Secret agent 007 in the vortex of evil
BY ANJA FAHS
(Published in The Produktkulturmagazin issue 4 2015)
At the beginning of November the most well-known secret agent once again reported to her Majesty for duty. In ‘Spectre’, James Bond is on the hunt for criminals again. This time in a very special service vehicle: the Aston Martin DB10. Aston Martin and James Bond have been coming together for more than 50 years. 007 drives an Aston Martin in 12 of the 24 Bond films to date. In 1964 Sean Connery climbed into the British sports car for the first time in ‘Goldfinger’, driving curves at breakneck speed through the Swiss Alps. In the novel which inspired the film ‘Goldfinger’, author Ian Fleming had his protagonist drive an Aston Martin DB mark III, but as the company had introduced the DB5 in 1963, the new model was chosen and the DB5 became an automobile legend.
For ‘Spectre’, the company designed a completely new car, of which only 10 were made. Creating this DB10 was one of the best kept secrets of the recent British car manufacturer’s history. Eight of the Aston Martin DB10s were used during filming, two are show cars for advertising purposes. “All the cars survived the filming”, Andy Palmer, Martin’s Chief Executive reassures us - although this is hard to believe looking at the racy driving style of 007. Despite this, none of these special Aston Martins will be for sale, they are merely to offer us a glimpse of the design for the coming model generation.
However, Aston Martin has released a strictly limited 007 special edition of its DB9 GT onto the market - the Martin DB9 GT Bond Edition. No wonder this car was chosen as the basis for this special edition, as it is definitely one of the most elegant Grand Tourers of the world. The super sports car has been produced in the Aston Martin factory in Gaydon since 2004. Two people played an important role in the design and development: Ian Callum designed the high-speed car and therefore came up with the initial idea which the subsequent Head Designer, Henrik Fisker completed. It is worth noticing that with the DB9 Aston Martin has succeeded in creating a contemporary car which still remains deeply rooted in the British car manufacturer’s culture. It has long since been seen as a cult object in automotive history.
For the designer it was probably not easy to continue improving such a vehicle over the years. It began with an idea which went through the earlier design and development phases like a central thread: timeless elegance. Today’s design shows us elements from the classic DB Model series, however, with a more contemporary look and clear form. In fact, in the process, over 70 percent of all body parts were made new and have brought the most elegant model to date onto the roads.
The golden cut defines the proportions and creates a profile where all lines harmonize. Elegance and balance complement each other perfectly. Thanks to optimal weight distribution as a result of the lower motor position, the car is excellently balanced - optically as well as when driving. The technology also had to fit the new model and offer the necessary performance. Moreover, a prominent rear lip and a new bonnet structure make the aerodynamics smoother. Creating a car which is just as elegant on the move as it is when still has been a success. The perfect model for the best spy of MI6.
“The relationship between us and James Bond is extremely important to us and our customers”, says Andy Palmer. According to him, both the brands 007 and Aston Martin are “inseparable”. The vehicle has not only achieved cult status, milestones of film history have been written with it. For example the spectacular accident in ‘Casino Royale’ where the car rolled over seven times - a world record to date. The stunt was filmed with a modified DB9 on the Millbrook test track. James Bond officially drives an Aston Martin DBS in this film, however, it was not finished at the time of filming the stunt roll-over.
Now the automobile manufacturer wants to celebrate the ongoing love affair between this special luxury car and James Bond, as well as the start of ‘Spectre’, by giving its customers the possibility of owning a spectacular royal service vehicle themselves – with the special series of the Aston Martin DB9 GT Bond Edition.
The model series strictly limited to 150 cars has immediately awakened desire all over the world. There is barely another car brand which connects British elegance as excellently with sporty luxury - and has been doing so since its foundation by Robert Bamford and Lionel Martin in 1913 with the name ‘Bamford & Martin LTD’. The company quickly developed into a cult brand, which stood for luxury and elegance. Following the success at the Aston Hill Climb in Buckinghamshire, England, the car manufacturer was renamed ‘Aston Martin’ in 1914. The first Aston Martin was built within a year.
The features of the DB9 GT Bond Edition are just as luxurious as the skills of 007 are unique: each model is finished with 007 emblems, perfected with typical Bond accessories and painted in an elegant ‘spectre silver’. With 547 PS, the 6.0 litre V12 engine accelerates the limited edition to 100 kilometres per hour in 4.5 seconds and offers a maximum speed of 295 kilometres per hour. A hand-made body with strong sweeping lines makes us wonder about the potential of this extraordinary vehicle. Further hallmarks are the external GT badges, plaques with the words ‘Bond Edition’ on the front mud guards and an Aston Martin logo made of sterling silver as well as sill plaques with the legendary 007 logo on the door sill plates. Black leather sports seats in the interior exude the classic elegance which is known to James Bond - a vehicle made for a secret agent.
Aston Martin even has a connection to the James Bond films with its personalisation service, however, it calls this ‘Q by Aston Martin’ and plays on the legendary weapon master of 007. Q is the codename of Major Boothroyd, who is responsible for the equipment of James Bond - and of course for his service vehicles. Just as Q individually equips the vehicle for 007, Aston Martin owners can also express their personality with a custom-made vehicle. For this, the department ‘Q’ at Aston Martin was inspired by art, design, manual work and distant lands, studied the character of objects, materials, colours and structures and carried these influences over to components which can be individually chosen for the vehicle. There are hardly limits to the power of imagination - as the vehicles of James Bond prove to us time and time again.
Picture credit © Sony Pictures