Top Gear (2002) s18e08 Episode Script

50 Years of Bond Cars

Bond.
James Bond.
007 has ruled the world of big-screen action heroes for 50 years now.
To date, over a quarter of the planet's population has seen him going about his spectacular day job.
My name is Pussy Galore.
I must be dreaming! The man is in a league of his own when it comes to watches, sharks and villains.
Look after Mr Bond.
See that some harm comes to him.
And, of course, no-one can match him when it comes to his cars .
.
which have enthralled us for generation after generation.
And none more so than this one.
The Goldfinger Aston Martin DB5.
It is, without doubt, the most famous car in the world, and the one that laid the foundations for the whole Bond/car relationship.
Which makes it the perfect place to start our celebration of 50 years of Bond cars.
Well, nearly the perfect place.
Because if we're going to be thorough we should start with the very first Bond adventure, Dr.
No.
Usually, when a man gets in my way With the whole film made on a very tight budget of just £350,000 the fact was that Bond's debut car chase was never going to set the world on fire.
At the wheel of a humble Sunbeam Alpine, he gets chased, briefly, by a hearse.
The hearse falls over a cliff and that's your lot.
I think they were on their way to a funeral.
To give you a flavour of how hand-to-mouth things were back then, I have a copy of a lovely letter written by the Bond producers to the people at the Sunbeam Motor Company.
It's sort of complaining that they couldn't get a free car to film with and had to rent one locally for - and I quote - "a considerable sum".
That "considerable sum" was 12 shillings a day! However, on its release in 1962, Dr.
No was a big hit, as was the next film, From Russia With Love.
This meant they could really push the boat out with the third film.
Goldfinger.
Do you expect me to talk? No, Mr Bond.
I expect you to die! With evil super-baddie Auric Goldfinger planning to destroy America's gold supply, Bond faced his most daunting challenge yet.
And to help 007 win the day, Q equipped him with a rather special car.
You'll be using this Aston Martin DB5 with modifications.
Windscreen, bullet-proof, as are the side and rear windows.
Revolving number plates, naturally.
Valid all countries.
The revolving number plates, I think, was my contribution because I was getting so many parking tickets at the time because the office was in Mayfair and there were a lot of warden ladies, you know, very vicious.
And I thought, "Wouldn't it be lovely, you get the ticket, she's marking away, "and then you press the button and the revolving "And she's left with egg on her face!" I thought, "That's a good thing!" See this arm here? Open the top and inside are your defence mechanism controls.
And somebody said, "Why not put machine guns in it?" I thought, "Nothing wrong with that.
" And so the gadgets added and added and added.
Now, this one, I'm particularly keen about.
See the gear lever here? If you take the top off, you'll find a little red button.
- Whatever you do, don't touch it! - Why not? Because you'll release this section of the roof and engage and then fire the passenger ejector seat.
That, I think, came from my stepson.
He'd seen obviously, an ejector plane seat and that had impressed him.
Ejector seat? You're joking! I never joke about my work, 007.
With the car gadgets planned out, all that was needed was an actual car.
So the Bond producers went and asked Aston Martin if they could borrow one of theirs.
And in reply, the Aston Martin bosses said "No, absolutely not.
It isn't worth the bother.
" Harry Saltzman, the Bond producer, came back at them quite indignantly.
"Well, have you seen Dr.
No?" "Actually, no", replied the chap from Aston.
"What about From Russia With Love"? Again, "No.
"But I'll tell you what.
We will sell you a car.
"At the full price.
£4,500.
" At this point Saltzman slammed the phone down and the most famous car in cinema history was on the verge of being a Jaguar.
A Jensen was also considered.
And a Chevrolet.
But the Bond producers kept plugging away at Aston, who, in the end, still with absolutely no idea of what they were letting themselves in for, begrudgingly lent them a second-hand development car.
And the Bond special effects chaps could go to work making their creation come to life.
In the end, gadgetising the car cost £25,000, more than five times the price of an actual DB5.
But boy, was it worth it! First out of the box was the tyre shredder.
And then all the other gadgets were unleashed in the legendary chase sequence against Goldfinger's evil henchmen.
Some of it was wonderfully low tech.
The smoke coming out of the back of the car, that was very simple.
We had a very small prop man and we put him in the boot of the car.
There was a hole and a smoke canister and all he had to do was open the thing.
And the canister was leaking and there was this smoke coming.
The poor bugger was practically asphyxiated! Aghh! In the film, the setting for the car chase is in the grounds of Goldfinger's factory in Switzerland.
But in reality, the chase was actually shot here amongst the alleyways and buildings of Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire.
This is where the angry, fat Fraulein shoots at Bond.
And this is the location for the climax of the chase, where Bond fires at what he thinks is a car coming towards him and then swerves violently to avoid it.
Actually, it's probably a good job he crashed, because at one point in the chase, the Aston's four-litre, six-cylinder engine went a bit dicky and was only running on three cylinders! But the misfiring engine is not the memory that haunts the director.
You did get a great letter from a schoolboy, that I read about.
Addressed to the director, Goldfinger.
"Dear sir, "when the Aston Martin leaves the UK, "the wheels are Pirelli's 568s, "but when it arrives at the petrol station in Switzerland, they're Dunlop's 426s", or something.
And I didn't even bother to ask my editor to have a look and see, because I knew that the little bugger was right! Was the letter signed James May, by any chance? He'd have been two, but I think he would have noticed! So there we are.
A car that nearly never happened.
Gadgets dreamed up by overgrown kids with too many parking tickets, a man suffocating in the boot and a chase, sometimes on three cylinders, sometimes not, round some grubby warehouses.
Hardly the ingredients for a Avengers Assemble, is it? But when the lights went down in the cinema in September 1964, wow! The public went mad for Goldfinger.
And they went equally crazy for the DB5, which ended up going on its own world tour and opening up Bond to a whole new audience.
The Aston changed everything.
And this brings us to an important question.
Why was it, above all others, chosen to be Bond's car? Well, to find the answer, a good place to start is with the Bond books.
This, as you may have noticed, is not an Aston Martin.
It's a 4.
5-litre 1930s super-charged Bentley.
And this is the car that Bond's creator Ian Fleming chose to give his secret agent in the books.
In Fleming's mind, the Bentley was the obvious choice for Bond.
As a young reporter for Reuters, the author had covered the 24-hour Le Mans race and had seen the mighty Bentleys vanquish all the foreign johnnies.
Also, a Bentley was exactly the right sort of car for Bond's cover as a wealthy bachelor about town.
Fleming was, without doubt, a proper petrol-head.
He writes brilliant car chases full of lovely details about exhaust notes and super-chargers at full chaff.
In Casino Royale, the very first Bond book, he writes how Bond's car was his only personal hobby.
And then in the book Moonraker, Bond's beloved Bentley is destroyed during a frantic car chase, leaving him in need of a new set of wheels.
And then in 1957, as Fleming is sitting down to write his new book, Goldfinger, he receives a letter from a Dr G.
Gibson, a car enthusiast from Cambridgeshire, who says he hopes Fleming will have "the decency to fix Bond up with a decent bit of machinery.
"I would suggest an Aston Martin, a DB3.
" And when Goldfinger is published a year later, this is what we read: The film-makers simply updated Fleming's DB3 to a DB5.
And Dr Gibson, wherever you are up there, thank you, sir.
You have no idea what you started! But now we must leave the Aston Martin and move on to the next great Bond car.
You can't say your own films, from the past, what's your favourite Bond car? - Bond car? - Yeah.
Um I don't know.
I love that little Is it the Datsun in Japan - when the girl drives up.
- Toyota 2000.
Is that what it is? I love that car.
I know I'm being a bit specific, but that's one of my favourites.
Get down! Daniel's favourite car appears in the film You Only Live Twice where Bond has to prevent World War III by destroying the hollowed-out volcano belonging to his arch enemy, Ernst Stavro Blofeld I shall look forward personally to exterminating you, Mr Bond.
Since the film was set in Japan, the star car had to be Japanese.
And this is what was chosen.
The Toyota 2000 GT.
Daniel Craig clearly has very good taste.
Because even without the Bond connections, this 2000 GT is a very important car.
Developed jointly by Yamaha and Toyota in the mid-'60s, when Toyota was desperate to shake off its stodgy image, this exquisite front-engined rear-drive machine became known as Japan's first super car.
The engine is a two-litre Toyota straight six that was then worked on by Yamaha.
Yamaha also have contributed the wood inlay on the dash, the same wood they used on their pianos.
The whole thing is wrapped up in this beautiful light aluminium body.
It is .
.
absolutely gorgeous.
And rare.
One of these today would set you back half a million pounds.
Unlike the Goldfinger DB5, the 2000 GT didn't have any fighting gadgets.
In fact, it needed a bit of help to dispense with the baddies.
Which Bond could watch live on the in-car TV.
How's that for Japanese efficiency? Just a drop in the ocean! Now, there's something else you need to know about this car.
Something that's not immediately obvious with me in it! It is quite small.
However, Sean Connery isn't.
The original 2000 GT as delivered to England to be kitted out with all its gadgets and stuff was a hard top, just like this one.
And when the Bond producers took delivery, they found, with filming just about to start, that Sean Connery simply wouldn't fit in it! The solution, obviously, was a convertible.
But this was a brand new car.
No convertible version existed.
However, we are talking about Toyota here.
So when the Bond people got on the phone, Toyota simply said, "Yeah, come back in two weeks", and sure enough, a fortnight later, the whole thing had been re-designed and rebuilt as a soft top.
Without question, then, the Bond films of the '60s had seen 007 in some truly iconic cars.
But as the '70s came around, the films entered a new car era.
The era of smash, bang and wallop.
In Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun, the car carnage was off the scale.
And as with Goldfinger, these films were all directed by Guy Hamilton.
At the time, Bullitt had just come out with that very intense, terse car chase with the Mustang and the Chargers.
Were you not tempted to go in that direction? You went the other way, really.
No, because I don't like a car chase.
I find them boring.
Everybody's done car chases before.
What can we do that makes this one different? One thing that was different was to devise some nifty stunts.
I gotcha now! Lean over! Diamonds Are Forever had one of the most famous stunt moments in it with the car on two wheels through the alleyway.
But also one of the real Hall of Fame Blooper moments cos it went in on one set of wheels and came out on the other! It's a significant change from being that way to being that way! Did the audience notice at the time? I was waiting for them to all stand up and walk out of the cinema! And to my amazement they were still sat there, giggling! The blooper came about because Guy filmed the car coming out of the alleyway first and then suddenly had to fly back to England.
So he left the producer Cubby Broccoli in charge of filming the car going into the alley.
And three weeks later, Cubby comes along and says here are the rushes, we've got your goddamn wheelie shot.
Well, I went to rushes and it's wheelie side up, and the shot I'd got of it coming out the other end it's wheelie side down! So he says, "What do you think, Guy?" I said, "They have to do it again.
He said no - BLEEP - way! After Diamonds Are Forever, Connery handed over the baton to Roger Moore, who gave us a more light-hearted Bond.
Mm, such a delicate touch! Sheer magnetism, darling.
My attitude was that Bond is not real.
He's not a spy.
He walks into every bar in the world and the barman knows him.
"Ah, Martini shaken, not stirred.
" On the first wrong answer from Miss Solitaire, you will snip the little finger on Mr Bond's right hand.
In Roger's first film, Live and Let Die, where he battled voodoo and evil heroin dealers .
.
he was given a rather unconventional car chase.
We're in Jamaica and what I did notice was that they've got double-decker buses.
And I thought, "Bond in a bus.
We can have some fun with a bus!" Before we went out there, they took me down to the skid pad near Hammersmith to be able to spin.
At first you think, "Oh, no, it's going to tip.
" But they don't tip.
Despite Roger's training, an expert was needed at the wheel for the stunt sequences.
And instead of using a normal stunt driver, the Bond people drafted in an actual London bus driver, Maurice Pratchett.
Maurice, yes.
He was a lovely fellow who got to drive under the bridge.
You don't think I was going to go driving under a bridge? I hope he got paid stunt money.
All change! End of the line.
In the next film, The Man with the Golden Gun, Bond takes on the deadly triple-nippled assassin, Scaramanga.
Ready! This was Bond's car.
The AMC Hornet.
Which, in one of cinema's eggiest-ever product placement moments, Bond commandeers from an AMC showroom in Bangkok.
- Can I have my demonstration? - Certainly.
And then uses it to give chase to Scaramanga who is, completely coincidentally, driving another AMC car.
Where the hell have they got to? Scaramanga was on the opposite riverbank and making a clean getaway.
You goofed, boy.
Now, up until this moment, the little Hornet's only claim to fame was that it was available with denim seat covers! All that was about to change! - You're not thinking that - I sure am, boy! Ever heard of Evel Knievel? Not only was the astro spiral jump the most spectacular Bond stunt yet, it was also the first car stunt to be worked out using computers.
However, it still needed a human being in the hot seat.
The car that they drove, the steering wheel was in the centre.
It had to be very carefully balanced.
It also needed a huge run up.
They did it at 49 miles an hour or something, and it had to be really spot on.
We had divers, we had ambulances, we had air ambulances.
You know, because this was not tested, if you follow my meaning.
But, on the day, the driver had to dash back to America for family reasons and the mechanic said, "All right, I'll do it.
" And this very brave fellow who'd never done it before just came down and that was it.
- And it was one take.
- One take.
And Cubby, ever generous, went up to him with a roll of 100 bills.
And he said, "There.
" And the guy said, "Can I do it again?" The car thrills weren't over, though.
Because after Bond's spiral jump, Scaramanga makes his escape in dramatic fashion.
This is the car you see in the air in the film.
The Bond producers, ever proud of their record of doing things for real, had wanted to use an actual flying car, an AVE Mizar, which was a Cessna light aircraft mated to a Ford Pinto.
But shortly before filming began, the inventors of the AVE were in a routine flight in their creation when the plane bit sort of came away and the two chaps found themselves flying at quite a height in a second-hand Ford Pinto.
Sadly, both of them were killed and the Bond people retreated to the safety of a model flying car.
So far, then, the films of the '70s had given us some excellent car stunts but what they hadn't given us was a car to match the Goldfinger DB5.
A car that was a star in its own right.
However, in the next film, The Spy Who Loved Me, all that was about to change.
Observe, Mr Bond, the instruments of Armageddon.
This time, Bond is up against the web-fingered baddy, Stromberg, who has the modest ambition of blowing up the world, and then starting a new civilisation under the sea.
Stopping him is a formidable challenge, and to help him, Bond is issued with a new car.
A Lotus Esprit.
Now, the baddy's lair was in Sardinia.
And when Q arrived there to give Bond his new Lotus, 007 drove off before Q could give him the usual briefing on how all the gadgets worked.
- One or two rather special accessories - Q, have I ever let you down? Frequently! That was done deliberately, because when the car unveiled its party piece, the Bond makers wanted the cinema-goers to experience a moment they would never forget.
Can you swim? Unquestionably, your biggest Bond car moment, when it turns into a submarine.
Do you remember the response at the time, how people received that moment? - It was a That got applause from behind the Iron Curtain, I'm sure.
And that was just the start of it, because Q had stuffed the Lotus full of weaponry.
And then when it came out of the water, lowered the window and dropped a fish out, and Cubby said, "How did the fish get in there?" We said, "Let's not worry about how it got there!" The Lotus was unquestionably the first car since the DB5 that could match 007 for screen presence.
And the story about how the Esprit actually got into the film is a tale worthy of Ian Fleming himself.
The man we have to thank is a chap called Don McCloughlin.
In the 1970s, he was the PR boss at Lotus.
And when he heard from friends at Pinewood that the Bond people wanted a new car for their next film, he, naturally enough, wanted it to be a Lotus.
The problem was, though, that with the films now the most successful franchise in the world, everyone was fighting to get their products into a Bond movie.
Don decided the only way to hook the Bond people was, instead of going begging to them, get them to come to him.
And so one day he turned up at Pinewood in a prototype Esprit.
The car hadn't even gone on sale yet.
And he deliberately taped over every part of the car - the speedo, the steering wheel, the gear knob - that said the word Lotus.
He then parked the car outside the Bond offices and went off to see a friend across the way.
Sure enough, when the Bond big-wigs came outside at lunch time, they saw his amazing-looking car and immediately crowded round.
But they couldn't tell what it was.
And then Don came outside, pushed his way through the crowd, and deliberately avoiding answering any of their questions, simply got in the car and drove off.
He gambled that this tactic would make the Bond people desperate to find out what the car was and come after it.
It took a pair of 007-sized cojones, but it worked.
Besides Don, there's also another unsung hero in the Lotus story.
When the Bond crew started filming the chase sequence in Sardinia, the stunt driver was struggling to make the Lotus look exciting on camera because it was so grippy.
Watching this problem unfold was Lotus employee Roger Becker, who delivered the Esprit to the set.
To make it slide, you've got to be going very quick and taking the car up to and beyond its limit on a corner.
And that was something that the stunt driver, he somehow couldn't quite handle.
And I guess the real turning point was what was a very simple shot, two or 300 yards up the road was a right-hand corner and then driving up the hill into the next chase scenes.
And mysteriously, the stunt driver had disappeared.
So the camera crew who were parked up on top of a hill said, "Well, bring the car up anyhow.
" So I jumped in the car, absolutely flailed it up the road, slid it round this corner, up the hill, onto this dirt area where they were parked, all sideways, and when the dust settled, there's the first director and assistant director standing there and they said, "Would you mind going and doing that again, "and this time, we'll have the cameras rolling!" From that moment on, Roger was deputised as James Bond's stunt driver.
The most hair-raising part was the helicopter chase because it was close.
And I guess the most exciting part of all was the pass underneath the helicopter.
I come round a left-hand corner with explosions going on all around me and then you look up and there's this helicopter pointing at you at a height off the ground that I was absolutely convinced was not enough.
And you've got to drive straight at it at 70, 80 miles an hour.
There's only one thing you can do.
Put your foot down as hard as you can and close your eyes! But, as exciting as the chopper chase was, it's the submarine sequence that raises the most interesting question.
Namely what, in Bond's fantasy car world, is actually possible in the real world? You see, when the Bond people came up with that amazing underwater Lotus sequence, for all their incredible skills, they were never able to make a real, working submarine car.
So some of it was made using the shell of an Esprit with two divers inside it, and the other bits were filmed using these models.
The bubbles coming out of the back were actually Alka Seltzer tablets dissolving! Well, let's see if today we can get by without the indigestion tablets.
Because I can't think of a better 50th birthday present than for us to make that Holy Grail of Bond cars a living, breathing reality.
And with this magnificent machine, we may well have done just that.
Now, the more alert viewers will already have noticed that this is not, in fact, a Lotus Esprit, but a Lotus Excel.
That's because our Bond submarine car has been lovingly hand-crafted on a budget! And an Excel is really way cheaper.
And likewise for budgetary reasons, the location for our maiden voyage is not Sardinia, but a reservoir neat Matlock.
Before I head out into that warm, sapphire-blue water, let me talk you through the features of the world's first working - hopefully - submarine car.
First, the windscreen, which would cave in under pressure from the water.
That's been replaced with a special plastic used in aircraft windows and for the visors of astronauts' space helmets.
Then, despite the fact that Lotuses are legendary for never leaking, we have taken the precaution of fitting it with a glass fibre inner skin.
Yes, that has compromised the practicality a little, but we thought it worthwhile.
Then propulsion.
These thrusters underwater will be driven by electric motors.
And finally, ballast.
To compensate for the amount of air inside the car, we will have to add a lot of weight to make it sink.
And after much scientific thought and calculation, we've come up with a neat and clever solution.
Filling the tyres with concrete.
There is much more to talk about, but let's get underway and do that on the move.
But since the launch preparations take a little time, let us return now to Sir Roger Moore.
So I absolutely have to ask, do you have a favourite? - Of all the cars? - All the Bond cars.
The little two-stroke whatever it was.
The Citroen 2CV? - Yeah.
- Really?! Why? Because it didn't matter if you hit it.
Roger's beloved 2CV stars in For Your Eyes Only, - when a Keystone Cops-style chase - Hold tight! .
.
called for something cheap and tough that could go off-road and out-fox the big boys.
And actually, maybe Roger's choice isn't such a bad one.
Especially if you've always fancied owning a Bond car on a budget! It is a bit of a come-down! Nevertheless the 2CV is a bona fide Bond car.
A good one will set you back about £6,000 plus all of your dignity.
So I don't know, you might want to give this one a miss.
Another option is the Renault 11 from A View to a Kill, since a good one costs around £2,000.
However, if you're going to be picky, you really should have it with the Bond modifications .
.
which do take away some of the 11's famed practicality! No.
If Top Gear were to recommend a Bond car on a budget, then it could only be one of these.
The Alfa Romeo GTV.
The GTV appears in Octopussy, when Bond has to rush to an air base to warn everyone of an atomic bomb about to go off and he nicks one of these to do so.
Now, younger viewers might be thinking, "Why didn't he just borrow somebody's mobile phone?" But this was 1983, so the car would have been a lot smaller and easier to steal than a mobile phone of the day! There are no fancy car stunts in the GTV sequence.
But the Alfa does, as you'd expect, give some cracking driving moments.
The sort of thing the purist Ian Fleming would have approved of.
I can't understand why there wasn't more Alfa action in Bond's life.
Well, I can.
He'd forever be arriving at the baddy's hollowed-out volcano on the back of a tow truck! But, even so Today, a good one of these will set you back about £8,000.
Plus a million or so in maintenance.
But it is the Bond car to have.
It's all so boring here, Margot.
There's nothing but playboys and tennis pro's.
If only I could find a real man.
In 1987, Roger Moore was replaced by Timothy Dalton.
I need to use your phone.
She'll call you back.
Keen to take 007 back to his tough, no-nonsense roots, the producers introduced the new Bond with a tough, no-nonsense car sequence.
And most important of all, reunited him with an old friend.
"Dear Mr Broccoli, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you and Michael Wilson on Friday "and write to confirm my understanding of the agreement between us "relating to the arrangements for motor cars "in the forthcoming Bond film.
" "Yours, very sincerely, "Victor Gauntlet, Chairman, "Aston Martin.
" Bond's new Aston Martin, a V8 Volante, was an update of his old DB5.
And likewise, his gadgets were a re-boot of the ones seen in Goldfinger.
Instead of a mechanical tyre shredder, the job was now done by a laser beam.
What happened? Salt corrosion.
And instead of machine guns, there were now guided missiles.
Sadly, there was no ejector seat.
Time to leave.
But Q made up for that with the car's winter pack! Brace yourself.
The Aston would end up meeting a fiery death.
But by evoking the spirit of the Goldfinger DB5, it had helped make audiences comfortable with the new Bond.
Which was a bit of a shame, because despite some sterling vehicular work, Dalton was replaced after just two films .
.
by Pierce Brosnan.
Vodka Martini.
Shaken, not stirred.
This was the mid-'90s.
Bond had been around for 16 movies and was facing tougher competition than ever from films like Die Hard and True Lies.
The Bond people responded by filling the Brosnan films with spectacular action sequences that were the equal of anything else on the cinema screen.
Q's not gonna like this! In fact, there was only one area that let the side down.
The cars.
007 was taken out of his Aston Martin and put for the first time in a BMW.
And now we come to the low point of Bond motoring.
In GoldenEye, he was given this hairdresser's Z3.
On screen for two minutes and did nothing.
In The World Is Not Enough, he had this Z8, which drives about 50 feet, fires a rocket, then gets cut in half.
They were just a bit pointless.
And then, when they did put him in an Aston, it was terrible! Here we can clearly see a chase featuring a Ferrari 355, one of the best handling modern Ferraris ever, and Bond in an Aston Martin that's 30 years older, somehow keeping up.
I don't think so.
Admittedly, in Tomorrow Never Dies, the car action does perk up.
Your new BMW 750.
All the usual refinements.
Machine guns, rockets, the GPS tracking system.
Capable of being driven by Bond via his mobile phone, the 7 series unleashes its many gizmos during an explosive chase in a car park.
But the fact remains we were still watching the world's most dashing secret agent driving around in a sales manager's company car.
Eventually, in Brosnan's final film, Die Another Day, order was restored.
Reunited with his rightful mark, this time in a Vanquish, Bond puts the Aston to good use in a spectacular car chase on a frozen lake in Iceland.
When we decided there was going to be a car chase on ice, my heart sank cos I thought, "I have to come up with something exciting on the lake.
"You won't have a street full of shoppers, "or sidewalk cafes that cars that can go through.
" So I thought, "If we send both protagonists out equally matched, "then it's like a really good sword-fencing competition "where each one foils the other every time.
" So they both had rockets, and each rocket cancels each other out.
And then we had machine guns and mortars vying for each other.
So it was really just a competition between two very talented people.
And that was the theme.
And day-to-day, the ice had to be, what was it, ten inches thick? Ten inches thick on the ice.
Couldn't have more than four people standing together.
Just the weight on the ice.
Because it's scary enough anyway.
The ice is like a trampoline.
The cars gave a trampoline effect.
And as it happens, during the chase, we had a little argument with an iceberg! We came off pretty much the same way without actually sinking, but the same way the Titanic did.
It destroyed us! Although Q had loaded the Aston with high-tech weapons, they weren't its most amazing feature.
Aston Martin call it the Vanquish.
We call it the Vanish.
Oh.
Very good.
Now, some critics complained that the invisibility cloak was a gadget too far, that it was taking Bond into science fiction.
But the fact is, the Bond people hadn't lost the plot as we shall now demonstrate, with a bit of Top Gear engineering.
Just like the Aston Martin, we, too, have based our creation on a classic British name.
It's a Ford Transit.
Because one, well, it is cheaper, two, its slab sides are the perfect place for us to fit these flat-screen TVs.
Here's how it works.
This is the clever science bit.
Cameras dotted on each side will be filming everything around the car/van as it goes along, live, and relaying those images to the screens.
Thus making the car/van blend into the background and rendering it invisible.
In order to prove that the technology works, I shall now demonstrate it with a drive through town.
OK, so here we are in town.
There are plenty of people about.
Right now, all they can see is a van that looks like it's been covered in glue and driven through Currys.
But, if I turn this switch here, everything changes.
Invisibility cloak .
.
descend! Unfortunately, because of the power needed to operate the plasmas, there has to be a chap in the back operating quite a sizeable generator.
Nevertheless, I have simply vanished! Yep, totally transparent.
I am a phantom, a spectre, drifting through town, as invisible as the wind.
They're not shouting at me.
They don't know I'm here.
They're just having a laugh cos one of them said a funny joke or something, I guess.
The feeling of anonymity, of invisibility, is absolutely, oh Now, that's She only pulled out on me because she couldn't see me.
These are people having lunch.
They have no idea.
I could drive right up and listen in to their conversation as a spy might, and they wouldn't know.
My one worry is how we would deal with insurance claims because obviously nobody would have seen me to know that it was me that crashed into them because I am invisible.
Yep, totally transparent.
So there we are.
Proof that an invisible car is something that we could actually see on the roads.
And now we must move on to the current James Bond.
Vodka Martini.
- Shaken, not stirred? - Do I look like I give a damn? Daniel Craig's first film, Casino Royale, ushered in an era of tougher, more realistic action.
And this no-nonsense tone also gave us one of Bond's most brutal car stunts.
This is the Aston he drove, an Aston Martin DBS.
We'll come back to it in a minute.
But first, let us delve into the book Casino Royale.
In it, there is a passage in which Bond is giving chase to some baddies who've kidnapped the girl he loves, Vesper Lynd.
This is what happens.
"He was only doing about 60 as he approached the black patch "across the right-hand crown of the road.
"Even so, there was no time to save himself.
"There was suddenly a small carpet of glinting steel spikes "right under his off-side wing.
"Then he was on top of it.
The heavy car whirled across the road "in a tearing dry skid.
"And then it reared slowly up, "its front wheels spinning and its great headlight searching the sky.
"It seemed to paw at the heavens like a giant preying mantis.
"Then, slowly, it toppled over backwards and fell, "with a splintering crash of coachwork and glass.
" For the film, the producers wanted to recreate and up-date that moment.
And boy, did they! On the storyboards, the plan was for Bond to give chase in the Aston, come across Vesper lying in the middle of the road and then swerve violently to avoid her causing the car to roll.
The stuntmen rehearsed the roll-over with an old BMW 5 series which flipped easily.
But when they tried it with the actual car, the more aerodynamically-shaped Aston just wouldn't roll.
So they thought, "Let's fit a cannon underneath "that'll fire into the ground and flip the car.
"That should do it.
" It did! In fact, by the time the Aston came to rest, it had set a new world record for the number of rolls in a car stunt.
'And cut it!' This desire for hard realism can also be seen in the epic car chase which forms the opening sequence of the latest Bond film, Skyfall.
The chase sequence in Skyfall does that relentless thing.
It just builds and builds and builds.
It starts here on the streets in Istanbul with the baddy in a Audi A5 being chased by Bond in a Land Rover Defender.
Then after much bashing and smashing and tyre squealing, the Audi ends up on its side.
And because the Bond people are no fans of CGI, preferring to make their car chases in the old-fashioned analogue way, they do get through quite a lot of metal! 15 Audis alone will meet their maker in this sequence.
So what kind of Bond baddy are you? Uh A cocky one.
You know, he loves what he's doing.
He's a great driver, a great rider, a great shooter and he's a great fighter.
And I have the best teachers.
I have Ben Collins teaching me how to drive an Audi! Yes, our former Stig, having doubled for Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace is now a Bond driving instructor.
And also the wheel man in the very latest type of stunt vehicle.
Come on, talk us through it.
Nice t-shirt! Thanks.
Just need to update that a bit.
- Did you pay for it? - Yeah, it was in the sale! Good.
So how does this work? What is it? It's a standard Land Rover, pimped, they've played with the suspension, given it more power.
On top of that is the pod.
That's where I sit and where I drive.
All the controls are based up there.
The way it works, the actress or actor can sit inside and they can do their dialogue without worrying about steering.
- It's budget, that.
- It's mega.
That's why the car chases are real.
So you taught Daniel to drive, didn't you, for films.
Fast, yeah.
- Yeah? - He's got a heavy right foot.
He picked it up really quickly.
I met him down at Dunsfold and taught him drifting and took him through an assault course.
Handbrake turns, J turns.
Occasionally I had to tell him to try and stay off the grass, not to spin too much.
It's amazing stuff to do.
You should write a book! I'm just thinking the same thing.
After the Audi ends up on its side, the baddy and Bond commandeer some crashed motorbikes and continue the chase on two wheels.
So the motorcycles come up these stairs here into this area.
We had to be very careful because of the archaeological treasures that are in this temple.
We've been having a problem making sure we preserve them.
We can't touch anything in here.
This is one of the oldest arches in Istanbul.
It dates from about the 10th century.
It's restored.
It's Roman up to here and 10th century all round here.
Inside here, you see the brickwork's been restored in the 1900s but otherwise, it's completely original.
And from this side you can see the great I bought that completely, Michael! Totally.
I totally bought that.
I was thinking how does that work? We try to make it pretty real.
We try We still do stunts, but try to make them look like they're not stunts.
They look like they could happen.
And that "being real" thing, - we want to watch a Bond film and think, "Somebody's doing that.
" - Right.
Someone's doing the stunt.
It may not be the actor, but some human being is doing it.
The human being doubling for Daniel Craig in the bike sequence is stunt rider Robbie Maddison, whose skills will be tested to their limit because the bike chase doesn't just happen on the streets.
But also up here, on the ancient city rooftops.
The opening scene, we come down this pathway in front of us here.
I'm chasing the bad guy as fast as I can go.
- What pathway? Seriously, what pathway? - These little ones here.
On bikes.
OK.
What kind of speeds are you hitting on these walls? Fourth gear, we're probably doing about 70 kilometres an hour on the roof.
So we're coming along the pathways and jumping some of the rooftops.
So if you come up here slightly too fast on this side and get your tyre in one of these ridges, you're going to jump off there and there's nowhere to land.
It's one of those jumps where either you get it right - or you pay the consequences.
- It's really bad.
The dangerous part is that we've got no helmets on.
So the bad guy's got no helmet, Bond's got no helmet.
But I guess Bond can't stop, buy a crash helmet, reject it cos it doesn't fit, buy one that fits He's not expecting a bike ride, is he? After the bike sequence, the chase reaches a spectacular climax on the roof of a train.
And as far as cars go, there's also another treat in store.
This DB5 I'm driving is not the actual one used in Goldfinger.
But it is the actual one used in Skyfall.
Which means it's back! And I suppose that's completely inconspicuous(!) It's no secret we've got the old DB5 in this.
You know, the buttons are all there.
They're in the console.
I get to play with them.
We blow a few things up in this movie, - but that's You know.
- No way! - Explosions and things? - We've got a few of them! But on the car chase thing, - how did you find it? Did you get to grips with it? - I love it.
It's, you know, getting the chance to drive some beautiful cars, as well as some clapped-out cars, it's like a schoolboy dream.
I get to wreck a few as well.
I've wrecked a few expensive cars.
Our old Stig did some stunt-driving training with you.
I'm not blowing smoke, but he did say you were very good.
He's a lovely man.
He is on a retainer, though, by the way! And now that Skyfall has brought us to the present day, it's time to return to Matlock and fire up our birthday present.
HMS Heath Robinson! Good.
Solar.
On.
Deploying dive planes.
Listen to that comforting Bond noise that tells you something somewhere is making mechanical magic happen.
Nothing else to do.
We are ready.
This is it.
Obviously I have switched my engine off, so I'm rolling it.
But as soon as I hit that water, I can fire up my thrusters and away we go! Oh, that feels peculiar! I'm very conscious of the fact that this is a Top Gear creation! Here comes the w Oh! It's only working, isn't it? I watched the film as a kid.
And now, for real, I'm in a James Bond-style submarine Lotus.
I'm controlling it with these levers.
These steer the dive planes on the back.
The buttons on top operate the thrusters.
The thing is positively buoyant.
It wants to float.
But the thrusters and the dive planes drive us under the water.
Now, you'll notice I haven't actually drowned, and yet we built this thing.
That's because the air that's rushing into the cabin right now is pushing out the water.
So Although there are a few leaks, there are a few leaks happening, but this is, well, there's no other word for it, quite simply brilliant.
It actually works.
And now, sadly, it's time to end the show.
Looking back over 50 years of Bond, yeah, there have been movies with maybe better car chases.
Bullitt and Ronin.
But I don't think anyone has done as much to give the cars character, to make them personalities in their own right.
And I don't think anyone has done so many amazing things with cars and done them for real.
Basically, I'm saying I don't think anyone has done as much as the Bond people to make sure cars have their own plinth in the cinema hall of fame.
Thanks for watching, and goodbye! Yeah, that is a leak now.
I I'm