As No Time to Die continues to rev its engines whilst waiting in cinema’s 2020 pit stop, car makers Aston Martin reveal two new rather made-to-pleasure marques with an gilt-edged eye both on 007’s car past and imminent future. The rather deliciously realised new Vantage and DBS Superleggera 007 Editions are not only shark-like additions to the Bond’s spin-off garage, but will naturally feature various ‘optional extras’, knowing details, cello insignias, metallic glamour and stitched nods to Bond’s ongoing relationship with the bespoke Aston Martin.
Priced at a coupon-waving £161,000, the new Vantage model alone comes with a cast list of unique tics, tricks and custom-fitted nods to The Living Daylights (1987) and the Aston Martin V8 that not only became Timothy Dalton’s most familiar vehicular co-star during his two-film Bond tenure, it has now been entrusted to Daniel Craig and the twenty-fifth bullet, No Time to Die – rounding off the rather ubiquitous four marque cast list for the new 007 opus.
The Vantage will be limited to one hundred units and comes in the same Cumberland Grey veneer with a revised radiator mesh grill and a canary-yellow rear diffuser and front splitter inspired by the winterisation and rockets of Bond’s mountainous escape into Austria via an Aston with nothing to declare apart from a bullet-ridden cello case and a stunt mannequin for a brief co-star. Inside the new Vantage’s leather upholstery and centre console features various ‘007’ branding, the seats echo the same design that housed Timothy Dalton and leading lady Maryam D’Abo, the sun visors house the embroidered radio station frequency ‘96.60 FM’ (the onscreen Soviet frequency familiar to keen fans), the carbon-fibre seats are etched with cello emblems, a laser-marked plaque references the V8’s rocket motor, lasers and missile targeting, and the whole thing can be custom-made with limited edition skis and black and yellow striped ski racks for those Bond fans wanting to go that extra Austrian mile. And whilst not quite housing the ‘salt corrosion’ tyre lasers a fleeing Dalton had at his disposal, the new Vantage does at least boast that faux gadget panel.
‘I’ve had some optional extras installed.’
The Living Daylights / 1987
The V8 Vantage Volante’s role in 1987’s The Living Daylights marked an onscreen return for Bond’s most famous and most frequent co-star. Putting The Cannonball Run (1981) aside, the last time a James Bond was seen anywhere near an Aston was a brief Q-Lab cameo in 1971’s Diamonds are Forever. The V8 became a new generation of Bond and movie fans’ very own version of the DB5 or Lotus Esprit. The car was all over the branding, artwork, trailers, merchandise premiere and DNA of the new Bond’s 1987 debut. When this bullet catcher more recently car-pooled with Bond stunt driver Ben Collins, the skilled vehicular choreographer was proud to suggest the V8 always his favorite Bond car and the first Bond Aston our generation first noticed via the Matchbox toys and stickers. It solidified a new era for Bond and Aston Martin that would continue into the vintage-minded Pierce Brosnan era and beyond. And just as the eager silver pup that is the DB5 took over Craig’s emotions, appearance quotas and story limits, the Vantage Volante proudly now returns with the same registration plate and a chance for Bond to once again visit Europe and central London in a resurrected, continuity-blasting role in No Time to Die. Driver Ben Collins has been on doubling-up duties and the returning blunt, ribbed bonnet of the V8 already looks slick on promotional artwork and photography for a film whose marketing really came alive when Craig and the new Vantage were caught on the streets of London during the film’s 2019 summer shoot. The subsequent visit from HRH Prince Charles for a set visit (echoing the one he did in 1986 for The Living Daylights when he last met the V8 at a press-filled day at Pinewood Studios with imagery that later became part of the Charles and Diana media narrative) sealed the deal all over again and saw two proud British icons who own Aston Martins come together once again on the studio lot.
Naturally, the price tag for the new Vantage is a generous one. And for some they would hope a rare Stradavarius ‘Lady Rose’ cello, its battered case, a free John Barry and a string-quartet weekend break in Bratislava be thrown in for good measure. Yet this is James Bond. Only pursuing police forces own affordable Ladas. And in these upside down times it is oddly reassuring to see that spy’s bespoke world and Bond’s wheels continue turning towards an eventual cinematic release of Bond 25. The new No Time to Die Vantage is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine – with 503bhp and 685Nm of torque – and offers a 0–62mph time of 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 195mph. The special edition model can also come with either a seven-speed manual or an eight-speed manual gearbox. Aston Martin may even throw in a complimentary pen.
“Creating a 007 Edition is always an exciting challenge as we work to develop and style a car that embodies the legend of James Bond. It is an honour to apply carefully judged 007-inspired styling to our sports cars, which gives our customers the opportunity to own a unique piece of both cinematic and automotive history.”
Marek Reichman, Chief Creative Officer, Aston Martin
The Aston Martin Vantage is now available for orders. No Time to Die is currently scheduled to be released from November 2020.