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Bond boost: demand for Aston Martin drives leaps ahead of movie release

Aston Martin experience popularity jumps before release of No Time To Die

Track-day experiences allow paying customers to drive Lamborghinis, Ferraris and any number of other supercars. In the run-up to the release of new 007 film No Time To Die, however, punters seemingly have no time to drive anything other than Aston Martins.

That’s according to supercar experience company Trackdays, which says Aston Martin experiences showed a 25 percent surge in popularity in 2019.

They put this down to anticipation for James Bond’s 25th cinema outing, due on April 3 2020.

Aston Martin experience popularity jumps before release of No Time To Die

Trackdays’ Aston offerings range from Bond’s staple, the classic 1960s DB5, to the modern V8 Vantage sports car –the latter being one of the most popular experiences. The DB5’s spiritual successors, the DB9 and new DB11, have also proven their appeal.

“It’s no surprise to see an increase in bookings for Aston Martins as Brits get to experience the same behind-the-wheel thrills as the world’s most famous fictional secret agent driving some of his favourite cars,” said Dan Jones, operations manager at Trackdays.

“Think of Bond and fast cars spring to mind, more than likely an Aston Martin. So as the world prepares to welcome Bond back to the silver screen, it’s great to see that Aston Martin is flying the flag for British supercars.”

Aston Martin experience popularity jumps before release of No Time To Die

No Time To Die is set to feature a number of Aston Martins. Bond himself should be seen driving the classic DB5 and V8 Vantage, as well as the all-new Valhalla hypercar. In recent trailers, the ‘new 007’, played by Lashana Lynch, can be seen driving a DBS Superleggera.

Another big-hitting new car making its on-screen debut with Bond is the new Land Rover Defender. No Time To Die could thus be one of the biggest films of 2020 for car fans.

Bond Aston Martin DB5

Revealed: The cost of modifying cinema’s greatest cars

Bond Aston Martin DB5

James Bond’s Aston Martin is having something of a restoration at Q branch, in preparation for its performance in No Time To Die. But how much does it cost to outfit a DB5 with machine guns, an ejector seat and bulletproof glass?

Movie motor buff Mike Renaut has priced it the cost of making an Aston Martin DB5 mission-ready, as well as some other famous movie cars.

Budgeting for BondBond Aston Martin DB5

Although a DB5 will set you back £795,000 (at least), the modifications are surprisingly affordable. You can go from boulevard cruiser to bulletproof bruiser for less than £70,000.

Let’s open with the small stuff: the revolving number plates and smokescreen. They’ll set you back £500 (£400+£100). The first really big expense is the bulletproof glass. Based on a £60 per square foot, plus shaping, tooling and fitting, it’ll cost £7,000. 

Bond Aston Martin DB5

Now the really cool bits. An ejector seat, albeit a replica, will set you back £1,500. If you want it to work, it’ll be more like £20,000. A removable roof will be useful if the ejector is working, which will be a further £600.

The bulletproof rear shield is a £1,550 job, involving the fitment of a £550 police-spec riot shield. From back to front, and from defence to offence, the twin Browning machine guns will set you back £4,600.

Bond Aston Martin DB5

Finally, the rear tyre slashers. These, surprisingly, are the most expensive bit. Because the rear axle will need re-engineering, it adds up to £50,000.

So, there you have it. A breakdown of what Bond’s Aston ends up costing Q branch. Now add that to multiple replacement cars (and replacement mods) every time 007 destroys his long-serving classic…

Preparing other movie cars for battleFast & Furious Dodge Charger

Bond’s needs are different to those of, say, a California street racer. What makes Dominic Torretto’s The Fast and The Furious Dodge Charger so, well, fast and furious? Far from the minimum six-figure sum a DB5 will set you back, a Charger can be had for £30,000.

Mike research for Northgate Vehicle Hire reveals £45,000-worth of modifications, all in the name of performance. These include a 426 cubic inch Hemi V8 for £20,000, drag tyres for £700, race suspension for £3,000 and nitrous injection for £1,500.

Italian Job Mini

From Race Wars to the streets of Turin, what about getting a Mini ready for the gruelling The Italian Job chase? Well, on top of the £7,000 that a classic Mini will cost, you’ll need £8,000 for modifications.

These include a strengthened boot floor for £750, a second fuel tank for £400, upgraded shock absorbers for £275, plus a three-point rollcage for £200. What we’re wondering is why a special roof paint job is estimated to cost £4,000.

Britain’s favourite movie cars revealed

Favourite movie cars

A new study reveals which movie star cars are most popular with British film fans. The findings are curious, perhaps even surprising. Well-known heroes like Herbie, the Mustang from Bullitt and Mr Bean’s Mini are joined by newcomers, such as the Subaru from Baby Driver. The research was commissioned by the Discovery Channel, to mark the arrival of its new series, Wheeler Dealers: Dream Cars. We count down the top 20.

20. The Bandit’s Firebird

Favourite movie cars

We open with the Bandit’s Pontiac Trans Am from Smokey and the Bandit. We’d place this higher, but it’s good to see the famous Firebird makes the top 20.

19. Greased Lightning

Favourite movie cars

The world’s most famous hot rod? That’ll be Greased Lightning from Grease. Indeed, this 1948 Ford Deluxe Convertible is one of the most famous cars full-stop.

18. The Ghostbusters’ hearse

Favourite movie cars

The Ghostbusters’ station wagon has to be one of the coolest ‘emergency services’ vehicles ever. A blinding paint job, a splash of retro-futurism, equipment to fight off the supernatural and impressive load space: it couldn’t be anything else but the ‘Ectomobile’ Cadillac.

17. Baby Driver’s Subaru Impreza

Favourite movie cars

Here’s a relatively new entry in the hearts of car-loving film fans. Still, Baby’s red Subaru stars in one of the best car chases in recent history. You won’t witness this level of automotive acrobatics this side of an Aston Martin on ice in a bad Bond film…

16. Starsky & Hutch’s Ford Gran Torino

Favourite movie cars

In 16th place is the Ford Gran Torino from Starsky & Hutch. Apparently, the British are fans of smashing cardboard boxes with muscle cars. It was one of those shows where the car really did outshine the human stars.

15. Ferris Bueller’s Ferrari

Favourite movie cars

Like the Bandit’s Trans Am, Ferris Bueller’s ultimate joyride – the Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – reminds us of a dream of freedom. It’s about the open road, forgetting the rules and doing what you want. For a while, at least.

14. The General Lee

Favourite movie cars

Another one we’re surprised didn’t edge further up the list. Who doesn’t love the bright orange Dodge Charger from The Dukes of Hazzard, which could be seen jumping and sliding its way around Georgia?

13. Herbie the Love Bug

Favourite movie cars

No cars are characters quite like Herbie. The Volkswagen Beetle that starred in The Love Bug beat the colourful cartoons of the Cars films to automotive sentience by 38 years.

12. ‘Eleanor’ the Ford Mustang

Favourite movie cars

Another modern addition, this one became iconic almost overnight. The Shelby Ford Mustang GT500 from Gone in 60 Seconds was named Eleanor. She captured the hearts of all who watched, including car thief Memphis Raines (played by Nicholas Cage).

11. Dom Toretto’s Charger

Favourite movie cars

Talk about the car reflecting the star: the shaker-hooded 900hp Dodge Charger from The Fast & The Furious was so powerful, even Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) was scared of driving it.

10. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Favourite movie cars

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is one of the ultimate children’s cult classics. We doubt any car has taken to the skies in cinema and garnered such gasps from the audience.

09. Mr Bean’s Mini

Favourite movie cars

Mr Bean and his Mini couldn’t be further from Toretto and his super-Charger. The character is a British icon – and actor Rowan Atkinson subsequently used his millions to buy a McLaren F1. We don’t think he drives it sitting on the roof, though…

08. The Italian Job Minis

Favourite movie cars

There’s no looking at movie Minis without mentioning The Italian Job. The film – about a bungling gold heist – was partly responsible for cementing the Mini’s legendary status.

07. Bond’s underwater Lotus

Favourite movie cars

This modified Lotus Esprit could be James Bond’s most memorable car, lengthy Aston Martin association notwithstanding. The ultimate 80s wedge, which starred in The Spy Who Loved Me, is also perhaps the coolest submarine ever.

06. Doc Brown’s DeLorean

Favourite movie cars

It’s a tough battle at this point for most iconic movie car of all. Doc Brown’s time-travelling DeLorean DMC-12 from Back to the Future will always be in the running. Just don’t ever drive one. You’ll spoil it for yourself.

05. KITT the Trans Am

Favourite movie cars

Knight Rider’s Trans Am, known as KITT, opens the top five. It feels especially relevant in 2020, given how topical artificial intelligence and autonomous cars have become.

04. Will Smith’s Porsche

Favourite movie cars

OTT though it was, we reckon the Porsche 964 Turbo’s performance in Bad Boys is one of the most underrated automotive moments. We’re glad the British people have given its epic performance some recognition.

03. Bullitt Mustang

Favourite movie cars

But it can’t beat the real titans of cinema. A key character in one of the greatest movie car chases, the Highland Green Ford Mustang from Bullitt recently inspired a retro special edition.

02. Bond’s Aston Martin DB5

Favourite movie cars

Bond’s original Superleggera-bodied masterpiece is immortal, partly because they keep wheeling it out. We reckon it will never be bettered, although the public seems to disagree…

01. Bond’s Aston Martin DB10

Favourite movie cars

Because the DB10 from Spectre has topped the list. Admittedly, its sharp modern looks might hold more appeal for some. The chase sequence with the Jaguar C-X75 is excellent, too. We wonder if the new Aston Martin Valhalla hypercar, due to appear in No Time to Die, will take its place in time?