MI6 looks back at the cars 007 drove in the original
Ian Fleming adventures...
Literary Bond Cars - Fleming Era
24th May 2004
Although James Bond will forever be associated with Aston Martin,
in the books he is very much a Bentley man. The first time we meet
Bond in Casino Royale, he is driving a 4½ litre Bentley and
while he is to be found behind the wheel of a service owned Aston
Martin in Goldfinger, he owns a total of three Bentley's in the
The first car we find him with is one of the last 4½
litre Bentleys with an Amherst Villiers supercharger. Built
in 1930, Bond had bought the car in 1933 and kept it in
storage during the Second World War. A battleship grey Convertible
coupé, the Bentley had large French Marchal headlamps
and an Amherst Villiers supercharger.
Although badly damaged in Casino Royale, the car was repaired
in time to make an appearance in Moonraker. Its reappearance
was shortlived though, as the car was smashed by the release
of fourteen tons of newsprint from the back of a lorry in
the same story. The 4½ litre supercharged Bentley,
known as the "blower Bentley", was a car built
specifically for racing and James Bond must have cursed
his luck when the car was written off, as only 55 were ever
Above: A blower Bentley showing off
the twin Marchal headlamps and Amherst Villiers supercharger.
At the end of Moonraker, Bond purchases his second Bentley, a
new 1953 Mark VI with an open touring body. Again it was battleship
grey with dark blue leather upholstery. After test-driving it,
Bond informs the garage "She is sold on one condition. That
you get her over to the ferry terminal at Calais by tomorrow evening."
Quite a different car from the blower, it is not clear what happened
to it as it is not referred to it in any of the subsequent books.
Perhaps the car broke down on the way and didn't make Calais.
Above: A Bentley Mark VI.
In Goldfinger we find Bond in an Aston Martin at long last.
Described as a battleship grey DB III, it should probably
have been more correctly described as an Aston Martin DB
Mark III, the third incarnation of the DB 2/4 with a new
front grill based on the DB3S racing car.
Bond's car was provided by the service and fitted with
a number of extras, although not as many as the DB5 in the
film and its ejector seat.
James Bond's final Bentley first appears in 1961 in Thunderball.
Described as "the most selfish car in England",
Bond had bought the wreck of a Mark II Continental with
the R-Type chassis after its previous owner, "some
rich idiot", had written it off against a telegraph
pole. In addition to having the chassis straightened and
upgrading the engine from 4½ litres to the Mark IV
4.9 litre engine, Bond commissioned a body from Mulliners,
who "had sawn off the old cramped sports saloon body
and had fitted a trim, rather square convertible two-seater
affair". Again the car is painted battleship grey,
this time upholstered in black leather, with two-inch exhaust
pipes to produce the depth of growl demanded by Bond and
the nose sports a big octagonal silver bolt in place of
the Bentley winged B.
Above: Aston Martin DB Mark III
In fact Ian Fleming had written to Rolls Royce's chairman, Whitney
Straight, in 1957 requesting information for Bond's new car. As
an owner of two Ford Thunderbirds, Fleming wrote; "I would
like it to be a cross between a Continental Bentley and a Ford
Thunderbird - i.e. a smallish cockpit with a long bonnet line
and a large boot behind". Fleming was directed to Mulliners,
who were designing such a car for a Portuguese owner, but the
cost proved to be prohibitive and instead a new design was built
by Henri Capron in France. With a long Thunderbird like boot,
the latter design seems closer to Fleming's request than the Mulliners
The Henri Capron designed Bentley Continental
Two years later in On Her Majesty's Secret Service we
find the same Bentley with a new improvement. Against
the advice of Rolls Royce, who said that the crankshaft
bearings would be unable to cope with the extra strain
and withdrew their guarantees, Bond had fitted an Arnott
supercharger controlled by a magnetic clutch.
Bond finally gets a chance to try his new toy on the
way to Royale-Les-Eaux while racing a girl headed in the
same direction. Activating the supercharger by flipping
up a red switch on the dash, he takes the car up to 125
mph - the engine is undamaged and the girl eventually
becomes Mrs Bond. But that is another story.
Thanks to David Leigh.