Happy 90th birthday to Sir Sean Connery, the tough and debonair Scot who was the first actor to play James Bond. Arguably, he was the best do ever don the suit and Walther PPK.
Born on August 25, 1930, Connery was once one of Hollywood’s most sought-after leading men, and it was as Bond that he made his mark. Although the first 007 car that most people think of is the iconic Aston Martin DB5, it wasn’t the first car that Connery drove on screen as Bond. That would be a 1957 Chevy, believe it or not, which he used as a getaway car in the early moments of the 1962 Bond debut film Dr. No.
The first real Bond car—one the British Secret Service agent didn’t commandeer—was a powder blue 1961 Sunbeam Alpine II ... Read the full article on Hagerty.com:
The hearse in the chase is a 1939 LaSalle. I had one in high school in the early '70. I can tell you with great certainty that there's no way that could keep up to a more nimble car. Then again, there appears to be a lot of play in the steering in that Sunbeam. Also, note that the car in the chase is not the same as the one going down the embankment. I'm not exactly sure what it is but the headlights are in the fenders, which implies 1940 and later. I'm glad they didn't destroy a LaSalle.
Bond-nut here... Actually, the first 007 actor was Barry Nelson as James Bond, in a 1954 television version of Casino Royale. Peter Lorre was Le Chiffre.
Fleming's early sale of that story was why EON Productions couldn't touch it for decades, even after the 1967 spoof version.
At least it got a proper treatment in 2006.
Bond's own personal car in the novels was a supercharged Bentley, much like the one you recently featured.
Did you know that the Sunbeam Alpine was originally a collaborative effort between Rootes (Sunbeam's parent company) and Armstrong Siddeley (the luxury car manufacturer)? It was originally code named the RAS for Rootes/Armstrong Siddeley. Rootes designed it and Armstrong Siddeley assembled it. In 1960, I was an apprentice in the Armstrong Siddeley road test department and I got to drive Alpines from the production line to the road test department, an exciting job for a 19-year-old.
Anyone notice they went around the same curve twice? At 0:34 and 0:42, but I love the grin on Bond's face! The Alpine would have been like a gazelle escaping from a hippopotamus in real life.
After school (at home) ended for the summer, my daughters and I watched a Bond-movie-a-night for almost a month, all in chronological order. (Got the entire collection on DVD.) Now I'm going to have to pull out "Dr. No" and look at that scene again.
The problem with era older cars is all the extra fuel lines they had running all through the car. It seems like as soon as they leave the road, one of the lines pops off and the entire car is in flames way before they hit the bottom of the cliff. Thank goodness modern auto safety measures have done away with that.
Barry Nelson was the first actor to play Bond, in a 1954 TV adaptation of Casino Royale. And the Alpine was actually owned by Dr. Strangways, a scientist and MI6 operative in Jamaica who is killed in the opening scene of the movie.
In the movie, Butterfield 8; starring Liz Taylor and a red/black Alpine, road construction was again a deciding factor in a chase/action scene. Only this time it was at the end of the movie and the Alpine and Liz were done-in. Sorry about the spoiler.
Just wanted to share two items of trivia. One item the Hagerty clip cuts out and most re-airings of the movie either cut, and one item that happens so quick its missed by most:
1) The Alpine that Bond drives is a rental from the hotel where Bond is staying. In the movie, Bond casually orders it from the front desk as he is passing by after return to his hotel from that days activities, which included making a dinner date with Miss Taro. The rental request is so casual and quick most movie viewers don't notice.
2) After the fiery crash scene and the cheeky line, the movie picks up with Bond approaching the uphill villa of Miss Taro in the Alpine. But the engine is acting up and Bond abandons the Alpine along the road before reaching the villa. Most movies cut out this part and instead pickup with Bond approaching the villa on foot, but within a few steps of the front door. When quizzed by a surprised-to-see-him Miss Taro about his car, Bond responds: " . . . the engine conked out." A part that I and, I'm sure, the now defunct Rootes Group are glad has been cut out of the movie.
BTW - I have owned a Sunbeam Alpine Series II (1962 red/black) since the early 80's. I brought it home in two car loads - a true "basket case." I spent just over a year restoring it. Forty years later, its back in the shop being re-restored. This time by a professional.