Before Daniel Craig’s revival of the iconic character graced our cinema screens, Pierce Brosnan was known throughout the 90s (and early 2000s) as Bond – James Bond. The smooth and suave Brosnan seemed like the perfect fit for Bond – appearing in his first film GoldenEye, in 1995. The Bond films he starred in have been some of the most successful of later years, including The World is Not Enough (1999) and Tomorrow Never Dies (1997).

Brosnan’s first Bond film, GoldenEye, saw him star alongside the sporty, sexy BMW Z3, a nippy number that was produced in a US plant, by a partially German and English company (BMW purchased the Rover Group in the run up to the film) and therefore aptly reflected the continuing international quality of Bond’s adventures. Unlike other car-and-Bond pair ups pre-filming, BMW came into the Bond franchise as an equal partner in order to leverage as much publicity as possible for the Z3. Throughout the entire shoot of GoldenEye, the car remained secret and not so much as a stolen photograph was published, until the world premiere of the film on November 13 1995. The car was revealed to the press and became an overnight hit.

BMW was to continue to play a huge part in Brosnan’s Bond; in The World is Not Enough, a brand new BMW Z8 was used, complete with a host of suitably Bond-esque extras such as concealed rockets in the sides of the car. It also had a remote control and perfect navigation, which doesn’t seem so ultra-modern now thanks to GPS and SatNavs! Despite all these added extras, the car itself was merely the body panels of a Z8 attached to a different car underneath, the Dax Cobra V8, as BMW were unable to provide the real car in time for filming.

In 1997, Bond and BMW were also inseparable, but this time with the BMW R 1200 C Cruiser motorbike. During a classic scene in Tomorrow Never Dies, Brosnan (who is handcuffed to actress Michelle Yeoh) races away from their enemies on the iconic, slightly retro-styled bike across the rooftops of a huge Asian city. In the latest James Bond film, Skyfall, Daniel Craig’s opening ‘car’ chase could be seen as an homage to this, as he chases an enemy across tiled houses and market places in Turkey.

Stephen Jury


November 21, 2012