The classic car world has been replete, of late, with recreations and 'continuations' of classic original cars. Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin have been the most conspicuous players of this game. It started 15 years ago when Aston decided that it would build some new-for-old DB4 GT Zagato coupes, because it found some allocated chassis numbers that had never been used. Aston has been at it again recently, with 'Continuation' DB4 GT coupes, while Jaguar and Land Rover have been turning out 'Reborn' E-Type lightweights, Range Rovers and Series 1 80-inch models.
Now comes what may be the ultimate, or what may be the ultimate pastiche. Aston Martin has announced that, in collaboration with Eon Productions - keepers of the James Bond flame, and more importantly the copyright - it will produce a limited run of newly built DB5 coupes. With, of course, modifications.
The original James Bond DB5, as seen first in 1964's Goldfinger, was the first, and arguably most perfect, melding of on-screen excitement with in-store sales. The iconic scene as Desmond Llewellyn's Q explains, impatiently, the various functions of the DB5's in-car armoury to Sean Connery's 007 is an all-time classic movie sequence, undimmed (more or less) by endless repetition.
Aston and Eon's plan is now to build 25 perfect, faithful replicas of the stunt cars used in the film, not based on old, restored DB5s, but to be built new, from the tyres up. The gadgets will be designed and installed by Chris Corbould, Oscar-winning special effects and stunt co-ordinator for Casino Royale, Skyfall and Spectre, not to mention such others as The Dark Knight, Inception and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The price tag? Oh just £2.7 million each (€?? at the time of writing), and you won't be allowed to drive one on the road, because no country will willingly let loose private owners in a car with revolving number plates, front wing machine guns and an ejector seat ("Ejector seat? You're joking." "I never joke about my work 007.").
All 25 cars will be finished with the same black leather interior and Silver Birch paint job as those of the original on-screen car.
Not everyone's as keen on the idea as Aston Martin thinks they might be, though. Many have already questioned the point of what is effectively a €3 million Corgi toy, as the cars cannot be driven on the road. Not only would the gadgets render them illegal, the fact that they are newly-built cars that don't conform to current regulations seals the deal. Matteo Licata, a former Alfa Romeo designer and author of a book on the 1970s Alfa Romeo Giulietta told us that he's baffled by the very idea of this recreation. "I just can't imagine why would someone want a childishly modded DB5" said Licata. "This is taking the 'continuation' business too far. 25 DB5s with 007 toys on them? Isn't that... a tad ridiculous?"
Being Bond on a Budget
The DB5 represented the first, and arguably best, meeting of movie action and marketing prowess, but Bond, long before he was ever on screen, was always used for the promotion and publicity of various high-end products. Reading Ian Fleming's original novels sometimes feels as if someone has interspersed their own shopping list with occasional outbursts of gunfire and sex. Thanks to that you can, if you like and if you have the budget, kit your house, wardrobe and driveway out with all manner of Bond-related products. Thankfully, there are some more affordable options too...
Bond, James Bond: Recreated Aston Martin DB5 in Silver Birch. You'd pay at least €500,000 for a good, original DB5, but that looks like a bargain compared to the sum Aston wants for a recreation, with modifications. Good luck explaining the ejector seat to the NCT tester...
Budget, Tight Budget: BMW Z3. Pierce Brosnan only drove BMW's small, rear-drive roadster on-screen for a few, brief seconds in 1995's Goldeneye, and we never got to see the Stinger missiles (hidden behind the headlights, of course) in action, but you'll find one for around 1,000th the cost of a recreated DB5. Good fun to drive, if not very sophisticated by modern standards.
Bond, James Bond. Rolex Submariner. Bond's choice of wristwear according to the original novels, worn not on a metal bracelet, but on a striped 'NATO' style fabric band. Want a sixties original? You'll pay big money, potentially as much as €100,000. New ones are more like €10,000. Or you can pick up an Omega Seamaster (as worn on-screen by both Pierce Brosnan and Daneil Craig) for around €4,000.
Budget, Tight Budget: Roger Moore wore a Seiko G757-4010 digital watch in 1983's Octopussy, and you can find them online for sale for around €400. Or, sticking with Seiko, you could have a new SRPB91K1 diver's watch, which looks as good as a Rolex, and is twice as reliable, for a mere €269.
Bond, James Bond: Floris for Men, No. 89. Floris, which has been selling perfume, cologne and other things of pleasant smells from its Jermyn Street shop since 1730, was named by Fleming as the provider of Bond's aftershave in the books. Sadly, No.89 is no longer in production, but you can buy plenty of similar alternatives, and they're no more expensive than other high-end aftershaves.
Budget, Tight Budget. There is an officially licenced 007 aftershave, which comes in various scents including Quantum, Seven and, of course, Gold. Mostly it seems to smell like strawberry smoothie, but you can buy a bottle, in a chequered gunmetal finish, just like the hilt of Bond's Walther PPK, for under €20.
Bond, James Bond. Daniel Craig has favoured suits by Tom Ford, and while he looks good in them, you'll probably end up looking like a badly organised pile of spuds in an expensive sack. Still, if you fancy, you can get one for around €5,000, depending on your taste.
Budget, Tight Budget. Charles Tyrwhitt started selling its shirts online, claiming to offer Jermyn Street tailoring quality at high street prices, and that's more or less exactly what it delivers. Tyrwhitt's sells suits now too, which you can order online or, for the full Bond experience, pop into their flagship store on Jermyn Street to be measured. Prices go as low as €399.
Bond, James Bond. Bond is famous for his vodka martinis (shaken not and you know the rest), but the only vodka brand Fleming ever mentioned (in Moonraker) was Wolfschmidt. It can be hard to find, but it's not expensive.
Budget, Tight Budget. If you read through the original books, Bond actually drinks more bourbon than anything else, so a cheap old bottle of Jack Daniels will get the job done.