Like so many of us, I saw Goldfinger for the first time in a big-screen theater back in the early 60s; I distinctly remember jumping out of my seat when James Bond pressed that little red button, mounted on the gear shift lever of his Aston Martin DB5, simultaneously popping the passenger side roof panel off the car and sending one of Goldfinger’s henchmen flying through the now open roof panel, clean out of the car. 

It was the craziest, most exciting, most unimaginable movie stunt my impressionable blue eyes had ever seen.  No matter, the “Bond cars die” was instantly and permanently cast in my young, impressionable brain at that moment. 

After several rescheduling of its in-theater debut, Bond’s latest No Time to Die appears legitimately (assuming everyone stays Covid smart and careful) on track to break cover in theaters in a few months. 

No Time To Die- Trailer

This all recalls to me the brushes with Bond machines I’ve enjoyed over my three decades career as an automotive writer, photographer, and book author.  We all want to be Bond for a Day, but getting to be up close and personal, sometimes on set, with several of his cooler cars, and meeting and interviewing one of the great actors to portray our favorite British super spy, was as close as I’ll ever get.

My first encounter was during the filming of 1999’s The World is not Enough.  A few years earlier, Bond’s first BMW for Goldeneye was a Metallic Blue over beige Z3 – a lovely little sports car for sure, but hardly super enough for 007. 

James Bond, Q, and the BMW Z3

When we saw Pierce Brosnan, Isabelle Scorupco, and Joe Don Baker’s scene with the four-cylinder Z3, we were all disappointed: The little Bimmer was handsome enough but didn’t make motor music any much sportier than your average Corolla or Altima, and although it was purportedly packed with rockets and some of Q’s usual tricks, we never got to see them in action, nor did the car fly through the air or any other such Bondian magic.  The Z3 meekly spun its tires a bit in the soft sand and motored away with little drama.

This is why when the new M5 V-8 powered Z8 was named as Bond’s next ride for Not Enough (two movies on from the Z3), I had to kick my way onto the set to meet the car and hopefully the Bond. 

James Bond in BMW Z8

Many letters and connections-making followed, and then I was on my way to London and later Cuenca (pronounced Coo-wenka), Spain, to catch up with the production. 

In London I visited the sprawling Pinewood Studios campus with a date at the shop, and with the team, that fettles the movie cars. 

There were Z8s, scale models of Z8s, and bits of Z8 all about the shop, and when I rounded a corner to finally see

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By: Matt Stone
Title: Bond Cars Are Forever
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Published Date: Wed, 07 Apr 2021 08:40:29 +0000

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