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The Cars of SPECTRE: Aston Martin DB10, Jaguar C-X75, Range Rover Sport SVR & Land Rover Defender

By: Stuart Kortekaas
Aston Martin DB10
Right from the start it was clear that SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film, from Albert R. Broccoli's EON Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Sony Pictures Entertainment, would be a Bond film for car enthusiasts. This is an exclusive article written by our man in Australia, Stuart Kortekaas, the first Australian to ever study a MA automotive design degree in Sweden.

When the title of the movie was first announced to the world on 4th December 2014, at a presentation held on the 007 Stage at Pinewood Studios, before Director Sam Mendes introduced the latest Bond girls, or even who would be playing the villain, he first revealed the car Bond would drive.

This of course was not just any car, but the DB10, a new Aston Martin developed specifically for the film. “It’s never been done like this before,” said Aston Martin Chief Creative Officer Marek Reichman, when interviewed by Business Insider. “For a movie character to have a major manufacturer create a car just for him is really quite special.” Daniel Craig, the current actor to play 007, commented in a recent ITV special on SPECTRE, “We’re just incredibly fortunate. It’s unique, and it feels right. It looks like a James Bond car, and it’s got a few secrets.”

Interestingly this was not the car Bond was originally intended to drive in SPECTRE. When Sam Mendes and Producer Barbara Broccoli visited Marek Reichman at Aston Martin’s Design Studio, according to Business Insider, they were there to look at a production model Aston had been preparing for the movie. A sketch on the studio wall however caught Mendes’ eye. When asked about this Reichman told the Director that the car in the sketch didn’t exist yet. Mendes responded by asking, “Great, could we make that just for James Bond?”

In total 10 Aston Martin DB10 were created, eight of which supplied to the production staff for the making of the film. Aston Martin Chief Executive Officer Andy Palmer describes it as, “The most exclusive DB ever.” Chris Corbould, SPECTRE Special Effects Supervisor, and Neil Layton, Action Vehicles Technical Coordinator, explained that some were ‘hero’ Astons, kept in pristine condition for Daniel Craig to be seen getting in and out of, while two were ‘stunt cars’ with roll cages fitted for the high speed drifting and jump scenes, and two were developed into ‘gadget cars’.

While SPECTRE was filmed in a range of glamorous locations globally, including the remote Austrian alps and Morocco, like Bond himself the majority of the cars featured in the film are quintessentially British: the bad guys drive Jaguar and Land Rover cars.

In the official film trailer the Aston Martin can be seen racing through the streets of Rome at night while being chased by another distinctive and equally rare sports car, the Jaguar C-X75. As Sam Mendes commented, “I love the idea of this fantastic car being in a sort of one on one battle, with another incredible car from Jaguar, which is similarly extraordinary actually”.

Developed in partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering, the C-X75 was unveiled as a concept at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. Intended to be Jaguar’s answer to supercars from Ferrari, McLaren and Porsche, five working prototypes were developed before the company decided in December 2012 not to put the car into production as a result of the global economic climate.

While the appearance of the Jaguar has remained relatively unchanged, beneath the body work the vehicle has been substantially modified - several times - since the Paris concept car. As reported by Autocar, the Jaguar was originally powered by a complex system that included Bladon Jets omnivore jet turbines. This was replaced by Jaguar at the prototype stage with an plug-in hybrid powerplant. This included a 1.6 litre all-aluminium petrol motor developed in-house by Jaguar. Fitted with both a supercharger and a turbocharger, it produced impressive power for its size: 502bhp at 10,000rpm. The other half of this powerplant was an electric motor for each axle, powered by a 19kWh lithium ion battery pack. The combined power of this hybrid system produced over 850bhp, allowing the car to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in less than 3 seconds, to 100mph in less than 6 seconds, and have a top speed above 200mph. For filming however Autocar reported that the C-X75 was powered by a supercharged Jaguar 5.0-litre V8 engine – possibly for practical reasons as well as the distinctive sounds the engine can produce.

According to several accounts the car chase between the Aston Martin and Jaguar in SPECTRE is something quite special indeed. It reportedly includes driving past the Colosseum, and into the Vatican at 110mph. Dave Bautista, who plays the villain’s henchman Mr. Hinx (and drives the Jaguar) said, “It’s amazing, it’s one of those scenes that’s going to be very iconic I think. It’s one of those things you only see in a James Bond film... to drive the C-X75 supercar was like a dream come true for me. It truly is a beautiful beast of a car, that will go down in movie history.” Gary Powell, Stunt Coordinator for SPECTRE stated, “It’s pretty unique really.” While taking part in a recent Q&A he also commented that the most challenging stunt he did on SPECTRE was “Driving the Aston and the Jag down the steps towards the river. What was challenging about it was not the cars going down the steps, or the danger of us going into the river, but us not damaging the steps – as they are a few hundred years old.”

The official film trailer clearly shows that the new Aston Martin DB10 features gadgets, much like the iconic DB5 used in Goldfinger (1964) and Thunderball (1965) did fifty years ago. The appeal of the original Bond car to both young and mature audiences was echoed by Marek Reichman’s comment to Top Gear that, “Sam Mendes wanted this to be the poster car for every boy who watches James Bond for the first time”. When interviewed recently by Jonathan Ross for an ITV special, Christoph Waltz, who plays the lead villain Franz Oberhauser, said, “That car [The DB10] is, more or less, the car I played with when I was ten. You know, you could push the little rockets in the front and shoot them out, lose the rocket on the second day and blame your brother for it.. It looks a little different now, but I know that car! ...and of course, when the switches are mentioned, you’re overjoyed! You’re put back into lying on your side on the floor, doing that, it’s lovely.”

While the DB10 may feature gadgets, Daniel Craig hinted that the more realistic approach taken to the Bond movies during his time playing 007 will still prevail. In reply to Jonathan Ross’s question, “In your period of being the custodian of Bond, you’ve shied away from too many gimmicks, he’s never got silly. But I’m hoping we’ll see a few more in this new one. Can you reveal anything?”, he replied, “We haven’t shied away from it.. we want to embrace it a bit more.... These movies are rare. You’re very lucky if you ever get to make a movie like this. I just think that the more real you make it, the more the audience will believe it.”

Regarding filming stunts for real, when asked during the Twitter Q&A at what point does a stunt become too dangerous?, Gary Powell replied, “As yet I haven't come across as stunt that's been too dangerous to shoot. We are lucky to have a lot of technology at our disposal to make it as safe as possible, but common sense does plays a lot into this.”

For SPECTRE Land Rover supplied 23 vehicles, including specially modified Range Rover Sport SVR and Land Rover Defenders, and the latest Discovery Sport. At the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, where these vehicles were displayed to the public for the first time, Naomie Harris, who plays Moneypenny, said ”The incredible cars featured in the films have always been an important part of the Bond DNA. I’m lucky enough to have driven not only the universally loved and indestructible Defender but also the new and sleek Discovery Sport. I still can’t decide which one I loved more!”

David Fairnbairn, Head of Special Projects for Jaguar Land Rover explained, “Our everyday activity is vehicle customisation, tailoring for the customer’s needs. It just so happened that the customer this time was the new James Bond movie. EON knew about the Defenders because obviously we’d used them in SKYFALL, and they were aware about the Range Rover Sport. What they weren’t aware of was the Range Rover Sport SVR. They wanted us to be creative, and do what we do best, so we provided them with a number of concepts... we knew it was the right product for the right job.”

Dave Warner, Range Rover Sport SVR Lead Engineer said, “Once we knew we were going to be involved with the program we met up with Gary Powell and his stunt team, who are obviously the people going to be using these cars on set. It was great to get involved with those guys and understand what their needs were very early on in the program, in order for us to be able to deliver what they wanted.” According to Warner this included the SVR having even more power on snow, which surprised him, given that the car already has substantial performance. The fastest, most agile and powerful Land Rover ever, the V8 supercharged vehicle can reach 0-100kph in 4.7 seconds. But as Warner comments, “...when we saw this incredible chase scene in the Alps we really couldn’t wait to build something that’s just going to be so exciting to do."

The modifications to the Range Rover Sport SVR’s included fitting roll cages, adding new fuel cells, lighting and larger tyres. As Warner mentions, “[with] everything black it just had so much more presence than anything we’d ever dreamt of, it’s great! Being part of this whole film is incredibly exciting, and it’s something that’s so addictive to be involved with, you can’t help yourself, we’re all kids at heart. We love seeing that sort of thing, and to be able to build the cars that are going to do that is an incredible challenge and a really cool thing to do”. Gary Powell added, “The cars did everything for real. In 4 feet of snow.”

The Land Rover Defenders featured in the film were fitted with massive 37-inch diameter off-road tyres and enhanced body protection designed to tackle the challenging terrain of the icy and snow-covered mountain roads used for filming.

To promote the release of SPECTRE in France the Aston Martin DB10, together with several other James Bond Aston Martin’s (a classic DB5 and more recent DBS, as featured in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace) were placed on display at the Place de l'Etoile in Paris on 11th October 2015.

SPECTRE was released worldwide during October and November 2015. For a comprehensive list of global release dates, visit SPECTRE release dates.

Photos © 2015 Aston Martin, Jaguar Australia, ITV Studios Limited, The Littlespotters and Digital News Agency. All rights reserved.

By Stuart Kortekaas © 2015 From Sweden with Love

Editor's note:
FSWL contributor Stuart Kortekaas is an Australian industrial designer & photographer. A life-long James Bond fan, his passion for design was inspired by watching 'Goldfinger' as a child. Since completing a masters degree in Sweden he has travelled the world, photographing glamorous locations, exotic wildlife, and some of the world's most beautiful models.

For all news on SPECTRE featured on From Sweden with Love, click here.



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