Daniel Craig won’t have to share marquee billing with the Aston Martin DB10, but the usual gadgets and an extended chase scene give the car a major role in Spectre, the latest James Bond movie. Aston Martin’s engineering team were integral in the movie’s timeline, going from rough sketches to fully functioning vehicles in only six months.
Aston Martin and Bond have been linked since the DB5 stole some scenes from Sean Connery in Goldfinger in 1964. When the team from Eon needed a car for their 24th Bond movie, they headed to Aston Martin’s headquarters in Gaydon, Warwickshire, UK.
“The team from Eon came over, Sam Mendes (director) and Barbara Broccoli (producer) asked what we had,” said Marek Reichman, Chief Creative Officer at Aston Martin. “We showed them the cars in our pipeline that weren’t on the road. Mendes saw a sketch of a future model and said he loved it, that it fit his thinking of the kind of car James Bond would drive.”
Eon asked Aston Martin for 10 DB10s, figuring that some of them wouldn’t survive filming, especially a lengthy chase scene with another concept vehicle, a Jaguar C-X75. The timeframe for producing the fully-functioning performance vehicles was tight.
“We took the sketches in April and turned out prototypes by September,” Reichman said. “It was a challenge to generate a series of working cars in six months. They had to be very durable, the cars are driven hard in stunts.”
The design team used technologies that Aston Martin has experience with, including a fully carbon fiber body attached to an aluminum chassis. But many of the manufacturing techniques were vastly different from those of true production vehicles.
“We used things like rapid prototyping and laser scanning, and we went directly from CAD to finished parts. Many components were machined, cut from solids so we did not have to wait for the creation of molds,” Reichman said.
Designing for a 007 movie required several other deviations from the norm. The DB10 was driven primarily by stunt drivers who are far more interested in tricks and performance than conventional safety functions or creature comforts. Features like traction controls and antilock braking were not high on their list.
“There was a lot of novelty in the development; we asked this car to do things cars don’t normally do,” Reichman said. “It had to lose traction, the driver was able to lose traction using a hydraulic hand brake. We also put a lot of development into the rubber in the tires and finding the right air pressure.”
Reichman wouldn’t talk about any of the customizations added by Eon and Q, though he noted that the DB10 shoots a 50-m (160-ft) flame from its exhaust. “We had to do a lot on the back of the car so it could shoot a jet of flame,” he said.
The interior was also altered to suit the needs of the world’s best-known spy.
“We had to work with them on the gadgets. We had to develop the interior to fit how James Bond would use it. We had to work with them to make it look real despite the added gadgets,” Reichman said.
Filming was tough on vehicles. Reichman noted that the weight of cameras mounted on booms and other spots on the cameras caused more stress on the body and frame than the rigors of stunt driving.
“Two hero cars will be part of the release publicity; they were undamaged,” he said. “A lot of the cars don’t have full interiors; they have cages and attachments to hold cameras. The ones that have been destroyed were not destroyed by the action but by the cameras hanging off them.”
While many movie fans will mainly remember the gadgets and stunts, Reichman is more enamored with the styling of the DB10. He noted that the DB5 in Goldfinger became a true icon for previous generations. He hopes that the DB10 will achieve iconic status for Generations X and Y, among others.
“In my thinking, it’s befitting what James Bond would drive, it’s got everything: it has power, it has beauty, and it’s a predator,” Reichman said. “If I liken this to anything, the front looks very much like a shark.”