Sean Connery

Image: Supplied

Bond between man and car: High-speed chase in Sean Connery’s cars

Sean Connery, the first, incredible 007 has died at the age of 90 leaving behind memories of an envied secret agent lifestyle and iconic cars.

Sean Connery

Image: Supplied

The man who liked his Martini “shaken not stirred”, his cars stylish and powerful and his women breathtakingly beautiful and liberally spent taxpayers’ money to fund all three of his pleasures, is gone. 

He may have breathed his last in the Bahamas on early Saturday 31 October, but Sean Connery,  the first and greatest 007, will live on in the memories of a generation of moviegoers.

He was Bond — the swaggering self-assured  Scotsman who was often at odds with his English bosses and managed to cross swords with them with grace and a slightly deprecating smile.

Sean Connery and that iconic Bond car

No self-respecting petrolhead could hear the words: ‘ The name’s Bond, James Bond,” without picturing him behind the wheel of the Aston Martin DB5.

gadgets aston martin DB5
Gadget switches are pictured inside a 1964 Aston Martin DB5 vehicle used by actor Sean Connery when he played the fictional spy character James Bond in the films ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘Thunderball,’ during a photocall in London, on 27 October 2010. Image: AFP Photo/Carl Court

It was the supreme spy’s car,  tricked out with bullet-proof rear screen,  twin machine guns up front,  oil- dropping device, smokescreen and that tricky front ejector seat for getting rid of really pesky passengers.

Aston Martin DB5 Sean Connery
The Aston Martin DB5 driven by actor Sean Connery as James Bond (007) in the ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘Thunderball’ movies on display 14 September 2010 at Sotheby’s in New York in advance of its 27 October sale at the Automobiles of London auction at Battersea Evolution, London. Image: AFP Photo/Stan Honda

 ‘Ah…but you forget the other Bond cars’

“Ah, but you forget the other cars,” his secretary Miss Moneypenny, loyal supporter and aspirant lover would say. And she would be right.

The history of Britain’s most famous spy reflects the history of automotive excellence. Although the Aston Martin comes most readily to mind, the other “Bond cars” have included: 

Sunbeam Alpine Series II (Dr No, 1962)

A car that was suited to the budget constraints of the time Connery still managed to look cool in the signature dark suit and black tie even though the windscreen came just to the top of his forehead.

Sunbeam Alpine Sean Connery
Sean Connery puts the first Bond car, the Sunbeam Alpine, through its paces.

Return of the ‘immortal’ Aston Martin DB5

After this success, and the publicity achieved for the very British Alpine, Aston Martin recognised a future moneyspinner, and the DB5 made its immortal appearance (Goldfinger,1964).

Sales of Ason Martin cars soared, and the association that was to last for years was firmly in place. The DB5 featured in Thunderball (1965) to some of the newer films, like Goldeneye (1995) and Skyfall (2012).

Sean connery Aston Martin DB5
Sean Connery with his iconic Aston Martin DB5 Bond car. Image: Supplied

Toyota 2000 GT (You Only Live Twice,1967)

All good spies, and 007 was the best, know how to move with the times, so it was in Japan for You Only Live Twice (1967) that Bond swung his lithe frame behind the wheel of the iconic Toyota 2000GT which had to be adapted to accommodate his height.

sean connery bond car
Sean Connery in the Toyota 2000GT.

Ford Mustang Mach 1 (Diamonds Are Forever, 1971)

When in the US, he did as the locals do, putting a muscular Mustang Mach 1 through its paces as he was pursued through Las Vegas (Diamonds Are Forever, 1971).

Yamaha XJ 650 Turbo (Never Say Never, 1983)

Never Say Never (1983) proved that panache, Bond and two wheels went together, by putting Bond on a bike. He stayed immaculate throughout the ride in his tuxedo with a black helmet to match.

bond bike sean connery

Bentley Mark IV (From Russia With Love, 1963)

Proving that true English-style comes in racing green and needn’t be fresh off the manufacturer’s floor was the Bentley Mark IV, which was about 30 years old when it made its appearance with 007 (From Russia With Love, 1963). 

sean connery Bentley

‘Sean is not dead; he will always be alive’

Those who can think back to 1962 (Dr No) may forget the Sunbeam Alpine, but will find it difficult not to remember Ursula Andress who emerged from the Caribbean wearing a white bikini, diving knife and carrying a conch shell. 

Dr No Ursula Andress Sean Connery
Ursula Andress and Sean Connery in ‘Dr No’.

Paying tribute to Connery, Andress (now 84) said: 

“He was a great man, today men like that don’t exist, they are all too narcissistic, too taken with themselves. For me, Sean is not dead; he will always be alive, with me forever.”