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5 Most Iconic James Bond Rides (& 5 That Completely Missed The Mark)

Bond cars (and Bond Girls ) are almost as famous as the man himself, and they deserve a share of the spotlight. Agent 007 relies on his cars, and the gadgets they have been equipped with, to survive in the dangerous world of international espionage.

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Bond has had his share of…um… partners over the years, and tossed aside even more mechanical companions. Many of the rides 007 drives are part of a brand relationship or product placement. Sometimes that made for a great marriage and in many cases, it left audiences wishing for an annulment.

Read on for a list of 5 of the best Bond cars, and 5 confusing choices.

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10 Iconic: Toyota 2000GT

This car shows up more than once to save Bond in the film You Only Live Twice. Although it is not Bond’s car in the movie, it earns a spot on this list by being one of the most iconic Toyota vehicles ever made, and an even more special example of the model made just for the movie.

The car featured in the film is actually a modified version of the 2000GT, which is normally a hardtop. Sean Connery was too tall to fit in the roofed version, so Toyota cut the top off, making it possible for Bond to quickly get into the car while dodging bullets. There is no better ride for Bond to be screeching around Japan in than the 2000GT, even if he is in the passenger seat.

9 Miss: AMC Hornet

This car barely made the bad list, because it performed one of the more special stunts in Bond film history. Bond steals the Hornet by driving it through a dealership window, chases a villain through town, and does a barrel roll over a River in The Man With The Golden Gun.

The car was chosen strictly because of its mathematically calculated ability to complete this stunt, rather than for its striking looks or outrageous capabilities. The spectacular stunt frankly deserves a more special car, it is disappointing that such a famous and iconic Bond moment showcases such a bland car. It makes us curious how much AMC paid to have its cars featured in the film.

8 Iconic: BMW Z8

While the Pierce Brosnan years were not the best for Bond cars, the final car in the run is fitting for the world’s greatest spy, as driven in The World Is Not Enough. Although the Z8 meets an unfortunate end, being cut in half by a helicopter wielding the world’s biggest flying saw, it is still an awesome ride, equipped with the usual guns, missiles, and remote-control capabilities.

This car should also be remembered for its appearances off the big screen. The Z8 played a prominent roll in 007: Agent Under Fire, which really ups its position in this ranking. This is the best BMW Bond drives, and it is one of the most collectible modern BMW’s to this day. No doubt, the Z8's current value is partially thanks to its Bond film heritage.

7 Miss: Jaguar C-X75

Although this car isn’t driven by Bond, it deserves to be near the top of the best Bond cars list. Unfortunately, that kind of credit can't go to a car that was never put into production. The C-X75 is a car Jaguar should have made, that would have helped bring the brand out of cliches associated with the British luxury mark.

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If Jaguar had made the C-X75 available to purchase, combined with its appearance in the popular Bond film Spectre, they may have had both a sales and branding success. Instead, people got excited about something that will never really exist. Although the F-Type is a great and exciting car, it doesn’t hold a candle to the orange beast we saw chasing Bond through Rome in the film. Jag would have seen rich buyers lining up for a limited run of the supercar, had they only made it.

6 Iconic: Aston Martin V12 Vanquish

Bond’s return to Aston Martin, after briefly flirting with BMW, just felt right. This car makes quite an entrance, arriving on a seemingly empty platform, the Aston Martin is equipped with adaptive camouflage, making it nearly invisible. Besides reigniting the love affair between Bond and Aston, the car also performs some great feats in Die Another Day, including sliding on its roof like a toboggan, before flipping back to its wheels with the aid of an ejector seat.

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This would be a great bond car based on its handsome looks and the noise it makes alone, but the 7-minute chase scene on a frozen lake in an Aston Martin is classic 007.

5 Miss: Caterpillar 320D L

Although it is used in an amazing sequence in Skyfall, this has to be the most ridiculous vehicles operated by Bond. In the scene, Bond is chasing a villain and uses the Cat for both protection from a hail of machine gun fire, and to pursue the baddy.

Then, 007 uses the excavator’s arm and bucket to literally catch the train and walks across it like a bridge. Bond also mercifully destroys five VW beetles in the scene, which is a nice bonus. It’s hard to call this excellent scene a miss, but this is one of the sillier Bond vehicle branding partnerships, and you have to wonder if Cat sold any extra excavators based on the movie tie-in.

4 Iconic: Lotus Esprit S1

No list of the greatest Bond cars would be complete without the Lotus Espirit, although two Bond films feature the Esprit, the more unforgettable is “Wet Nellie” from The Spy Who Loved Me. This car dives off a dock, folds away its wheels, produces fins, destroys a chasing helicopter and some frogmen with missiles, then drives back up onto a crowded beach, shocking the sunbathing onlookers.

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Those capabilities, combined with the Lotus’ driving dynamics and that classic wedge shape, make this one of the most memorable Bond cars ever. The car is now owned by possible real-life Bond villain Elon Musk, which only continues to add to its lore.

3 Miss: Ford Mondeo Mk IV

In Casino Royale, we see Bond briefly rocking one of Europe’s most ubiquitous family sedans. Although it is a top of the line model, this must be Bond trying to maintain deep cover or an unfortunate downgrade at the rental car counter.

An obvious example of product placement, as Ford at the time had heavy ties with the Bond franchise. Daniel Craig catches the eye of some attractive women as he pulls up to an exclusive vacation club in the Bahamas, one case when 007 captures the attention of the opposite sex in spite of his car rather than being aided by a ride equally as cool as the man himself.

2 Iconic: Aston Martin DB5

This should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the Bond franchise. The ultimate Bond car is, and always will be, the Aston Martin DB5. First seen in Goldfinger, this car has been featured in more Bond movies than any other and that is for good reason.

The DB5's British charm is a perfect match for the world’s greatest spy. Spanning decades of films, this ride is 007’s personal favorite and easily the most recognizable to fans. The DB5 is a special car on its own, add all the tech and tricks needed to thwart evil villains, and you have the Bond car with the most screen time and staying power.

1 Miss: BMW Z3

The BMW Z3 is a fine car, but the way it was featured in Goldeneye makes it the biggest miss on our list. This was Bond's first BMW and he barely drives it at all. The car's placement in the film feels like pure and obvious advertising, and the car does nearly nothing in the movie, aside from being driven to an airstrip.

This was a big miss for both the Bond franchise and BMW. When introduced to the Z3 by Q, the audience is told about all the many features the car has, including stinger missiles behind the headlights. Unfortunately, all the audience sees is a crude pop-up GPS letting Bond know his plane is arriving. In a franchise like Bond, the cars and tech are a huge part of the spectacle, and this was a waste of both.

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