Timothy Dalton’s portrayal of James Bond was a breath of fresh air when The Living Daylights hit the big screen in 1987. It’s not that Roger Moore hadn’t made the role his own; just that he had probably outstayed his welcome by at least two films. Cubby Broccoli actually wanted Pierce Brosnan for the role, but contractual commitments meant it couldn’t happen, and Dalton was then drafted in for the part
he had originally turned down in 1968.
The producers decided a dose of traditionalism would be needed to maintain Bond continuity, and that meant the triumphant reunification of 007 and Aston Martin after an 18-year separation. His 1986 V8 Vantage (on 1985 ’plates) was more than up to the task of taking up the baton from its forebears.
Packed with gadgets, the V8 jollies up the film on its first brief appearance at the fictional Blayden safe house. It’s in open Volante form to start with, but the next time we see the V8 it’s in Q Branch being ‘winterized’ – or having a Coupé roof fitted.
Once it’s in downtown Bratislava, surrounded by battleship grey buildings, the Vantage looks menacing in a way that the more delicate DB5 never could. On the run, the gadgets were put to good use: rocket launchers with a windscreen head-up display, retractable skis and spiked tyres were more than enough to shrug off the worst that the Tatran winter could throw up.
Like the For Your Eyes Only Esprit, the Vantage ended its days self-destructing – but that was a cinematic illusion, as the film car remains alive and well and has pride of place within the Cars Of The
Bond’s flirtation with German cars arguably starts here (although he first diverted from the British industry when he became a committed Saab 900 Turbo driver in the budget-constrained 1980s John Gardner novels) with a couple of blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearances of Audi 200 quattros, correctly overdubbed with a warbling five-pot soundtrack, in saloon and Avant forms.
Aston Martin DB5 - Goldfinger
Totota 2000GT - You Only Live Twice
Aston Martin DBS - On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Lotus Esprit - The Spy Who Loved Me
Lotus Esprit Turbo - For Your Eyes Only
Citroen 2CV - For Your Eyes Only
Aston Martin V8 Vantage - The Living Daylights
Aston Martin Vanquish - Die Another Day
Aston Martin DBS - Quantum of Solace