2003 has taken off to be a sad year for the Bond cars. Although production of
007’s latest motor, the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish continues, I am sad to
report that a number of past favorites are set to be scrapped.
To begin with, the famous “Wet Nellie,” or perhaps more widely known as the
Lotus Esprit received its last orders earlier this year. The Esprit made
famous in The Spy Who Loved Me, after being driven into the ocean, and converted to a submersible, began production in the early seventies. Lotus sales rocketed after the success of the movie, and the Esprit went down in both Bond and motoring history as a classic.
The most recent Esprit carried an $85,000 price tag, and boasted a top speed of 175mph. It could achieve 0-60 in just over 4 seconds, proving that despite its age, the Esprit sill had what it takes to hold off some of today’s most hardened super cars. Although the classic shape of this Lotus has gone forever, the company have announced that a replacement will be released in 2005 that will be able to achieve an amazing 90 miles per gallon. Perhaps this is to be the most economical super car in history.
Released in 1996, the BMW Z3 is the second of the Bond cars cancelled this year. Although never featured in any action scenes, 1995’s GoldenEye, which previewed the Z3 to an eagerly awaiting public was to be the start of a hugely successful marketing campaign, tying the Z3 with the Bond franchise. A limited edition “007 edition” model was launched which sold out immediately. This 140bhp sports car will be replaced around the world by BMW’s successor vehicle, the 155mph Z4 roadster.
The third BMW to be kitted out by Q-branch for a Bond movie was the $128,000 Z8 roadster. Capable of achieving 0-60mph in just 4.2 seconds, the Z8 has been amongst the most exotic of all 007’s vehicles to date. However, poor sales have caused BMW to stop-production of the beautiful
Z8. Designed to appeal to American markets, the Z3’s “big brother”, did not live up to its less-expensive sibling’s success.
Tuning-brand, “Alpina”, will continue to produce a set of limited edition Z8’s, removing the BMW 5-series engine, and replacing it with another to target the car as a highway-cruiser. This move will be set to erase the confusion surrounding the exact type of car, the Z8 was. A track-day exotic? Every-day practical? Etc, etc.
Finally, the last car to be scrapped this year is the most recent. Die Another Day saw Bond girl, Halle Berry driving a limited edition “Coral” Ford Thunderbird. Sadly, as a result of bad-reviews, and poor-sales figures, the much-publicized T-Bird, will stop production later in the year.
Although all of these have left the modern world of production-sports cars, they will forever be remembered by Bond fans for their addition to the 007 legacy.