Car Week, Redux!
I hope everyone had fun with Car Week back in June. I decided to make it a semi-annual thing, every June and December. For an added bonus, this first entry features both cars and cocktails!
Daniel Craig as James Bond, British government agent and gambler (aka “Arlington Beech”)
Montenegro, Summer 2006
Film: Casino Royale
Release Date: November 14, 2006
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming
Welcome back to Car Week, BAMFs.
Readers of the 1953 novel Casino Royale likely recognized this scene, which doesn’t occur about an hour until the film, as the true start of the book. In Fleming’s novel, it is June 1951 in Royale-les-Eaux, a fictional town in northern France. Bond meets with his Deuxième Bureau contact, the affable René Mathis. Mathis introduces him to the lovely MI6 assistant Vesper Lynd. The three order drinks – a fine à l’eau for Mathis, a Bacardi cocktail for Vesper, and an Americano for Bond – and discuss the mission at hand. For interested trivia buffs, the Americano is the first cocktail consumed by the literary Bond.
Fifty-three years later, Craig’s Bond finds himself in the same position, enjoying a lovely July afternoon in an outdoor restaurant. He has already met Vesper, rechristened as a Treasury Task Force Agent, and is charmed by the nut-munching Mathis. The three enjoy flutes of champagne as a drama orchestrated by Mathis plays out behind them. During the scene, Bond is all smiles. Why? Because he has a beautiful brand new Aston Martin waiting for him outside.
What’d He Wear?
James Bond steps off the train in Montenegro wearing a sharp dark suit that would have made Ian Fleming proud with its quiet elegance. Appearing dark blue at first glance, Bond’s suit – detected by master Bond sartorialist Matt Spaiser – is a mix of charcoal gray and navy blue that results in a subtle “charcoal blue” plaid that isn’t as dark or saturated as traditional navy blue.
The suit is worsted wool and, like the other Casino Royale suits, was made by Brioni. This is a very versatile and attractive suit that would look equally appropriate in a business office during the day or a high-end restaurant at night. Bond, being Bond, doesn’t wait until the night to wear it to a restaurant, where he looks a dapper gentleman downing several glasses of champagne in it.
The jacket is single-breasted with notch lapels and a 3-button front, worn with only the center button fastened. There is a welted breast pocket, flapped hip pockets, and a single rear vent in the back, all hallmarks of a traditional business suit. It is fitted with straight shoulders and a clean chest, but the sleeves are long and don’t allow much of the shirt’s cuffs to be seen in natural wear. The 4-button cuffs are surgeon’s cuffs, with Craig/Bond wearing the last button undone. Leaving a cuff button undone is a caddish way of showing the world that you have a bespoke suit and, yes, you can afford it. Some argue that this new development is a bit too caddish for Bond, but – as Vesper says – he does wear his suit with “disdain”.
The suit trousers aren’t pleated, but they aren’t necessarily traditionally “flat front” either; they have a darted front. Like surgeon’s cuffs, darted front trousers are indicative of bespoke suits and ease the trousers over the hips without the “billowing” effect that some men experience in pleated pants. The trousers continue down the straight-cut legs to the turn-ups (“cuffs”) at the bottom. Brioni places their trouser darts closer to the side pockets than other manufacturers; many manufacturers just place trouser darts in lieu of the pleats. His trousers are suspended by a black leather belt that fastens in the front through a square silver-toned clasp.
Bond’s shirt evokes both colors in the suit; it is pale gray poplin with light gray stripes. The large collar has a moderate spread and buttons down a front placket. The shirt – also made by Brioni – has double (French) cuffs, which Bond wears fastened by a pair of palladium-finished S.T. Dupont cufflinks.
These square cufflinks feature S.T. Dupont’s iconic “Diamond Head” pattern, which are found on many Dupont products including lighters and pens. Interestingly, the Dupont diamond head lighter was introduced in 1952, around the time the original Casino Royale book was written and published.
Bond wears these cufflinks again in several scenes in Quantum of Solace. The official model number is #5172 and more about the cufflinks can be found on James Bond Lifestyle. If you want a pair for yourself, you can dish out $296 for the real McCoy on Amazon, or you can save a bundle and order a pair of $50 replicas from Magnoli, who specialize in film costume-replicating.
The tie is a silk necktie with a classic English “macclesfield” repeating pattern of white and blue squares, tied in a four-in-hand knot. Magnoli also offers a reproduction of this tie for $60, offering both “modern” (straight-sided) and “vintage” (contoured side) styles, but the tie worn by Craig would be considered the “modern” option at 3″ wide. The vintage version tapers to 2.25″ wide, making a smaller knot than we see in the film.
Bond arrives in Montenegro with a very Fleming-esque navy blue raincoat with a subtle tonal stripe. I’m unsure of the maker, but Fleming often outfitted his hero in a Burberry coat, and this would not be an uncharacteristic choice for Bond. However, given Brioni’s presence in the film – and this outfit in particular – the raincoat is likely a Brioni item. The lightweight raincoat is a fine choice for a European summer day. It is single-breasted with three buttons in the front and a belt, but Bond wears the coat open. A flapped breast pocket slants slightly toward the center of the coat, and flaps over the hip pockets keep any potential items dry in inclement weather.
Bond’s shoes are a pair of black leather 4-eyelet plain-toe John Lobb “Becketts” oxfords. John Lobb’s association with James Bond was well-publicized when Lobb announced a partnership for Casino Royale. In most recent films, though, Brosnan and Craig wear Church’s shoes. You can currently purchase a pair of John Lobb Becketts on their site for $13,920. I will repeat that. $13,920. For a pair of shoes. Most college students drive a car worth half that.
Update! A very helpful reader pointed out in January 2017 that the price has fallen to a far more reasonable $1,750… essentially an 87% discount from the price I listed when I first wrote this post in 2013. Get your Becketts here!
While we’re on the subject of luxury items, the Montenegro arrival is one of the first scenes to show off Bond’s second Casino Royale watch, a stainless steel Omega Seamaster Professional Diver 2220.80.00 with a stainless steel bracelet and 41 mm case, a blue bezel, and a blue face. If you’ve got a few thousand dollars but not enough to buy an insanely expensive pair of shoes, check out Amazon and pick up one of the 2220.80.00s they’ve got available. If you’d just like to learn, James Bond Lifestyle has even more about this watch. Bond’s Omega is a self-winding chronometer with a co-axial escapement movement with a rhodium-plated finish. The sapphire crystal is domed, anti-reflective, and scratch-resistant, and the watch itself is water resistant down to 300 meters.
In prior scenes, Bond wore a “Big Size” Planet Ocean, a slightly less formal Omega Seamaster on a rubber strap.
Finally, Bond oozes cool behind a pair of Persol 2720 sunglasses with turtle frames and green lenses. This particular model is color code 24/31. Like the Seamaster, this is a switch-up from his earlier sunglasses, which were the metal-framed Persol 2244s. For more images and info, check out James Bond Lifestyle’s entry about these specs.
What to Imbibe
As I mention above, the filmmakers replaced Bond’s Americano with champagne for the scene. This is a forgivable choice, as it was likely a very delicious champagne, but the Americano sadly has been nearly forgotten in modern fiction. I certainly try to keep it alive, ordering Americanos at Girasole (a delicious Italian restaurant in the Shadyside area of Pittsburgh), but I could’ve used some help from Casino Royale!
The Americano isn’t for everyone. The main ingredient is Campari, a very bitter Italian apéritif. Campari was invented in 1860 by master drink maker Gaspare Campari. He had developed his liqueur years earlier, when he was 14, but it was in 1860 when he officially founded the Campari Group to market it. Until 2006, it gained its distinctive red color from carmine dye. Why did they stop using it? Carmine dye is derived from crushed cochineal insects, so… maybe 2006 was a bit late to stop making liquor out of bug guts.
Campari is often drank with soda, but it is also an integral part of cocktails like the Negroni, the Garibaldi, and – of course – the Americano.
The Americano cocktail is Italian, obviously. It was originally known as the Milano-Torino because of where the ingredients came from (Campari from Milan; Cinzano vermouth from Turin). Campari himself introduced the cocktail at Caffè Campari, his bar in Turin. In the early 1900s, Americans forming the early part of the expatriate movement found themselves in Italy, where they naturally ordered the regional cocktail to look cosmopolitan. Bartenders noticed the trend and the clunky “Milano-Torino” name was replaced by the “Americano”.
So what’s in an Americano? Chances are, you don’t have the sort of liquor cabinet that will yield the contents naturally. However, you’re reading this blog, so you do know a thing or two about being a gentleman, i.e. having a full bar. An Americano is made by putting a few ice cubes into an old fashioned glass. “That’s just a glass of ice,” you say. Just wait, there’s more.
Pour one measure of Campari and one measure of sweet red Italian vermouth over the ice. Add a splash of soda water and stir the ingredients together with half an orange slice to garnish. If you’re a more old fashioned type – as Bond would have been – you’ll add a lemon peel, with the lemon zest giving the drink an extra bit of bitterness.
Bond offer his own insight in the 1960 story “From a View to a Kill”:
James Bond had his first drink of the evening at Fouquet’s. It was not a solid drink. One cannot drink seriously in French cafés. Out of doors on a pavement in the sun is no place for vodka or whisky or gin. A fine a l’eau is fairly serious, but it intoxicates without tasting very good. A quart de champagne or a champagne à l’orange is all right before luncheon, but in the evening one quart leads to another quart and a bottle of indifferent champagne is a bad foundation for the night. Pernod is possible, but it should be drunk in company, and anyway Bond had never liked the stuff because its liquorice taste reminded him of his childhood. No, in cafés you have to drink the least offensive of the musical comedy drinks that go with them, and Bond always had the same thing – an Americano – bitter Campari, Cinzano, a large slice of lemon peel and soda. For the soda he always specified Perrier, for in his opinion expensive soda water was the cheapest way to improve a poor drink.
Drink this when you’re feeling adventurous. I don’t see it as an every day cocktail, but it sure shakes things up nicely. Plus, if a woman sees you drinking it, she will think you’re exotic and European.
How to Get the Look
Bond wears strong colors – blue and gray – for his arrival in Montenegro. Strong colors are smart, especially when arriving in town for a high-stakes poker game when all eyes will be watching you. If Bond showed up in a pale pink polo and rumpled Dockers, I don’t think Le Chiffre would’ve been weeping blood about it.
- Charcoal blue worsted wool Brioni suit, consisting of:
- Single-breasted jacket with notch lapels, 3-button front, welted breast pocket, flapped hip pockets, 4-button surgeon’s cuffs, and single rear vent
- Darted-front straight-leg trousers with side pockets and turn-ups/cuffs
- Pale blue gray-striped poplin dress shirt with moderate spread collar, front placket, and double/French cuffs
- Blue & white macclesfield repeating-square patterned silk necktie
- Square palladium-finished “diamond head” cufflinks
- Bond’s cufflinks are S.T. Dupont #2172, but Magnoli Clothiers also makes a replica version at a more attainable price.
- Black leather belt with a polished steel square single-claw buckle
- Black leather 4-eyelet John Lobb “Becketts” plain-toe oxfords
- Black dress socks
- Omega Seamaster Professional Diver 2220.80.00 with a blue bezel and face on a stainless 41mm case and bracelet
- Persol 2720 sunglasses (color code 24/31)
- Navy blue tonal-striped single-breasted 3-button belted raincoat with “cran necker” lapels, flapped breast pocket, and flapped hip pockets
Many Bond fans were excited about the return of the DB5, first issued to Bond in Goldfinger more than forty years earlier. However, car enthusiasts were lining up to catch a glimpse of Aston Martin’s latest grand tourer, the 2007 Aston Martin DBS V12.
Craig’s DBS V12 is the spiritual successor to Connery’s DB5. As the first car issued to Bond on screen, the DB5 set a gold standard for Bond’s gadget cars, complete with machine guns, an oil slick, and an ejector seat. (I must be joking.)
The first car we see Craig driving in Casino Royale is a Ford Mondeo. Let’s forget about that for a second. While still in the Bahamas, Bond wins “a beautiful 1964 Aston Martin” from terrorist Dimitrios, a left-hand-drive tribute to his wheels in Goldfinger and Thunderball. This, as we can believe from Skyfall, is the personal car of Craig’s Bond. Thus, his first MI6-issued car is the ’07 DBS V12. This car had less frills than the DB5, with a glovebox defibrillator standing as the car’s lone gadget.
Although audiences first saw the Marek Reichman-designed DBS V12 in Casino Royale, released in the fall of 2006, it wasn’t until nearly a year later when the car was officially unveiled at the 2007 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on August 16, 2007. The car gleamed in a brand new color, a blue-tinted graphite gray called “Casino Ice”, further recalling the car’s use in the film. The car wasn’t officially delivered to customers – the sort of customers who buy $14,000 shoes, mind you – until the first quarter of 2008.
Customers weren’t disappointed. The 5935cc 48-valve V12 engine from the DBR9 and DBRS9 received extensive modifications to produce the 510 horsepower “6.0-litre” engine in the new DBS. (That’s nearly three times the amount of power my first car, a 1992 Plymouth Acclaim, offered.) The V12, which has a compression ratio of 10.9:1, also includes an active bypass valve which opens above 5500 rpm, allowing more air into the engine to increase performance. In case you don’t know what I mean by “increased performance”, consider the DBS V12’s track times of 4.3 seconds from 0-62 mph and a top speed of 191 mph. The optional six-speed automatic “Touchtronic” transmission decreases top speed to 183 mph, but James Bond doesn’t drive an automatic transmission. In fact, there was even a series of nasty rumors at the time of filming that Daniel Craig couldn’t drive a manual transmission. The rumors were spread by pro-Brosnan-ists who couldn’t conceive of a blonde-haired man in the role. These Brosnanites (I like that term better) failed to realize that Daniel Craig is English and that almost all cars in Europe are equipped with manual transmissions. Needless to say, Craig had no problem driving the manual transmission on Bond’s DBS V12.
2007 Aston Martin DBS V12
Body Style: 2+2 grand tourer
Layout: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive (RWD)
Engine: 5.9 L 48-valve V12
Power: 510 hp (380 kW; 517 PS) @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 570 lb·ft (420 N·m) @ 5750 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Wheelbase: 107.9 inches (2741 mm)
Length: 185.9 inches (4722 mm)
Width: 75 inches (1905 mm)
Height: 50.4 inches (1280 mm)
As Zachary Taylor’s death proved, all badass things must come to an end. Bond’s DBS V12 meets an untimely demise when it flips somewhere between 800 and 64,000 times after running off the road during a chase with Le Chiffre. Since the DBS V12 was so rare at the time, given that it technically didn’t even exist yet, the car chase featured an Aston Martin DB9 modified to resemble the DBS V12 and reinforced to withstand the impact. Adam Kirley, the badass stunt driver who actually performed the stunt, had an air cannon placed behind the driver’s seat, propelling the car into a roll at the precise moment of impact. The car was driven off an 18-inch ramp at Millbrook Proving Grounds and, at more than 70 mph, the DB9 rotated seven times during filming, confirmed by the Guinness Book of Records as a new world record. While Craig certainly looks like a BAMF driving the car, it is BAMF driver Adam Kirley who deserves much credit for this harrowing stunt.
Bond’s registration plates were TT-378-20, for any trivia fans out there who already knew the bit about the Americano.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie.
Vesper: Am I going to have a problem with you, Bond?
Bond: No. Don’t worry, you’re not my type.
For a great in-depth breakdown of this suit, visit Matt Spaiser’s examination on The Suits of James Bond.
A very cool Bond fan recreated Bond’s “Arlington Beech” passport that he refers to in this scene.