Sunbeam Alpine: the first screen Bond car

The Bond legend wouldn’t be the same without the cars but while the best known of these is the Aston Martin DB5 that first appeared in Goldfinger, Bond’s very first car was the Sunbeam Alpine from Dr No.

 1962 Sunbeam Alpine series II roader (1592cc, top speed 160 km/h)

In retrospect, the producers of Bond couldn’t have picked a better debut Bond car even if they had planned it. The Sunbeam Alpine incorporated many of the trademarks that would go on to become vintage Bond. Like the agent, the car had British origins. The streamlined curves of the car as well as its status as a novel sports car also appealed to the audience who watched the movie. And it the viewers were amazed with the way the car looked, they were even more impressed with the way it handled in the movie.

The plot of the scene was similar to dozens before it and hundreds after. While on a mission in Jamaica , Bond is chased by three thugs and the combination of high speed and low height allows him to evade them by driving beneath a construction crane lying across the road; predictably, his pursuers are unable to complete the same maneuver and run of the road and exploding in a massive fireball.

The car used for filming, a 1962 Sunbeam Alpine series II roadster, was supposedly borrowed from an islander as it was the only suitable sports car on the island. This sounds improbable though when you consider that in the novel Bond also drives a Sunbeam Alpine, owned by Commander Strangways whose disappearance he is investigating; the car was almost certainly planned.

Production of the Sunbeam Alpine came to halt in 1968, seven years after it featured in Dr No. It is believed that there are less than 200 of these cars currently still in circulation.

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2 Responses to “Sunbeam Alpine: the first screen Bond car”

  • Richard

    My brother had a ’64 red Alpine when he was at the Univ. of Oklahoma. Don’t know what became of it.

  • David Leigh

    Nice cars but probably rather basic by today’s standards!

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