Inside 007's Garage: 1931 4.5-litre Blower Bentley
It's 65 years since Ian Fleming's published his original 007 novel, Casino Royale. Within its pages, Bond's automotive weapon of choice is a Blower Bentley. We found out more...
The world’s most famous spy has driven a wide variety of cars over the decades. Everything from a Sunbeam Alpine, Lotus Esprit, and a few BMWs have all helped James Bond serve Queen and country. However, his company car of choice has always been an Aston Martin… Right? The original 007 novel – Casino Royale – celebrates 65 years this year and in it 'our boy' James drives a Blower Bentley.
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In Casino Royale Bond is described in the opening pages of the book by his habits and his one true indulgence in life; his car. The 1931 4.5-litre Bentley was Bond’s 'only personal hobby' and a vehicle he had cherished since his childhood. He acquired it aged just 13 from a man who couldn’t afford to run the thirsty supercharged Bentley any longer. After some restoration, the battleship grey convertible was back on the road again with a Mr J. Bond listed on the V5. The car was then stored until the end of the Second World War and the now Commander Bond returned.
Bond’s trusty Bentley featured in three James Bond novels (Casino Royale, Live and Let Die, Moonraker) and was one of the last Blower models built.
The supercharged British brute was quick for its day with a top speed in excess of 120mph, something 007 exploited: 'Bond drove it hard and well and with an almost sensual pleasure.' Sadly his pride and joy was wrecked on the Moon Raker mission in an intense car chase.
So how did James Bond end up in an Aston Martin? He did stick with Bentley for a while, but when 007 author Ian Fleming received a letter from a fan insisting that the protagonist be given a more appropriate set of wheels, a switch was made to an Aston Martin DB3.
By the time the movie Goldfinger was ready for filming, times — and cars — had moved on. Ultimately Sean Connery drove a gadget laden Aston Martin DB5 and the rest is cinematic history.
Today, a 4.5-litre Blower Bentley is a rare beast with the cars that do come up for sale approaching £1 Million. As speculation builds around the next 007 epic, could James Bond be ready to return to his roots? Hopefully, it wouldn't end up like this scene from 1967 spoof film Casino Royale:
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1965 Pontiac GTO 389 ci Tri-power 360 hp 4 Speed. A true GTO, PHS Documentation. Finished in (E) Nightwatch Blue, (1) White top, (217-33) Blue interior. 1 of only 11,300 convertibles built in 65. Highly optioned; Power steering, Power Disk brakes, Power Top., Upgrades include; Digital Gauges, Wheels, 3/4 Cam, Electronic ignition, Power disk brakes, Tubular A arms, 308 Rear end, Retro Radio w/ Blue