Aston Martin DB5, Goldfinger (1964) Click for more photos

James Bond Cars

Aston Martin DB5, Goldfinger (1964)

  • Aston Martin DB5, Goldfinger (1964)
  • Lotus Esprit, The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
  • Aston Martin DBS - Quantum of Solace.
  • BMW 750iL - Tomorrow Never Dies.
  • AMC Hornet - The Man with the Golden Gun.
  • Aston Martin V8 Volante, The Living Daylights (1987)
  • Jaguar XKR, Die Another Day (2002) Picture: Eddie Jim
  • Renault 11 - View to A Kill.
  • Ford Mustang Mach 1 - Diamonds are Forever.
  • Russian T55 Battle Tank - Goldeneye

Wandering round the Bond exhibition at the National Motor Museum in southern England takes Chris Corbould back. Since first building gadgets as a technician on The Spy Who Loved Me in the 1970s, the Oscar winner has worked on 13 movies in the series, as Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and now Daniel Craig have played 007.

As special-effects supervisor for the past seven movies, it's his boy's own job to make 007's adventures look spectacular.

So Corbould is very familiar with the exhibits: the Renault 11 TXE taxi that hurtled along the banks of the Seine in A View To A Kill, the slick Glastron CV-23HT speedboat that went over a Brazilian waterfall in Moonraker, the sleek Aston Martin DBS that rolled spectacularly in Casino Royale and various other cars, boats, motorbikes and weird contraptions.

"I have a particular affection for the Aston Martin that was in The Living Daylights," he says of the V8 Volante.

"I was part of the team that made the skis that came out of the side of it.

"We shot it in an ice lake in Austria. We had four of them and we used to drive them onto the lake each morning before we started filming."

The Bond movies have included some of the most lusted-over vehicles in cinema history – some heavily modified for the screen, such as the white submersible Lotus Esprit S1 in The Spy Who Loved Me that came with fins, propellers, a periscope, mines, machine guns and missiles; others more recognisable such as the iconic Aston Martin DB5 that has appeared multiple times since Goldfinger.

But as memorable as all the car chases and stunts have been over the years, Corbould nominates a different vehicle when asked about the most challenging action scene to shoot in the Bond movies – the tank that Brosnan's Bond smashed through buildings and under archways while chasing a Russian colonel and his hostage in GoldenEye.

During planning for the movie, the producers and director Martin Campbell asked Corbould how they could make a motorcycle chase more spectacular. His response: get rid of the motorcycle.

"I said 'he's in the military [zone], why doesn't he take a tank?' That's how that whole tank chase came about.

"It was unique: nobody had seen anybody in an urban environment in a tank before. We used the basis that Bond was in the tank and could go anywhere, straight through a building, but obviously the car that it was chasing had to be restricted by the roads. That gave us a real good platform to do some fun stuff."

Corbould has another reason to be particularly fond of that tank chase.

"GoldenEye was very much a reinvention of the Bond films after a long lay-off of seven years," he says. "So it was a real mission for everybody who worked on it to make sure Bond was still relevant and the franchise had a future."

In terms of memorable action scenes, Corbould also nominates 007 being chased through the snow in The Spy Who Loved Me then hurtling over a cliff – to be saved by his Union Jack parachute.

"To me that is the iconic Bond moment," he says. "If you can get one or two of them in every film, you've cracked it."

When Daniel Craig took over the role in Casino Royale, his attention-grabber involved a stuntman barrel-rolling a DBS a record seven-and-three-quarter times.

Corbould says it wasn't an especially heart-stopping moment given the amount of meticulous planning that goes into every stunt in the film – each explosion, for example, would be tested 15 or 20 times before being filmed.

"We put in the mechanism [an air-powered cannon behind the driver's seat] for getting it over," he says. "We put enough steel in it – [driver Adam Kirley] was in like a steel box.

"Literally, it was down to the stunt guy. He hit it at exactly the right speed, he hit the button at exactly the right time."

Corbould does have a least favourite Bond car – the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish that became invisible through a reflective alloy skin and tiny cameras mounted around the vehicle in Die Another Day.

"I think we stretched the limits a little bit," he says. "I was not a fan of the invisible car and became a bit vocal about it.

"But that was actually based on a technology that was being explored at the time. So although it was a bit far-fetched, there was a basis in reality."

The latest Bond film, Skyfall, is in cinemas. The Bond 50 box set is out on Blu-ray now.