007’s Other Rides

I was sitting in our 2007 Aston Martin last night at work. Alone, with the lights appropriately dimmed after a long day at work. I did what anyone who slips into the leather- and wood-wrapped interior of an Aston Martin must do: I pretended to be James Bond. Albeit a slightly heavier set, disheveled James Bond with much less charm, to be honest.

Aston martin is synonymous with James Bond. The franchise has been intertwined (for the most part) for the past 50 years. Both are regal, sophisticated, dangerous and mysterious…and both wear their British heritage on their sleeves. I thought to myself: there must be other Bond cars. Lesser known cars. Unloved Bond cars. Bond can’t drive amazing cars all the time, he needs to show some respect to the taxpayers! Lets show some love to the lesser known Bond cars.

Car: 1962 Sunbeam Alpine

Movie: Dr. No

In the movie Dr. No (same name I called my dad when he would not let me do anything fun), James Bond drove this 1.6-liter 4-cylinder British sports car. Eighty horsepower, 2200 pounds of torque, top speed of 160 kmph, 0-60 mph in 13.4 seconds – respectable numbers. Small and nimble, these cars were successful race cars on both sides of the pond. Apparently, they used it because it was the only British sports car available during filming. Unfortunately, Sunbeam went through some hard times, was bought by Chrysler and saw its brand diluted to sad and offensive cars. RIP Sunbeam.

Car: 1969 Mercury Cougar XR7

Movie: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

This is what James Bond would drive if he were American. Its just as sporty as its Ford Mustang sibling, but more luxurious, mature and refined. Powered by a massive 7-litre, 8-cylinder engine, these cars were great for burnouts, loud noise and sketchy cornering. Imagine having a boat-anchor weight between your front wheels. These were built during the time where engineering a motor meant you needed to make it larger to go faster. If James Bond was American and Corvettes were scarce, this is the car he would drive. Mercury is also no longer with us because Ford went upscale and Lincoln got cheaper… paving the way for Mercury to throw in the towel.

Car: 1974 AMC Hornet

Movie: The Man With The Golden Gun

The 1970’s are widely regarded as the dark ages of the automotive industry. Oil embargo’s, recessions, 5 m.p.h bumpers, pollution control and people starting to notice shoddy quality all contributed to amazing cars getting neutered or snuffed out altogether. American Motors struck the deal with the filming company as part of a product placement program: “James Bond drives an AMC, so should you!” It really turned out to be, ”James Bond Drives an AMC, sucks to be him!” Like I said, these cars were not all bad, just a victim of current affairs. Ultimately, AMC survived another 13 years largely on the laurels of the Jeep brand. Chrysler bought them from Jeep, and folded the AMC.

Car: Citroen 2cv

Movie: For Your Eyes Only

Easily the car with the most character on this list, also my favorite. This was one of the longest production runs of any car 1948-1990. This car has existed in the same escargot form for 42 years and managed to still be relevant. The best part? The 2cv never made more than 29 horsepower. The 2cv has been used all over the world and was especially popular in Africa and South America where its solid build and comfortable handling was suited to rough roads in developing counties. Bonus marks for having a box style 2 cylinder engine that is air cooled. James Bond loves unique engines of all sizes! Citroen is still doing battle in Europe. They are doing quite well in there home market but the European economy has had its impact on everyone.

And there you have it. A brief history of the lesser-known bond cars as explained by a car enthusiast.

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YOUR ESCAPE FROM THE WORLD: MAN CAVES!

Man caves.

As far back as the Flintstones (my version of history) man has wanted a family, and a car. Cars are quite accommodating, they let us sit in them, jump in the back seats, eat in them and sleep in them. They are in a sense a traveling living room/kitchen/bedroom/storage room. Our cars are very nice to us in that respect and never tell us to wipe off our feet or not spill ketchup on the seats. Unfortunately, we are not as willing to let our cars into our living rooms. When was the last time you invited your car into the kitchen for a cold one? When was the last time you had you car over for a scotch and chat about world politics and horsepower? The answer is never because cars are not allowed to infiltrate our homes… only our souls, hearts and minds.

Lets talk about your man cave.

The man cave is the happy medium between bringing your car in the house and you spending all your time in your garage. After all, there is no place you would rather be than with your pride and joy- the automotive kind, not the offspring kind. In the past several years I have noticed an increase in Man Caves being created. People-both male and female alike are starting to invest some creative energy and money into there garage/shed/workshop/basement/wherever-your-car-sleeps-at-night.

What defines a man cave? In my opinion it needs some type of vehicle, some car parts littered around the area, a stool or two so you can be comfortable while you talk to your car and a fridge for cold ones. That was the norm for decades. Before man caves were called man caves. Now people are spending more time with their automotive brethren and are sprucing the places up a bit. It is not uncommon to see automotive inspired art hanging on walls, beer fridges shaped like tool chests and old kegs that have been converted into coolers. There are many cool ideas floating around for making a man cave yours. We will explore some of them. These themes are not just limited to a garage space either either.

Bathrooms:

Bar/kitchen:

Workshop:

As you can see the man cave movement has livened up our automotive haciendas and made them more fun to be in. They also act as a conversation piece.

The man cave is just as much about function as it is form though. You need to be able to get around and under your vehicles to do routine maintenance, a 1.5-2 car garage minimum is needed so you are not rubbing the paint off your car. You will need good lighting for when you drop small parts into the abyss that is your engine bay.  ready access to tools and any parts necessary, I recommend good ratchets, screwdrivers, and torque wrenches. If you have a newer car that runs off a similar system to the Hal 9000 from 2001 A Space Odyssey than you should probably invest in a digital computer scanner as well. Having internet access is important for times when you genuinely don’t know what you are doing. At this time it is important to convince those around you and yourself that you do in fact know what you are doing. You are simply going online to make sure you have the “right tools” to do the job. Jack stands are nice, an actual car lift will make you the envy of all the other cave men on the block though.

Whats that you say? You have trouble changing a light bulb and just need a place to escape to? Not a problem, the man cave is your oasis from the rigors of life. The Man cave is YOUR SPACE! Only you can go in there and play classic arcade Pac-Man by the light of your neon beer signs. Only you can go play Free Bird on Guitar Hero without need for headphones. Also you have an excellent singing voice…. When your by yourself. The man cave is your space to do as you please. It is your escape from reality and does not solely need to be about cars, we just recommend that is is. And that it has a certain automotive theme.

I have just given you a good rundown of how to setup your man cave for actual wrenching. The decor is up to you. I have merely provided some suggestions. Keep this in mind when setting up your man cave: The cooler the space, the more your friends will want to hang out and help you work on your automotive legend.