Sir Sean Connery, quintessential James Bond, passes away

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 31 Oct 2020

Sir Sean Connery, who is known to be the best actor to have portrayed James Bond in the EON-produced films, passed away today. Born on August 25, 1930, he was ninety. As the suave and sophisticated secret agent, he seamlessly essayed the role of 007 in seven Bond films.

Sir Sean, who starred in seven Bond films – Dr No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever, and Never Say Never Again, was the first Bond who brought the cinema screen alive with his charisma and depiction of the world’s least secret secret agent. Nattily dressed, with a wry sense of humour, he also drove a number of snazzy, gadget-laden cars. 

Dr Andy Palmer, former CEO of Aston Martin, tweeted: “Sir Sean Connery, the very definition of James Bond and Aston Martin. THE quintessential 007; RIP. It was an honour to have known you. You will be truly missed!"

“The name’s Bond... James Bond”
James Bond movie producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said in a tweet: “We are devastated by the news of the passing of Sir Sean Connery. He was and shall always be remembered as the original James Bond whose indelible entrance into cinema history began when he announced those unforgettable words — “The name’s Bond... James Bond” — he revolutionised the world with his gritty and witty portrayal of the sexy and charismatic secret agent. He is undoubtedly largely responsible for the success of the film series and we shall be forever grateful to him.”

Every Bond movie bristles with diabolic plots, speedy cars equipped with some 'refinements'. Connery drove the Sunbeam Alpine Series II in Dr No (1962) and moved on to a Bentley Mark IV in From Russia With Love (1963). In 1964, he was at the wheel of the car that epitomised Bond – the Aston Martin DB5 in Goldfinger and a year later in Thunderball. Fifty-four years later, this particular DB5 was sold at a Sotheby’s auction for a record $6.4 million.

Connery’s Aston Martin DB5 was built specifically for Eon Productions and outfitted with legendary MI6 Q Branch-specified gadgetry from Q's bag of tricks – machine guns, a bullet-proof shield, a tracking device, revolving number-plates, a removable roof panel, an oil slick sprayer and nail spreader and smoke screen, all of which are controlled from switches in the centre armrest.

In 1967, for You Only Live Twice, which was shot in Japan, Sir Sean drove the Toyota 2000 GT convertible. The producers discovered the burly actor was too tall (at 6 feet 2 inches) to squeeze comfortably into its cosy confines, a problem they solved by simply sawing the roof off to turn it into a terminally cool convertible.

Four years later, in 1971, he drove a Ford Mustang Mach 1 in Diamonds Are Forever, the highlight being a high-speed escape from the hard-chasing police.

This was one of the last proper American muscle cars before emissions legislations throttled even Detroit’s most massive V8s. With a 7.0-litre Super Cobra Jet big block motor breathing through a four-barrel Holley carb, the Mach 1 developed 375bhp and, far more importantly, a monstrous 450lb ft of torque.

In 1983, in Never Say Never Again (1983), Sir Sean drove a 1937 Bentley 4¼-litre Gurbney Nutting drophead coupe to a health clinic. The porter remarks: "They don't make them like this anymore." and Bond replies "Right. It's still in pretty good shape.", something he also says about his own physique in the next scene. 

Sir Sean Connery, the definitive Bond and a 20th century icon, leaves an indelible mark on cinematic history. Goodbye Mr Bond. You will be sorely missed. 

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