Friday, August 24, 2012

Awesome James Bond Cars 


1995 BMW Z3

First things first. I don't really care for the BMW Z3, especially the early ones with the shitty four banger - although the body is elegant well proportioned.

And I didn't think an article about the Z3 shown in GoldenEye would be very exciting. My two favorite moments in GoldenEye don't have anything to do with the Z3. 

First, Brosnan is introduced to us while driving the iconic Aston Martin DB5. The DB5 (detailed here) sadly disappears after that.

Then, later on in the movie, Bond steals a Russian tank in one of the funniest chase scenes ever filmed. Bond even stops during the chase to adjust his tie!

The BMW Z3, on the other hand, doesn't do anything other than make an appearance in Q's workshop, then pops up again briefly later on. None of the cool toys put in by Q are used, which is a shame.

But if you look at the situation from a marketing standpoint, everything friggin' changes. 

Eon Productions had a difficult and rather thorny problem to overcome. Years of lawsuits had driven away Timothy Dalton as James Bond, and the film studio had replaced him with Pierce Brosnan. 

This was all well and good, but they knew from past experience that a new Bond needed a new car.

You handsome man, you

The British car industry was in absolute shambles in the early 90s, so BMW stepped up to the plate. BMW had deep pockets and a healthy enthusiasm to put their new roadster in a Bond film.

GoldenEye was the kickoff campaign for BMW's first mass-market roadster, and the only car they'd ever built outside of Germany. 

The Z3 was kept under tight wraps until the film was released  and the gamble for BMW was a monster success. 300,000 Z3 roadsters were sold almost immediately...and BMW had cemented a new car into the minds of moviegoers permanently.

The Z3 was penned by Joji Nagashima and developed on top of the popular E36, although the Z3 uses a much less sophisticated suspension set-up. 

The engine - a 1.9 liter straight-four - was a major disappointment to car buyers, and a much more powerful straight-six was introduced in 1997. The bland interior was upgraded as well, fortunately, along with traction control and roll-over protection.

James Bond's Z3, however, was another matter altogether.

Q equipped the bulletproof car with a self-destruct system, Stinger missiles behind the headlamps, and an emergency parachute braking apparatus. 

Unfortunately for us, none of this technology is used in GoldenEye.

This article wasn't very exciting, I'm afraid. 

But it does lay the interesting groundwork for the next two Bond film articles that feature a new BMW. So there is that.

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