Aston Martin V8

Aston Martin V8

Appears In
The Living Daylights, No Time To Die

On Film
In The Living Daylights, the Aston Martin V8 first appears at a Bladen safe house and is then seen a while later in Q’s workshop where it is being “winterised” by technicians. Here, a hardtop is fitted along with a “few optional extras,” says Bond later on, as he and cellist Kara Milovy bid to elude the Czech police. During the car’s action sequence, Bond employs the police radio scanner before opening a secret compartment in the centre console that reveals a series of switches for the car’s weapons system. He first slices through a cop car with the Aston’s lasers and then dispatches a lorry roadblock with a pair of front-mounted rockets.

The bulletproof chassis and glass come under fire before the V8 hurtles onto a frozen lake to evade the arriving military, smashing through a wooden cabin (that the car wears for a while), avoiding enemy grenade launchers and cutting a hole in the ice with a tyre-less rim to sink a chasing police car. The Aston then sprouts outriggers and fires its rear rocket booster, leaping over a border patrol checkpoint, careering off-piste through the snow and crashing into a snowbank. Bond presses the Self-destruct button before he and Kara escape, using her cello case as a sled.

In No Time To Die, Bond retrieves the hardtop V8 (sporting the same B549 WUU number-plate from the earlier film) from his London lock-up ahead of his visit to MI6. He then drives the car to Madeleine’s childhood home in the Norwegian countryside.

The Vehicle
With a new Bond in place for The Living Daylights, the producers also renewed their ties with Aston Martin. This gave Dalton’s 007 the use of the powerful 5.3-litre convertible Aston Martin V8. The V8 saw Aston Martin adopt single headlamps and a revised front grille, along with a bigger bonnet bulge to clear the carburettor air box, and a re-designed fuel tank. The hardtop V8 used for the action sequence was a series 4, featuring front and rear telescopic shock absorbers and twin servo assisted brakes with front and rear ventilated discs. The engine offered 432bhp, topping out at 146 mph with a 0-60mph time of 6.6secs.

For No Time To Die, the filmmakers employed a variety of Aston Martin models and, as well as reuniting Bond with his DB5, they also once more put him behind the wheel of a V8.

The Productions
The convertible seen at the start of The Living Daylights is a V8 Volante, which was the personal vehicle of then Aston Martin Lagonda chairman Victor Gauntlett, who loaned it to the production.

The film’s director, John Glen, originally planned the frozen lake sequence with yachts skidding about on the ice, but the weather conditions and temperamental sailors forced him to change tack, and the Aston was chosen for the job. Filmed in Weissensee, Austria, the lake ice driving scenes were among the last shot. The weather caused havoc, with a rise in temperatures breaking the ice and the Aston nearly falling into the lake. Glen recalled how the car almost floated away on a separating piece of ice, leaving the crew to desperately try and coax it back onto firmer ground without tumbling into the icy waters. Such was the demand for parts during the shoot, there was, apparently, a shortage of bumpers and windscreens at the Aston factory. The filmmakers used three V8 ‘roadcars’ that were modified for filming, along with seven replicas for stunts and special effects – six fibreglass shells and one aluminium.

Three cars were used in filming No Time To Die. As well as cruising the London streets, the V8 was also shot crossing the iconic Atlantic Ocean Road in Norway, which is often cited as one of the most nerve-wracking stretches of A-roads in the world, spanning a series of small islands with its causeways and arched bridges running for more than five miles. One of the three V8s was sold for £630,000 in 2022 as part of the 007 60th anniversary Christie’s charity auction. The other two are now in the archives of Eon Productions and Aston Martin.

Q Branch Modifications
• Hubcap-mounted laser – initiated via Laser button on centre console and firing from Aston logo in front passenger-side hubcap
• Twin front-mounted missile launchers – positioned behind fog lamps
• Digital windscreen targeting system – initiated by Display button and aimed via a sliding switch
• Rear-mounted rocket booster – concealed behind rear number plate and ignited by Rocket Motor button
• Retractable outriggers – skis engaged by Outrigger button and extending from beneath both car doors
• Ice tyres with retractable spikes – controlled by sliding In and Out switches
• Police frequency scanner – built into Philips radio
• Bulletproof glass and shell
• Self-destruct system