015) It was unveiled by director Sam Mendes and producer Barbara Broccoli as “the first cast member” The car was meant as a celebration of  fifty-year partnership with Bond films franchise, which started with the DB5. Only 10 cars were built and 8 of those were featured in the movie, and 2 more were built for promotional purposes. The car was based off the new Aston Martin V8 Vantage and the manufacturer stated that “the DB10 gives a glimpse to the future design direction for the next generation of Aston Martins.” To that, I say only that this future looks very very cool!

Bond cars in lego form

My first inspiration for Bond cars in LEGO form struck me when I came across the Flickr profile of an incredibly talented builder ER0L. Check out his amazing collection of cars appearing in Goldfinger:

James Bond 007 "Goldfinger" - Movie Cars
Cars from Goldfinger by ER0l on Flickr

He also made the Lotus Esprit S1 which I liked so much, that I used it as a base for my own design of the car:

Lotus Esprit S1 - James Bond 007 Movie Car (Collector's Item)
Lotus Esprit S1 by ERol on Flickr

I ended up using some elements of his design and changed the front and rear section and used different wheels. My version is slightly bigger, but it’s a surprisingly sturdy build and it can be converted into the submarine with just a few extra parts. If you want to build one, you can use my instructions for both versions on YouTube:

And if you like Bond cars in LEGO form as much as I do, wait for my future projects which will be the two other cars, that I wrote about in this article – yes, the Aston Martin DB5 and DB10! Until that, enjoy building and maybe rewatch some old Bond classics for some inspiration like I did.

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