The world was first introduced to James Bond’s automotive alter ego, the Aston Martin DB5, in Goldfinger (1964). Now a pop culture icon, the car is synonymous with 007. Bond author Ian Fleming had set up the idea of the spy’s Aston Martin having a “few extras” in his novel and legendary production designer Sir Ken Adam flew with that, bumping up the number of extras considerably. He exorcised his personal traffic demons by adding battering-ram bumpers and Ben-Hur-style tyre scythes and took a tip from director Guy Hamilton on the advantages a revolving number plate affords in avoiding parking tickets — or in Bond’s case, crossing borders inconspicuously. Adam’s experience as an RAF fighter pilot inspired the idea of an ejector seat, this time for unwanted passengers, not pilots.
Here, we take a look at the first concepts drawn by Adam for Goldfinger, as well as more recent imaginings of the most famous car in the world.
A former fighter pilot with a history of owning fast cars, Adam enthusiastically designed fantasy “extras” for James Bond’s Aston Martin sports car. They were installed by John Stears and the special-effects team.
The gadget-laden Aston Martin DB5 proved so popular with audiences that a part was written for it in the pre-title sequence in Thunderball (1965). Since then, it has become the British spy’s quintessential vehicle, appearing in eight official Bond films, including the upcoming No Time To Die.
For the explosive finale of Skyfall (2012) whereby Skyfall Lodge comes under attack, the script required Bond’s iconic Aston Martin DB5 to be riddled with gunfire and subsequently obliterated by Silva and his henchmen. To avoid harming EON’s archive DB5, the Bond production team set about creating perfect 1/3-scale replicas of the DB5.