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Category: Design/Style

London pop-up spy room pays homage to ‘Goldfinger’ and Bond’s Aston DB5


For the majority of James Bond movie fans, “Goldfinger” still resides at or near the top of their list of favorites. Moreover, the movie introduced what has been called “the world’s most famous car,” the Aston Martin DB5 that would go on to appear in multiple films (not literally the same car, it should be said). Because of this, it landed “Goldfinger” at the top of our list of James Bond movies ranked only by their cars.

“Goldfinger” is celebrating its 60th anniversary, and to celebrate it along with Aston’s equally long association with the 007 franchise, the brand has created a so-called “House of Q” pop-up gathering place inside London’s historic Burlington Arcade, a stone’s throw from Piccadilly.

This glimpse into the world of Q, the head of top secret technology inventions and “creator” of the Aston, is open to the public now through August 4.

To access the “secret” spot, visitors enter through a door disguised as a magazine newsstand at House 12-13 in the fancy arcade. Once inside, they’ll find a speakeasy bar serving Champagne Bollinger that’s adorned with technical drawings and parts from the original DB5. The bar also features sketches and diagrams from Aston Martin and the EON Productions archives. There’s also a copy of the “Goldfinger” film script.


The DB5 — DB for David Brown, who owned Aston in the 1940s and ’50s — was launched at the Frankfurt motor show only a few months before the movie debuted. It was basically what we’d call now a mid-cycle refresh of the preceding DB4. It ran with a potent 4.0-liter engine and a top speed of more than 150 mph. Italian coachbuilder Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera created the look, and there are indeed Superleggera badges on it.

It can’t be understated how much of a phenomena “Goldfinger” was in the 1960s, with the following film, “Thunderball,” being a comparably big deal. The DB5 was in both and was used for promotional purposes, traveling the world and leading to the unofficial “most famous car” title. It’s hard to think of something that would supplant it. 

Marco Mattiacci, Global Chief Brand and Commercial Officer of Aston Martin, said: “Aston Martin and James Bond are two British icons, forever linked. We are delighted to be celebrating this important 60th anniversary throughout 2024, marking the continuation of what is cinema’s longest running and most successful product placement.”



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GM Design shows the Pontiac G8 that never was


We lost some pretty cool car models when GM closed Pontiac back in 2009. The Holden Commodore-based G8 sedan was possibly the coolest, what with its rear-drive platform and available V8 power. While we did get a follow-up with the Chevrolet SS, which continued with the Commodore base, at least until Holden was shut down, too, it seems Pontiac had bigger ideas for the big sedan. GM Design once again has shone a light on a never-before-seen concept car from the automaker’s archives. It’s a Pontiac G8 concept from nearly the final days of the brand.

The Instagram post notes that the show car was finished in 2008, the same year the production G8 launched. We only see it partially finished in the post, as well as some renderings, but it’s clear Pontiac had some big ideas for the car going forward. The concept has bold, vertical headlights and huge kidney grilles. The sides have a pronounced Coke bottle shape with the pinched section at the doors and the rising lines over the fenders. The fastback roofline hides a hatchback instead of a trunk, and the tail almost seems to take some inspiration from the Solstice and Saturn Sky models.

The interior reveals a dashboard that looks a surprising amount like that of the C8 Corvette. It has the same sort of driver-centric layout with a conspicuous barrier fencing off the main controls from the passenger. Only four seats appear, with a full-length center console dividing each side. It definitely suggests more of an upmarket grand tourer than a family sedan.

It’s interesting to see just how big a departure this concept was to the actual G8 and the SS, both of which were pretty much Holden Commodores with different badging. This show car looks like a more fully baked idea. It makes it seem like, in a world where the financial crisis didn’t hit so hard and GM didn’t go bankrupt, we might’ve seen the G8 develop into something all its own. Or at least, as much as a company dependent on shared architecture could allow it to be. Bob Lutz even suggested that the lowly front-drive G6 was considered to get a future generation on the ATS platform, so a more developed G8 would seem pretty reasonable.

While none of that happened, it certainly is interesting to see and wonder what could have been.





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Junkyard Gem: 2005 Honda Accord, Hello Kitty Edition


When you’re a young city-dweller and your car is a generic 20-year-old sedan with the base engine, what do you do? You personalize it, of course, and that’s what the final owner of this Accord LX did. An unfortunate rear-end collision sent this car to a Denver car graveyard, giving us an illustrative snapshot of a place and time in popular automotive culture.

This car began life as one of the more than 350,000 Honda Accords sold in the United States for the 2005 model year. It’s a dime-a-dozen mid-level DX four-door with the base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine delivering 160 horsepower.

It has air conditioning, a CD player with AUX input jack (a fairly rare feature in cars built before the late 2000s), an automatic transmission and a large helping of that legendary Accord reliability.

All in all, a very sensible car. But where’s the fun?

So, a shopping spree including pink spray paint, aftermarket accessories and many decals followed.

A not-so-fast but reasonably furious wing was bolted to the decklid.

When you’re a member of the Slow Car Club, you can be proud that your Accord doesn’t have the 255-horse V6 under its hood.

Inside, all the seats feature Hello Kitty seat covers.

Because genuine Hello Kitty wheels are very expensive, this car has regular 15-inch steelies painted pink.

Because all is not sweetness and cuddles in the Hello Kitty universe, there are spike lug nuts.

But did you die?

Break parts, not hearts.

One might apply this sentiment to the driver who crashed into this Accord and sent it to the junkyard.

It’s worth fixing a three-year-old Accord when this happens, but not so much with a 19-year-old Accord.

When you own a McMansion like this one, you require the low depreciation of the 2005 Accord LX.



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