Celebrate 60 years of 007 with 10 Bond cars on a budget

by Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
4 October 2022 5 min read
Celebrate 60 years of 007 with 10 Bond cars on a budget
Photo: Ford

Bond cars are expensive. Only last week, an Aston Martin DB5 stunt car from No Time To Die sold for nearly £3 million, while in 2019 a DB5 used in Thunderball and Goldfinger fetched $6.39 million. With prices like this, your bank balance will be shaken and stirred.

But there is an alternative. To celebrate James Bond Day (5 October), we’ve put together a list of Bond cars you can buy on a budget. In most cases, 007 was at the wheel, but there were times when Bond enjoyed the car from the passenger seat. 

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Sunbeam Alpine (Dr. No)

Sunbeam Alpine
Photo: Magic Car Pics

James Bond Day, held on 5 October, marks the date of the world premiere of Dr. No in 1962, so it’s appropriate to start with this film. The Sunbeam Alpine wasn’t the first car driven by 007 – that honour belongs to the Chevrolet Bel Air – but it was the first Bond car.

The scene in which Bond is being chased by a back-projection of a hearse is, to put it politely, of its time – tyre squealing on gravel is a neat touch – but the Alpine has aged better. According to the Hagerty Valuation Tool, a Sunbeam Alpine Series II Convertible could be yours for £5,100 to £21,300.

Renault 11 (A View to a Kill)

Renault 11 Electronic
Photo: Renault

Driving in Paris is tough at the best of times, but even the most bruising encounter at the Arc de Triomphe wouldn’t leave your car looking like Roger Moore’s Renault 11 TXE taxi. Bond stole the cab to pursue May Day (Grace Jones), but the chase didn’t go according to plan.

The Renault’s roof went first, before the back end was wiped out by a passing Renault 20 TS. Three cars were used for the scenes, which were coordinated by the legendary stuntman Rémy Julienne. The Renault 11 is one of the cheapest Bond cars – if you can find one.

Ford Mondeo ‘ST’ (Casino Royale)

Ford Mondeo Casino Royale
Photo: Ford

One day, you’ll find yourself taking part in a pub quiz when you’ll be asked to name the first car driven by Daniel Craig as James Bond. Your rivals will say Aston Martin, but the correct answer is the Ford Mondeo.

It was a pre-production model handbuilt in Germany and shipped to the Bahamas ahead of its launch in 2007. Not just any Mondeo, but a fully-loaded ‘ST’ with a 2.5-litre engine. You won’t need to win big at the Casino Royale to afford a third-generation Mondeo; prices start from £1500. Just add a Brioni suit for the full effect.

Toyota Land Cruiser (No Time To Die)

Toyota Land Cruiser No Time To Die
Photo: Beaulieu

From Daniel Craig’s first outing as Bond to his last. We might associate 007 with Aston Martin and Lotus – and latterly, Land Rover – but it’s rather wonderful that Craig’s Bond car history is bookended by a Ford and a Toyota.

Land Rover made a big song and dance about its role in No Time To Die, but the Defenders and Range Rover SVRs were overshadowed, not to mention outmuscled, by a gold Land Cruiser Prado J90. From ‘Mondeo Man’ to ‘Prado Papa’ in 15 years; thanks for the memories, Mr Craig.

Citroën 2CV6 (For Your Eyes Only)

Citroen 2CV For Your Eyes Only
Photo: Beaulieu

“I’m afraid we’re being out-horsepowered,” said Bond from the passenger seat of a Citroën 2CV6. He was right, although while a two-cylinder 2CV would be no match for a pair of Peugeot 504s, Rémy Julienne had the foresight to fit a 1.1-litre flat-four engine from a Citroën GS.

The 2CV survived death by gunfire, Mercedes coach, olive grove and Roger Moore quips to fight another day, proving that the ‘tin snail’ can beat the hare, or something. Citroën launched a special edition with fake bullet hole stickers, but any yellow 2CV should be able to go ‘backwards forwards quickly’.

Audi 200 (The Living Daylights)

Photo: Audi

Bond used an Austrian-registered Audi 200 to transport General Koskov to the Trans-Siberian pipeline. At the time, the 200 Exclusiv was the most, er… exclusive Audi you could buy, with Bond’s car wearing BBS split-rim alloys, flared arches and lowered suspension.

While Koskov had eyes on the ‘pipeline to the west’, Audi had visions of stealing market share from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, something the five-cylinder 200 was unable to do. Things started to change with the arrival of the Audi V8, which laid the foundations for the A8. The rest is history.

BMW Z3 (GoldenEye)

BMW Z3 007
Photo: Beaulieu

GoldenEye was the first Bond movie to star Pierce Brosnan and the first to feature a BMW as the lead car. Q introduced the Z3 as “BMW: agile, five forward gears, all points radar, self-destruct system and, naturally, all the usual refinements”.

He went on to highlight the Stinger missiles hidden behind the headlights, so it’s a shame that the Z3’s role was reduced to little more than a bit-part. Not that this stopped the sports car from being a success – and BMW launching a limited run of James Bond Edition Z3s. We’d still rather Bond had launched a couple of missiles… 

Ford Ka (Quantum of Solace)

Ford Ka Quantum of Solace
Photo: Ford

Quantum of Solace is arguably the most forgettable film of the Daniel Craig era, so it’s perhaps fitting that the Ford Ka is one of the least memorable cars. It was driven by Camille (Olga Kurylenko), who meets Bond on the streets of Haiti.

The film premiered at the Odeon Leicester Square, a year before the Ford Ka made its debut at the Paris Motor Show. Ford didn’t create a Bond edition of the Ka, which forever lived in the shadows of the platform-sharing Fiat 500.

Alfa Romeo GTV6 (Octopussy)

Alfa Romeo GTV6
Photo: Alfa Romeo

In a recent Radio Times feature, Octopussy was ranked 19th on the list of Bond films, while GQ placed it 20th. The Independent was a little more charitable, ranking it 14th, saying it’s “by no means bad”. Live and Let Damn with Faint Praise.

It was released in 1981, so it’s packed with the kind of cars that will leave you hot under the collar. The Alfa Romeo GTV6 is one of the stars, but look out for the BMW police cars, Range Rover convertible, Volga GAZ-24 and Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman. The chase scene involving the Alfa is superb, not least for the sound of the Busso V6.

BMW 750iL (Tomorrow Never Dies)

BMW 750iL
Photo: BMW

The scene lasts about four minutes, but it cements the E38 BMW 7 Series as one of the best Bond cars of the last 60 years. Granted, the 7ers supplied by BMW were actually 740iL models, rebadged as 750iL cars, and the scene is set in a Brent Cross car park masquerading as the Atlantic Hotel garagen in Hamburg, but it’s the bit we all wait for when watching Tomorrow Never Dies for the umpteenth time.

The scene culminates with Bond ‘driving’ the 7 Series into an Avis car rental store, before legions of car enthusiasts fire up the classifieds to search for affordable E38s. Around £8000 should bag you a good one; you just have to hope that it doesn’t die tomorrow.

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