GoldenEye – Bond’s Tan Suit & BMW Z3 in Cuba

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in GoldenEye (1995), standing next to his newly-issued BMW Z3.

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in GoldenEye (1995), standing next to his newly-issued BMW Z3.

Vitals

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, sophisticated British government secret agent

Cuba, Spring 1995

Film: GoldenEye
Release Date: November 13, 1995
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming

Background

Car Week continues with a second post of James Bond driving in the Caribbean, this time finding 007 “bombing around” Cuba in his sporty new BMW Z3. (Monday’s post featured the gray flannel suit and black ’57 Chevy in Dr. No.)

The scene begins peacefully with Bond driving his new ladyfriend Natalya around. Natalya lauds the Caribbean for its beauty with not another human in sight… just in time for Joe Don Baker to show up and brings that thought to a screeching halt.

What’d He Wear?

Brosnan’s Bond wears yet another Brioni suit for his pre-mission drive through Cuba, although this is much different than the gray and blue Brioni business suits worn earlier in the film. Made of a tan linen blend twill, this two-piece suit is perfect for a stylish man on holiday in the Caribbean. Bond is technically on a mission and not vacation, but the beautiful woman, expensive new roadster, and tropical surroundings might blur that line a bit.

This suit received an expert breakdown on Matt Spaiser’s blog, The Suits of James Bond; check out Cool in Cuba: A Tan Linen Suit for a more in-depth look. Matt explains on his blog: “the twill suiting is two-tone, woven with light brown and white yarns to effectively look tan overall.”

GOLDENEYE

See the subtle weave in the suiting?

The blend also offers the cool-wearing benefits of linen without the unsightly wrinkle. Lindy Hemming tailored the suit with a larger fit that is both contemporary to the mid-1990s and more comfortable in the warm Cuban climate as overly tight linen is uncomfortable and more prone to creasing.

Pierce Brosnan would sport a similar tan linen blend suit in The Tailor of Panama four years later as another cavalier MI6 agent stationed in – you guessed it – Panama. An earlier example of 007 in a similar suit would be Timothy Dalton’s tan gabardine suit in The Living Daylights. Dalton’s suit, worn during the first Morocco scene in the movie, is one of the few sartorial highlights of his two-film tenure.

GOLDENEYE

Bond reasonably hesitates before handing the keys to his new roadster over to Sheriff Buford Pusser Jack Wade.

Brosnan’s suit jacket is single-breasted with padded straight shoulders, roped sleeveheads, and a ventless back seen as he steps out of the BMW to greet Wade. The notch lapels have swelled edges and a buttonhole on the left lapel. The three buttons on the front and three buttons on the cuffs are all a medium brown. The coat also has a welted breast pocket and straight flapped hip pockets.

The trousers match the jacket with their generous fit, rising no higher than the jacket’s center button while still offering a roomy fit through the thighs and legs. They definitely have reverse pleats, and it’s reasonable to assume they are triple-reverse pleated like the other Brioni suit trousers in GoldenEye. The brown leather belt holding them up has a shiny brass single-claw buckle.

Bond removes the belt and cuffs up the trousers’ already-cuffed bottoms when he heads out to sit on the beach to contemplate life. This scene also shows us the on-seam side pockets and jetted right rear pocket of the trousers.

GOLDENEYE

Bond reflects on how difficult his life is. Oh wait.

Bond appears to be wearing two different white linen Sulka shirts in these scenes with only subtle differences in the stitching and material composition. His primary shirt, worn while driving the Z3, is likely a linen and cotton blend with a moderate spread collar – worn open with the top two buttons undone – plus a front placket and French cuffs. The French cuffs are a bit surprising to see in such an informal situation (especially with no tie), but this is Brosnan’s Bond, so what else would we expect? Despite this, we don’t really get to see the cuff links, and Bond’s sleeves are rolled up when we see him at the beach. The beach shirt may or may not be different, but it appears to be more lightweight and probably all-linen.

I can just imagine the argument between Bond and Natalya as he packs. “What do you need two white linen shirts for?” asks Natalya. “The all-linen shirt is for sitting on the beach, and the linen blend shirt is for driving. God, get it right!” Bond screams before storming out of the room.

The brown leather brogues he wears in Cuba don’t receive much screen time, but they appear to be the same Church’s Chetwynd full brogue Oxfords in “walnut brown” Nevada leather that he wears earlier with the dark blue blazer in Monte Carlo. If these are the same shoes, then they’re a pair of perforated medallion cap toe wingtip brogues with six eyelets. The sartorially-inclined Brosnan is probably also wearing tan or light brown socks to continue the leg line from trouser to shoe, although the full break of the trouser leg prevents us from ever knowing the truth. More information about the GoldenEye Chetwynd shoes can be found on James Bond Lifestyle.

Bond also wears a cool pair of tortoise-framed Persol sunglasses, evident by the distinctive silver temple logos.

GOLDENEYE

Brosnan channels McQueen with his Persols.

GoldenEye gives Bond an Omega watch for the first time, although the film is the only instance where the Seamaster Professional Diver 2541.80.00 with its Omega 1538 quartz movement makes an appearance before Brosnan would switch to the 2531.00 with an automatic movement in the next few films.

The Omega Seamaster Professional 2541.80.00 in GoldenEye has a blue bezel on a stainless steel case with a blue dial protected by domed, anti-reflective, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. It fastens to his left wrist on a stainless link bracelet. The watch is water-resistant to 300 meters.

GOLDENEYE

A classy watch for a classy dude.

More information about the GoldenEye Omega can be found at James Bond Lifestyle, while Dell Deaton’s extensively-researched JamesBondWatches.com offers a solid source of information that identifies all watches from the Bond series.

Go Big or Go Home

…actually don’t go home, go to a beach.

GOLDENEYE

I have yet to enjoy a business trip like this.

Puerto Rico filled in for “Cuba” with Bond and Natalya enjoying their daytime drive and nighttime tryst near the Laguna Tortuguero Nature Reserve in Vega Baja.

How to Get the Look

The perfect blend of style and comfort was always key for casual attire when it came to Pierce Brosnan’s Bond, and this outfit – with its linen blend suit and shirt – is no exception.

  • Tan linen blend twill Brioni two-piece suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted jacket with notch lapels, 3-button front, welted breast pocket, flapped hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, and ventless rear
    • Triple-reverse pleated low rise trousers with belt loops, on-seam side pockets, jetted right rear pocket, and turn-ups/cuffs
  • White linen/cotton Sulka dress shirt with spread collar, front placket, and double/French cuffs
  • Brown leather belt with brass single-claw buckle
  • Walnut brown Nevada leather Church’s Chetwynd full brogue oxford shoes
  • Light brown dress socks
  • Persol tortoise-framed sunglasses
  • Omega Seamaster Professional Diver 2541.80.00 with stainless steel case, blue dial, blue bezel, stainless link bracelet, and 300M Omega 1538 Quartz precision movement

Iconic Alternatives has a great rundown of affordable options to channel elements of this, such as the tortoise sunglasses, and many other 007 outfits.

The Car

Pay attention, 007. First, your new car. BMW. Agile, five foward gears, all points radar, self-destruct system and naturally… all the usual refinements. Now this I’m particularly proud of… behind the headlights, stinger missiles!

Bond receives his new car, for which Q stresses he does not have a license to break local traffic laws, early on in GoldenEye after he receives his mission rundown, but it isn’t until the beginning of the film’s final act that the BMW Z3 roadster is actually revealed. Bond only drives the car briefly before swapping it out for a plane in Cuba, but the car marks a significant shift in the already prominent product placement of the Bond series as things took a more continental European turn. 007 keeps wearing Swiss watches, switching from Rolex to Omega, but his solidly English Savile Row suits are now from the Italian fashion house Brioni and the iconic Aston Martin is now replaced by German BMWs.

GOLDENEYE

Bond bombs around the Cuban countryside in style, driving a car that wouldn’t even be announced for another two months.

Although the car itself didn’t win many accolades among serious automotive fans, the BMW Z3 was so heavily promoted for its status as the new James Bond car that it won the “Super Reggie” award for best marketing campaign in 1995 (under the direction of Karen Sortio) and sold more than 15,000 roadsters before the car was officially introduced. The Z3 had been a long time project for BMW; development began under Dr. Burkhard Göschel – a German name if ever there was one – in 1991. The following July, BMW Design Team’s Joji Nagashima designed the exterior. Development continued and patents were filed, and the BMW Z3 (E36/7) was officially announced via a video press release on June 12, 1995, entering production three months later for the 1996 model year. When GoldenEye was release two months later and sat at number one in the box office, sales for the Z3 spiked.

The Z3 was a breakthrough for BMW as both their first mass-produced market roadster and the first model to be manufactured in the U.S. The “Z” in Z3 (as well as BMW’s other Z-named autos) stands for Zukunft – or “future” – and it’s clearly a car that BMW was anticipating as their gateway to that future. It was originally introduced as strictly a roadster (E36/7) with two inline-four engine options, a 1.8L and a 1.9L. A 2.8L engine was added to the lineup in 1996, and the coupe variant (E36/8) was introduced in 1999; Z3 owners who wanted a hardtop prior to that had to order a roof to that would snap onto mounts. The Z3 received a facelift and revised engine options in 2000, and the car was discontinued in 2002 to be replaced by the BMW Z4.

The BMW Z3 is a light, nimble car that weighs not much more than 2,500 pounds, although the inline-four engine is hardly a strong performer. Bond’s 1.9L model, even fitted with the standard “five forward gear” manual transmission that Q was so proud of, would take at least nine seconds to accelerate to 60 mph… even longer than the relatively slow 8.5 seconds that the classic ’64 DB5 needed to hit the same speed. Compared to the 4.2 second 0-60 time on Bond’s Aston Martin DBS in Casino Royale, the BMW Z3 is a mere toy. (Pierce would get a more comparable car with the Die Another Day Aston Martin Vanquish’s 4.3 second 0-60, but the car’s “invisible factor” leads many to disregard it as a serious Bond car.)

GE8-CAR-Z3b1995 BMW Z3

Body Style: 2-door roadster

Layout: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive (RWD)

Engine: 1895 cc (1.9 L) BMW M44B19 16-valve I4

Power: 138 hp (103 kW; 140 PS) @ 6000 rpm

Torque: 133 lb·ft (180 N·m) @ 4300 rpm

Transmission: 5-speed manual

Wheelbase: 96.8 inches (2459 mm)

Length: 158.5 inches (4026 mm)

Width: 66.6 inches (1692 mm)

Height: 49.8 inches (1265 mm)

After more than thirty years of driving almost exclusively British cars like the Bentley, the underwater Lotus, and a litany of gray Aston Martins, it’s almost refreshing to see this new take on the agent driving something produced by another country. Arguments that Bond should be driving a British car are foolish; his watches have always been Swiss and even his iconic Walther PPK is German. Imagine Bond trying to conceal a clunky Webley revolver in a shoulder holster under his dinner suit?

Some criticism is a little more accurate when directed toward the small and relatively ill-performing BMW Z3, often written off as a “hairdresser’s car” to the point of being a joke on Californication. While it’s true that Bond would have some trouble evading a better-equipped baddie in his 1.9L Z3, it’s certainly fitting that 007 would drive an innovative new model for an easy drive in the country. It’s a good thing he doesn’t get into a chase scene, either; the small car is probably too weighed down by its bulletproof metal, stinger missiles, and parachute braking system to even approach its theoretical top speed of 127 mph.

The GoldenEye car has an Atlanta-306 blue metallic exterior and a beige nappa leather interior. The single exhaust tells us that it indeed carries the anemic 1.9L inline-four under the hood.

My uncle, who is neither a hairdresser nor a secret agent, purchased a 2000 Z3 3.0i with the M54B30 inline-six engine, offering a more respectable 228 horsepower and a potential top speed of 147 mph with its 4-speed automatic gearbox. While I didn’t have it anywhere near 147 (cut that number in half), it certainly was fun to drive, although my uncle has discovered that it is a wildly impractical car for Pittsburgh’s seasonal winters.

Yours truly (with my sister) behind the wheel of my uncle's Z3 back in 2007.

Yours truly (with my sister) behind the wheel of my uncle’s Z3 back in 2007.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

Yo, Wade. Just one thing. Don’t push any of the buttons on that car.

3 comments

  1. Roman

    “The all-linen shirt is for sitting on the beach, and the linen blend shirt is for driving. God, get it right!”

    That’s more like Archer than Bond, amirite?

    Like

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