James Bond cars: the George Lazenby era

A look at the cars from George Lazenby’s single entry in the Bond franchise, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

George Lazenby’s brief tenure as 007 may not obviously appear to be a distinct era, but I’ll refer to it as such for the purposes of this series. The sixth film in the James Bond series features two main cars, the Aston Martin driven by James Bond himself, and Tracy’s Mercury Cougar, which has a more prominent role in the film.

Aston Martin DBS

Before even meeting the new James Bond we see his 1968 Aston Martin DBS speed along the roads near Estoril in the pre-title sequence as a red Mercury Cougar overtakes. It’s clearly supposed to be dawn or dusk, although the shadows give away that the sun is overhead and the colour graded in post-production to make it seem that way.

Arriving at a beach, Bond sees the Cougar parked up, and through a sniperscope sees that the female driver looks as if she is going to drown herself in the rough sea, he drives it onto the sand and stops closer to the water. Removing his dinner jacket and gun, Bond picks her up and carries her back to shore. That’s when he gets into a fist fight for his troubles.

Aston Martin produced the DBS between 1967 and 1972 as the successor to the DB6. It could reach a top speed of 160 mph, thanks to its 4.0-litre straight-six engine producing 282 horsepower. From a standing start it could reach 60 mph in 6.5 seconds. It also had a luxurious interior, with leather seats and a wood-trimmed dashboard and became a popular choice for celebrities and other high-profile individuals.

The fastback design of the DBS modernised the Aston Martin look and proved to be the final model developed under David Brown. After repeated financial problems he sold the company in 1972.

Later we see the DBS when Bond arrives at the Hotel Palacio and again when Tracy arrives at her father’s birthday celebrations. She notices the DBS in the car park. Before marrying Tracy, Bond parks the DBS outside a jewellers in Lisbon and walks in to buy a ring. While the shop still exists, and looks very much the same, the square in which it is located is now pedestrianised. And after the wedding the car is decorated with flowers as Bond and Tracy drive off for their honeymoon. Later, on the mountainous roads within what is now the Arrábida Natural Park, Bond stops the car at a viewing point to remove the flowers. As a 1964 Mercedes-Benz 600 passes them on the narrow road, we see that Blofeld, his neck in a brace, is driving, allowing Irma Bunt to release a volley of bullets from a machine gun.

Mercury Cougar XR-7

A red Mercury Cougar XR-7 belonging to Tracy makes multiple appearances throughout the film. Apart from overtaking Bond’s DBS early in the PTS, it is involved in the film’s big chase scene.

Having escaped from Piz Gloria, Bond is on foot in the village where New Year festivities are going on. While trying to keep a low profile a girl skates up to him. It’s Tracy. They get into her car, with the top up and skis attached to the back, and try to escape unseen. However, they are pursued by Irma Bunt and a number of SPECTRE heavies in a 1963 Mercedes 220S. In trying to shake the Mercedes they drive right into a stock car race on the ice.

The Mercury Cougar XR-7 was produced from 1967 to 1970 based on the Ford Mustang. The car’s combination of style, performance, and comfort made it a popular choice for both driving and cruising.

The 1969 convertible featured a performance-oriented design with a variety of engine options. Tracy’s car has a 428-4V Cobra Jet Ram Air V8 engine, three-speed automatic transmission and front power brakes. In 2020 the car used in the barn scenes came up for auction. It sold for a whopping £356,500.

Other Cars

In addition to the Aston Martin DBS and the Mercury Cougar XR-7, a number of other cars appear in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Apart from the cars mentioned while discussing the DBS and Cougar above, these include a Volkswagen Beetle, driven by Shaun Campbell, the MI6 agent who keeps an eye on Bond while in Switzerland.

Rather more prominent is Marc-Ange Draco’s convertible Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. Bond is forcibly taken to see Draco in this car, crossing the suspension bridge southbound from Lisbon and eventually arriving at a dockyard. Draco is driving the same car later in the film when he drops Bond off in Bern to break into the Swiss lawyer’s office. And when Bond arrives at M’s country house in his DBS we see a 1954 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV parked outside. The car was, apparently, built for Princess Margaret.

David Leigh founded The James Bond Dossier in 2002. A fan of 007 since the age of 8, he is also author of The Complete Guide to the Drinks of James Bond. You can order a copy here if you don't own it already.

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