James Bond’s history with Bentley

James Bond’s history with Bentley

February 4, 2021 0 By 007 Travelers

The most famous car by James Bond in cinemas is most likely Aston Martin and model DB5, but in literature Bond’s first car was a Bentley and here are some models Bond has been using over the years.

In Ian Fleming‘s first Bond novel “Casino Royale” (1953), 007’s first car is a four and a half litre Bentley from 1933. It has a top speed of approx. 195 kilometres / hour. The car is badly damaged in a car chase in that book. The same model is also mentioned in next Bond novels “Live and Let Die” (1954) and “Moonraker” (1955), where the car brakes down. After that Bond gets the 1953 model of “Mark VI”, which he buys with winnings from a card game.

In “Goldfinger” (1959) book, Bond gets a company car, which is an Aston Martin DB3, but in “Thunderball” (1961) Bond has Bentley again. This time Mark II Continental Bentley, which has Mark IV’s engine. In “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1963) Bond still drives with the Continental Bentley and in “You Only Live Twice” (1964) he has a Bentley Convertible.

When Robert Markham (Kingsley Amis) wrote “Colonel Sun” in 1968, he also mentioned that Bond has the Continental Bentley.

John Gardner‘s Bond drove first with Saab in the 80’s but 007 bought a Bentley Mulsanne Turbo in 1984’s “Role of Honour“, which he still has in “Nobody Lives For Ever” (1986) and in “No Deals, Mr. Bond” (1987).

Raymond Benson also gave Bentley to his 007. In “The Facts of Death” (1998) Bond drove a Bentley Turbo R.

Sebastian Faulks wrote “Devil May Care” in 2008, but the novel’s story happens in late 1960’s. Bond has a Bentley Continental “Locomotive” car in this book. Jeffery Deaver mentions in his 007 novel “Carte Blanche” (2011), that Bond has a Bentley Continental GT V-12 with turbo engine in his garage.

In “Solo” (2013) by William Boyd it is mentioned that “Bond’s Bentley was out of action, having its gearbox replaced. The old car, much loved, and lovingly customised over the years, was slowing signs of its age and its rambunctious history and was beginning to cost him serious money just to keep it roadworthy. It was like an old thoroughbred racehorse – it’s time had come to be put out to grass. But what to replace the Bentley with?”

Bentley Continental GT V-12 with Bond author Jeffery Deaver

Also Charlie Higson mentions Bentley in his third “Young Bond” novel “Double or Die” (2007). Bond comes into possession of the Bentley 4½ Litre in the novel. He is implied to have bought the car and repaired it, and is seen driving it in 1945 and this is the one he later drives again in “Casino Royale” (1953).

The Bentley Dashboard 1924 taken from Young Bond book “Danger Society; The Young Bond Dossier” by Charlie Higson

In Bond movies Bentley has appeared twice: both times when Sean Connery was 007: First in “From Russia with Love” (1963) and second time in “unofficial” Bond-film “Never Say Never Again” (1983). In “FRWL” 1935 Bentley 3.5 Litre drophead coupé Park Ward and “NSNA” 1937 Bentley 4½ Litre Gurney Nutting 3-Position-Drophead Coupé.

Bentley and Sean Connery as James Bond in “From Russia with Love” (1963)
Photo © EON, United Artists, Danjaq, LLC
Bentley and Sean Connery as James Bond in “Never Say Never Again” (1983)
Photo © EON, United Artists, Danjaq, LLC

On 11-16th of June 2019 Jack Barley Bentley, the world oldest Bentley dealership, hosted free James Bond exhibition in partnership with Peter Harrington rare books. Here are some pictures of the exhibition taken by Chris Taylor. Thank you for the pics, Chris!

Also, see the brochure of the exhibition which was at the same place at the same time and which included an exceptional collection of 81 rare first editions of Ian Fleming’s Bond books here.

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