James Bond is back.
The British spy comes to theaters this month in 'Casino Royale', with Daniel Craig as the new 007 in theaters Nov. 17.
It will be No. 21 of the officially sanctioned films and No. 23 of all Bond big-screen adaptations. Craig is poised to bring an edgier, rougher side to the British spy's polished persona. Fittingly, his ride, a 2008 Aston Martin DBS, should prove a good match for the rough and ready actor. "Daniel Craig brings a sort of masculine quality to the role," says Aston Martin design director Marek Reichman. "The new DBS has the same feel -- it's a muscle-bound man in a fitted tuxedo."
The 2008 DBS is based on the DB9, but with higher performance and handling capabilities. Aston Martin execs describe it as a thinly veiled race car adapted for the street. It looks like a DB9 on steroids, with added scoops, strakes and bulging fenders. Technical details hadnt been released as of publication time.
A version of the car on display at a recent Aston Martin event was decked out with special spy gadgets expected of a Bond car; for instance, the glove box had a cutout for a pistol (probably a Walther PPK in typical Bond fashion) and various special buttons and switches sprinkled throughout the central control panel. We'll have to wait until the movie is released to find out exactly what those gadgets are. The production version of the DBS should come out in late 2007.
The new DBS' otherworldly stability posed some problems for the Casino Royale stunt team, according to an insider who writes about it on a blog at the movie's official web site. The DBS was supposed to hit a ramp, get airborne and do several rolls in midair. But the car's low center of gravity thwarted the teams efforts.
To solve the problem, an air cannon was devised by the special-effects team and mounted behind the driver's seat. When triggered, a cylinder struck the ground and caused the intended effect so well that the DBS broke a Guinness world record by rolling seven times in the air before crashing to a halt.
But the DBS is only the latest of Bond's car co-stars. From the sprightly Sunbeam Alpine in the opening chase of 1962's 'Dr. No' to the visceral Aston Martin V12 Vanquish in 2002's 'Die Another Day', James Bond is synonymous with cool cars.
Never easy on his co-stars, the charming British spy cavorts with as many vehicles as he does women in his 22 films, wowing audiences with spectacular chase scenes and gadgets galore.
An AMC Hornet hatchback does an airborne pirouette as it makes a hold-your-breath jump across a broken bridge, continuing its chase on the other side. A Lotus Esprit plunges into the sea and transforms into a submarine. And a cloaking device enables the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish to vanish.
Over the years, Bond cars like these succeeded in generating as much attention as the bombshell Bond girls.
We rank these memorable Bondmobiles according to their box-office pull, using each film's domestic gross adjusted for ticket-price inflation, as tracked by Box Office Mojo.