Bond Aston Martin aNow here’s something interesting you didn’t think of (well I didn’t think of it anyway) about James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 in Goldfinger, the precursor to a heap of highly modified cars brought to us by the movies. For the rear bullet-proof screen to operate effectively the car would have had to be converted to front wheel drive; the screen would not have retracted fully into the body with the drive shaft and differential below it. A front-drive Aston Martin? Ahem.

The ejector seat in the same car also required a hinged, or possibly fully removable, roof panel above it. Otherwise the nasty little gunman trying to take Bond James Bond prisoner would have been gished against the headlining. So off-putting when you’re taking someone gorgeous from the casino back to your hotel.

There was also a device for shooting an oil slick and a smokescreen at following traffic, a couple of machine guns behind the indicator lights, tyre slashers and a revolving number plate. All-up, according to British motoring writer Mike Renault, these conversions would cost an aspiring secret agent about $125,000 on top of the price of the car. The only one I’d want would be the revolving number plates, please, at just $800.

Renault has done such sums on a number of movie cars. Take the Dodge Charger driven by Dominic Torretto in Fast & Furious. The supercharger, competition cam and alloy heads on the 426 hemi V8 would add around $40,000. There’s the 727 Torqueflite box with the B&M megashifter, the mags with Mickey Thompson rubber, nitrous injection, upgraded suspension, brakes and axle, a roll cage, a race seat and the paint job. Think $90,000 all up. All of that for a run of just a quarter mile. Seems sillier than the movies.

Italian Job Mini bThe best-known Minis in the world were from the 1969 movie The Italian Job (definitely not the 2003 re-make). Renault says the mods for those three cars, coloured red, white and blue, would have had to include a strengthened boot floor and shocks, a second fuel tank, a sump guard and wheel spacers for the Minilite wheels. There was a host of other things including special paint, Cibie Oscar driving lights and stone guards totalling $16,000. The patriotic ‘GB’ boot stickers would have added a further $6.

Breaking Bad RVThe cheapest vehicle in Renault’s assortment of movie greats is the 1986 Fleetwood Bounder, the crappy recreation vehicle used by Walter White and Jesse Pinkman to manufacture drugs in Breaking Bad. It requires hazmat suits, extra ventilation, an old oven, chemistry benches and equipment, and shelving. Around two grand all up. Bail not included.

Lamborghini Miura

Let’s finish with a car that was actually stripped down before its movie debut to save money. That was the Lamborghini Miura that started things in the very same movie that made those Minis famous, The Italian Job. The sharp-eyed will notice as it rolls down the cliffside that the engine and transmission have been removed.

January 2020


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