‘Thoughts in a DB III.’

In the novel Goldfinger we are told Bond is given the choice of cars ‘from the pool.’ An Aston Martin or a Jaguar 3.4, we are told either of the cars were suitable. Bond opts for the DB III; because it has more gadgets and is ‘battleship grey’ one of Bond’s favourite colours by all accounts, given his Blower Bentley was the same colour we first come across in Casino Royale.

There the trouble begins with cars because the DB III according to Aston Martin was a competition car, the DB3, later an improved version was the DB3S. The DBR1 won the Sports Car World Championship in 1959 and the Le Mans 24 Hour race in the same year. https://www.amoc.org

   Given Goldfinger was published in 1959 it would have been written in 1958, thus more than likely the car Fleming wrote about was the road going DB2/4, however to add to the confusion there was a Mk III version of the DB 2/4. This car was road tested by Autocar in December 1957 with an uprated engine to three litres which produced 160 BHP and cost just over £3,000 in Britain including purchase tax at the time.

   Yet Bond could have had the Jaguar described as a 3.4 in 1958 we would presume to have been the XK 150S, in many ways a better car than the DB 2/4 MK III. The Jaguar had considerably more grunt producing 250 BHP and had four wheel disc brakes compared to the Aston’s front discs and rear drums.

   In the film Bond is equipped with the DB 5 with even more gadgets than in the book, and a lot more power from a bigger engine. Yet even then the E-Type Jaguar was surely the better car, especially in the lightweight form, the Aston would never have stood a chance. I saw Jenson Button drive one around the Goodwood Circuit last year crushing the opposition until the gearbox seized up. I equip my MI5 agent Rob Nicolson with an E-Type first in the second book of the series Nicolson’s Gold. goodwood.com/grr/event-coverage/goodwood-revival/2022/9/video-jenson-button-hustles-a-jaguar-e-type/  

   The toy maker Corgi made a big killing by modelling Bond’s DB5 from the film Goldfinger releasing their model in gold, whereas in the film of course it was silver or gunmetal.

   After Goldfinger Fleming returned Bond to his trusty Bentleys unlike the films where 007 keeps the Astons. Yours truly once owned a Bond Car, an Austin A 30 now I wonder in which book that one appeared?