Q presents 007 with his Vanquish at MI6’s secret London Underground station, showing off its many hi-tech modifications, including an adaptive camouflage system and ejector seat. Bond uses the car when investigating Gustav Graves/Colonel Moon and its full armoury comes to use when the camouflage is compromised and Graves’ henchman, Zao, gives chase in his heavily armoured green Jaguar XKR. Their duel unfolds as an explosive ice ballet between the two vehicles on a frozen lake. The scene includes a nod to the DB5 as the Vanquish employs its ejector seat, though this time round it’s used to flip back onto its wheels when the car is sliding on its roof. The Vanquish emerges victorious during a final showdown in the Ice Palace where the car’s thermal imaging system locates Jinx inside the melting palace before Bond drives her to a hot spring.
Seven V12 Vanquishes were supplied to the production, all of which were finished in Tungsten Silver, with charcoal leather interiors, to recall Bond’s original DB5. Three standard production cars, with their 6.0-litre, 450bhp, V12 engines (capable of a 195mph top speed with a 0-62mph in 4.4secs time) were used for the close-up and interior shots, while four more were heavily modified for use by the special effects team before they shot the car’s battle with Zao’s Jaguar XKR on the frozen lake. The production team realised that the factory cars were unable to handbrake turn due to their ABS and anti-skid systems, prompting special effects supervisor Chris Corbould to rebuild the machines entirely under Aston shells, fitting four-wheel drive systems, torque-sensing front axles and smaller 300bhp V8 engines that were housed well back in the engine bay to allow the addition of the in-car weaponry. As the production was shooting on a frozen lake, Corbould’s team also built emergency airbags into the cars’ bonnet and boot, which would inflate automatically should any models fall into the water. The four cars took three months to build.
The chase was filmed on Jökulsárlón lagoon in Iceland, where no one had ever previously raced cars. The area suffered its coldest February in more than 50 years, which granted the filmmakers perfect conditions for their March 2002 shoot. The sequence took six weeks to film and two of the Aston stunt cars were destroyed during filming: one hitting an iceberg, while the other was written-off after the ejector seat flip and subsequent roof-slide.
Q Branch Modifications
Adaptive camouflage system – cameras on the car sides record images that are displayed onto a light-emitting polymer skin on the opposite side of the vehicle
Front-mounted heat-seeking missiles concealed behind grille x 4 Thermal imaging system concealed in CD player
Ice tyres with spikes Target-seeking front-mounted shotguns x 2
Bullet-proof body and windows
Sign up for 007 news from the world of James Bond. Receive exclusive updates and content – from behind-the-scenes stories, to the latest product launches – plus film clips and trivia from the Bond archive.