UNITED STATES—Many Americans consider Planes, Trains, and Automobiles to be the best Thanksgiving movie of all time. They’re probably right, but I, personally, would rather vegetate through the annual Thanksgiving Bondathon (i.e. James Bond marathon) after a well-deserved feast of tryptophan and stuffing. I guess everyone’s got their thing.
This year, however, there’s even more reason to bone up on your Bond lore. With the recent release of the latest film in the OO7 franchise, Spectre, you’ll want to make sure you’re familiar with all the different Bond gadgets that have appeared throughout one of the longest running film franchise in history.
Without this knowledge, you won’t be properly prepared when you inevitably slip into a food coma in front of the telly. It’s important that, once you begin dreaming that you are a secret agent on a mission to save the world from a criminal organization, you’re unconscious mind has enough ridiculous gadgets to get the job done. Oh…yeah…the trivia might also provide you with the context you’ll need to see Spectre.
So, to give you a taste of what you will see during this years Bondathon, here is a sampler platter of Bond cars that were outfitted with some pretty trick features:
Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me
Most people would think twice before bringing it to the car wash let alone turning it into a submersible. That didn’t faze Q Branch from turning this quirky British sports car into one of the most iconic, if not the only, Lotus submarines in the world. Just as it began to appear there was nowhere left to hide from an onslaught of ground and air attacks, Bond reveals this car’s secret in a climactic chase seen that culminates with the Esprit racing right off a long pier into the Mediterranean Sea. In typical OO7 fashion, actor, Roger Moore turns the tables on the villain’s hovering helicopter with a flip of a lever and, moments later, a press of a button. The rest is history. In fact, Tesla magnate, Elon Musk bought the submarine car used in the film for £550,000. He supposedly plans to turn it into a working vehicle that can travel on land and underwater.
Aston Martin Vanquish from Die Another Day
Arguably the most far-fetched of all the Bond cars, OO7’s Vanquish could go from can’t-miss-it British flash to completely unnoticeable faster than it takes to shake a Martini. Q Branch cleverly renamed it the Aston “Vanish” as an allusion to its most useful party trick: The cloaking device. In an attempt to blur the line between science and fantasy, the filmmakers explained the logistics of turning a car invisible by introducing the idea that a close-nit array of microscopic cameras and projectors covering the sheet metal of the car might just sell this sci-fi concept as something plausible. Interestingly enough, this exotic Aston wasn’t even the fastest terrestrial vehicle Bond piloted during this film.
BMW 750iL from Tomorrow Never Dies
When OO7 was asked to infiltrate the high-tech headquarters of a Hamburg-based media mogul who had developed the unethical habit of creating news rather than reporting it, the British secret agent couldn’t very well show up in the traditional flashy British sports car without blowing his cover. Fortunately, the producers had installed a mutually lucrative deal with BMW for the previous film. Is there no end to James Bond’s luck? No, it turns out, as the 750iL (outfitted by Q Branch) miraculously came with a set of gadgets that were somehow tailored perfectly to the very scenarios into which Bond would stumble. Those who’ve developed the unsavory habit of “texting while driving” will appreciate the feature that allowed Bond to remotely drive this big Bimmer using, what was considered at the time, a smartphone.
As this list was merely an appetizer, feel free to add your favorite Bond car as a main course on this menu in the comments section below. In the mean time, have a happy Thanksgiving. Eat and drive safely.