August 3, 1977 – The Spy Who Loved Me Debuts, featuring Lotus Submarine + 10 Greatest James Bond Cars

James Bond’s Lotus submarine (fair use).

On August 3, 1977, “The Spy Who Loved Me” debuted, marking the tenth installment in the legendary James Bond franchise. Whether you love Bond or not, as an automotive enthusiast, it’s hard not to gawk as the film’s crazy gadgets and wild cars. In the case of this film, it’s an iconic Lotus Esprit that seamlessly transformed into a fully functional submarine. Let’s chat a bit more about that memorable car — or submarine — or whatever it is as and talk about the 10 best James Bond movie cars. Warning, it’s a lot of Aston Martins

1. The Spy Who Loved Me – Lotus Esprit Submarine

james bond cars - lotus submarine

“The Spy Who Loved Me” brought to life one of the most ingenious Bond cars ever conceived – the Lotus Esprit S1. This stunning sports car not only boasted the classic features expected from a Bond vehicle but also had the ability to convert into a fully functional submarine, giving Bond an edge both on land and under the sea.

Interestingly, this car was placed in a storage unit after filming with storage prepaid for ten years. At the end of the term, the lease was not renewed and the unit and its contents were auctioned off, without anyone knowing what was in it. A buyer ended up purchasing the car for less than $100. In 2013 Elon Musk purchased it for $550,000, stating he intended to turn it into a functional submarine using a Tesla drivetrain.

2.  Goldfinger – Aston Martin DB5

By Chilterngreen, CC BY-SA 3.0

No list of Bond cars would be complete without mentioning the legendary Aston Martin DB5 from “Goldfinger.” Equipped with numerous gadgets, including machine guns, an ejector seat, and rotating license plates, the DB5 set the standard for all future Bond cars.

3. Casino Royale – Aston Martin DBS V12

james bond cars - aston martin
By Karen Roe from Bury, CC BY 2.0

Daniel Craig’s first Bond film introduced us to the sleek and powerful Aston Martin DBS V12. Its heart-pounding chase scene through a construction site showcased the car’s impressive performance and striking design.

4. Skyfall – Land Rover Defender Double Cab

Land Rover Defender SkyFall

In the 2012 film “Skyfall,” James Bond veers away from his usual choice of luxurious sports cars and opts for something more rugged and practical: the Land Rover Defender Double Cab. This all-terrain beast proved to be a perfect fit for Bond’s action-packed escapades in the Scottish Highlands.

5. Dr. No – 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

Bond's Gray Flannel Suit and '57 Chevy in Dr. No » BAMF Style

Believe it or not, the first car James Bond drives in the entire franchise is a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air. However, a close of the speedometer is that of a 1957 Ford. Oops!

6. Spectre – Aston Martin DB10

James Bond's Aston Martin Sells for $3.48 Million | Time
Dave Benett

“Spectre” featured the bespoke Aston Martin DB10, a car specifically designed for the film. Its cutting-edge design and sleek lines made it an instant fan favorite.

7. Tomorrow Never Dies – BMW 750iL

BMW 750iL | Bond Lifestyle

Pierce Brosnan’s Bond was known for his affinity for BMWs. In “Tomorrow Never Dies,” the BMW 750iL showcased its advanced technology, including remote control driving, which allowed Bond to evade danger effortlessly.

8. The Living Daylights – Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante

James Bond's V8 Vantage Volante

The Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante featured in “The Living Daylights” was the epitome of luxury and performance, combining elegance with high-octane action.

9. You Only Live Twice – Toyota 2000GT

Guide: Toyota 2000 GT Roadster You Only Live Twice — Supercar Nostalgia |  vlr.eng.br

The 2000GT seen in You Only Live Twice is used by Aki, the ninja agent, while Bond in in Japan. While the car is a convertible in the film, Toyota didn’t produce a drop top version at the time. It was custom made as the coupe was too small for Sean Connery. The director ordered two of the special vehicles and to this day, only one is accounted for. Somewhere out there is a very special missing car.

10. For Your Eyes Only – Citroën 2CV

Special '007' Series 2CV Celebrates its 40th Anniversary - Citroënvie!

Breaking away from the luxurious and sophisticated image of Bond cars, “For Your Eyes Only” introduced a humble Citroën 2CV, showcasing Bond’s adaptability and resourcefulness even when driving a less glamorous vehicle. But come one, the 2CV is iconic in its own right and probably drives just as well as any of the above thanks to its unique suspension set up.

As we celebrate the anniversary of “The Spy Who Loved Me” and the unforgettable Lotus Esprit Submarine, it is evident that Bond cars have become as much a part of the franchise’s legacy as the suave secret agent himself. From the classic Aston Martin DB5 to the innovative Lotus Esprit, these cars have defined and redefined the concept of cinematic vehicles. Their impeccable style, advanced technology, and unforgettable features have etched them into the hearts of Bond fans across generations. As the franchise continues, we eagerly await the next spectacular addition to the list of greatest James Bond cars.

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