In 1962, James Bond drove into the cultural fabric of western cinema (and society) in a lake blue Sunbeam Alpine Series II. That first film, Dr. No, marked the beginning of a franchise that has spanned nearly six decades; that Sunbeam Alpine would be the first of a string of iconic vehicles driven by the dashing MI6 agent, a role then played by Sean Connery. In the 1963 follow-up, From Russia with Love, Agent 007 drove a vintage 1935 Bentley Mark IV.
While Bond has driven numerous luxury brands and models over the years, it was his third vehicle that has become affectionately known as “the Bond car.” In 1964’s Goldfinger, Bond sat behind the wheel of a sleek Aston Martin DB5 — which had been released just prior to shooting — and the car would go on to become the quintessential 007 ride with a second appearance in 1965’s Thunderball. Variously kitted-out versions of the DB5 have been featured in Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, Casino Royale, and Skyfall.
The upcoming instalment of the Bond series, tentatively known as Bond 25 (though rumoured, in February, to be given the working title Shatterhand and now seemingly called No Time to Die), is scheduled for an April 2020 release. It will reportedly feature not one but three Aston Martins. According to Motor Authority, these will include the iconic DB5 and a 1985 V8 Vantage, a model last seen in The Living Daylights. This cool retro ride was, according to the publication, recently spotted during an on-location shoot at Norway’s scenic Atlantic Ocean Road, as captured by footage from local news channel Dagbladet. Other vehicles glimpsed during the shoot were two modern Land Rover Range Rover Sports and a Toyota Land Cruiser, thought to be a European spec from the late 1990s.
The car that has everyone talking, however, is the Aston Martin Valhalla.
This yet-to-be-released vehicle has been termed a “performance-bred predator” by the luxury carmakers. According to Aston Martin, it will be a revolutionary mid-engine hypercar, “incorporating concepts and technologies taken directly from F1™ and inspired by Aston Martin Valkyrie.” The company also shares that the Valhalla has benefitted from the close involvement of Red Bull Advanced Technologies, a company born out of the competitive and technologically innovative arena that is Formula One, now extending its expertise beyond the racing circuit and providing technical and commercial solutions across a wide range of industries. Aston Martin proudly describes its partnership with Red Bull Advanced Technologies as “one of the brightest and most exciting engineering partnerships in the automotive world.”
The proof, as they say, is in the pudding, and the Valhalla seems exceptionally worthy of sliding into succession as the favoured mode of transportation for the world’s most famous spy.
Current specs promise a pronounced front keel and large rear diffuser, with the underfloor generating the bulk of the downforce. The British carmakers share that it will also benefit from next-generation aircraft morphing technology, which will create a variable airfoil across the entirety of the rear wing. The body is a 2-door coupé, with those doors designed in the dihedral (or vertical “butterfly”) style.
The Bond version of this sleek hypercar will no doubt feature plenty of bells and whistles to help Bond (currently portrayed by Daniel Craig) defeat this chapter’s villain (played by Oscar-winner Rami Malek). But when it comes to the commercially available version of the Valhalla, Aston Martin is taking special care to ensure that it is practical and suitable for road use, extending the “trickle down” of genuine state-of-the-art F1 technology into a road legal car while also remaining true to its uncompromising engineering ethos.
While we’re excited to see this devilishly handsome car in action, we hope that the name won’t foreshadow bad news for 007. In Norse mythology, the word “Valhalla” refers to the great hall of Odin, where the souls of slain warrior heroes were received. Then again, we can’t be entirely sure that Bond himself will drive the vehicle, as little is known about the upcoming film. (Though, as Top Gear points out, “putting a mid-engined hypercar into a James Bond film and not letting James Bond actually drive it is just all sorts of cruelty.”) And so we’re hoping that Aston Martin is simply carrying on its tradition of anointing its cars with names that start with the letter “V” as opposed to hinting at a poor fate for Mr. Bond.
The Valhalla made its debut at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. 500 units are currently slated for production starting in 2021. According to CNBC, they will hit the market for a cool $1.2 million USD.
Images via Aston Martin.