Nicolas Stecher jumped in the Aston Martin DBS Volante Carbon Edition to find out why Mr. Bond loves his Astons so. With 510 horsepower and a 190 mph top speed growling forth from its 5.9-liter V-12, that should seem obvious. But despite — or perhaps, even because of — its many quirks, the car belongs to Bond unlike any other. All photos taken exclusively by Robert Kerian.

James Bond has employed the services of many a car in his illustrious career, careening from submersible Lotus Elise S1 to mobile phone-driven BMW 750iL to Bentley Mark IV with the same careless bravado that he swaps paramours. But unlike his endless romantic parades, 007’s automotive heart — and those of his fanbase — devotedly belongs to the exotic, yet ever-so-British, Aston Martin.

It is a love affair that began in the third installment of the franchise, Goldfinger, when James is first introduced to the DB5 by a rather condescending Q. There the surly gadget master takes 007 through the litany of weaponized accessories and tools of evasion that he has installed in the gorgeous GT: revolving number plates, oil slick, smokescreen, twin rifles that pop from the headlights, Ben Hur-style tire slashers. Production Designer Sir Ken Adam and Special Effects Supervisor John Steers stuffed so many outlandish gadgets into the two-seater that, literally, the movie could not contain them all. Had the script allowed, one would have also seen James enjoy a radar dish in the mirrors, exploding nail dispensers, a weapons tray and even (gasp!) a car phone hidden in the handrest. Luckily for Bond, the DB5 did famously keep its passenger eject button hidden in the gear shift — perfect for jettisoning an abductor while avoiding Chinese soldiers blessed with the marksmanship of drunken rednecks. But I digress.

What no one could predict in those naïve early years of franchise filmmaking was just what an effect that singular car might have. Despite being hesitant to even give the producers a vehicle, once Goldfinger hit screens Aston Martin’s DB5 became the most successful commercial tie-in of all time, its beloved Corgi Toys miniature cars — complete with ejecting seat and figure, naturally — selling more toys than AM has sold cars in its lifetime. The public outcry for the DB5 was so great that the actual car went on a public tour for years, and remains the most beloved of all the Bond cars. In the world of product placement, it makes E.T.’s Reese’s Pieces look like the Mountain Dew Decepticon in Transformers.

Hit the Jump to continue reading Diamonds Are Forever: James Bond’s Neverending Love Affair With Aston Martin, including extra gallery of exclusive images…