Sean Connery and that Silver Birch Aston Martin DB5 will always be the 007 match made in Heaven. But in the seven James Bond blockbusters that the Academy Award–winning actor starred in—from Dr. No in 1962 to the unofficial Never Say Never Again in 1983—he slipped, slid and occasionally crunched an array of four-wheeled machinery. The following Bond cars were made famous by Sir Thomas Sean Connery, who died last Saturday at the age of 90.
1961 Sunbeam Alpine—Dr. No (1962)
It was the first Bond car in the first Bond movie. The baby-blue, white-walled Sunbeam Alpine was the vehicle agent 007 rents when he lands in Jamaica on the trail of Dr. Julius No, the reclusive member of SPECTRE.
With a budget of less than $1 million, and no automakers eager to offer a freebie, the British-built 1961 Alpine II was borrowed from a Jamaican local. In the film, Connery is pursued by Dr. No’s henchmen—in a 1930s LaSalle hearse of all things—and escapes by driving the low-slung Sunbeam under a crane. The drop-top, gadget-free Alpine proved to be an excellent choice as it gave cinema-goers a good look at the new Bond in action.
1935 Drophead 3.5 Litre Bentley Mark IV—From Russia With Love (1963)
Found in the 1963 movie From Russia with Love, the 1935 Drophead 3.5 Litre Bentley Mark IV is the closest car to what author Ian Fleming had Bond originally drive in the first book, Casino Royale—a 1931 Bentley 4.5 Litre. The 1935 model had a 110 hp, straight-six engine under the hood and was capable of 90 mph.
Perfect for an open-air drive in the country, the classic convertible may have scored him points with the ladies, but a Bentley would not appear on screen again with Bond until a less spry Sean Connery reprised his role in 1983 with Never Say Never Again.
1964 Aston Martin DB5—Goldfinger (1964) and Thunderball (1965)
The marque most associated with Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Aston Martin has had numerous models appear in a majority of the 25 official films to date—beginning with the 1964 Aston Martin DB5 in the Academy Award–winning Goldfinger. The most iconic car of the franchise, the classic two-seat coupe features an aluminum 282 hp, 4-liter, straight-six engine—coupled with a five-speed transmission—and is able to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 8 seconds, reaching a top speed of 145 mph. Not part of the standard package, however, was its revolving license plate, bulletproof windshield, machine guns, oil-slick and smoke-screen devices, and, of course, the passenger-side ejector seat.
Two 1965 DB5s were used during filming and marked the start of Aston Martin’s long relationship with Eon Productions and Bond. The DB5 has later appeared in Thunderball, plus the non-Connery films GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, Casino Royale, Skyfall, and Spectre—at least that’s the list so far.
But the car synonymous with the covert operative is now available to a few fortunate collectors. Aston Martin is currently producing 25 examples of its DB5 Goldfinger Continuation, authentic replicas complete with the tradecraft accouterments of the film version, and all for roughly $3.6 million.
1967 Toyota 2000GT—You Only Live Twice (1967)
A rare breed indeed, the topless 1967 Toyota 2000GT that was featured in You Only Live Twice (released the same year) was one of only two made. When filming started, it became obvious that Sean Connery was too tall for the original hardtop version intended for the film, so Toyota quickly readied the rare roadster. As it was, only 351 examples of the two-seat coupe—considered to be Japan’s first high-performance sports car—were ever produced.
Sitting in the passenger seat while the beautiful Japanese SIS agent Aki evaded villains, Bond was probably enamored with the car’s 150 hp, 2-liter, straight-six engine and top speed of 135 mph—not to mention the onboard closed-circuit television, two-way radios, and voice-controlled electronics. The appeal runs in the blood; current 007 actor Daniel Craig has claimed that the 2000GT is his favorite Bond car.
1971 Mustang Mach 1—Diamonds are Forever (1971)
From Diamonds Are Forever, the 1971 Mustang Mach 1 will forever be remembered for pulling off the impossible—or so it seemed. As Bond and Tiffany Case flee the Willard Whyte Space Labs in the Nevada Desert, they evade police through the streets of Las Vegas, and make their final escape by barely driving through a narrow alley with room to roll on only the car’s right tires. When exiting the alley, however, the car is miraculously on its left side.
The continuity error does not detract from the car’s muscular aesthetic that includes twin ram-air intakes on the hood, which bolstered the already beefy 370 hp, 429 Cobra Jet V-8 engine underneath. Several of the now-famous fastbacks were used in filming, and each surviving one is worth more than a few diamonds today.
1970 Triumph Stag—Diamonds are Forever (1971)
Blink and you’ll miss it, but for the 1971 romp Diamonds Are Forever, Connery gets behind the wheel of a British-built Triumph Stag convertible for a drive to Amsterdam.
If you remember the scene, the mustardy-yellow Stag is owned by diamond smuggler Peter Franks, who gets nabbed at passport control leaving the UK. Connery assumes his identity, crosses the English Channel on a hovercraft and is next seen driving the car through the canal-lined streets of the Dutch capital. Interestingly, the 007 Stag was sold at a 1998 Christie’s auction for just £20,700, or roughly $33,000 at the time.
1937 BENTLEY 4 1/4 Litre Drophead Coupé —Never Say Never Again (1983)
After saying “never again” to playing 007, Connery was lured back to being shaken, not stirred, for the 1983 unofficial Bond escapade, Never Say Never Again, from Warner Brothers. His car of choice is an oh-so-elegant 1937 Bentley 4 1/4 Litre Drophead Coupé with custom bodywork by England’s Gurney Nutting coachbuilders.
The car makes an all-too brief cinematic appearance, with Connery arriving at the Shrublands health clinic. After the film, the Bentley was eventually restored and sold in at a Bonhams auction for $286,599 in 2010.