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Real Life Bond Cars?

bondcarOne of the neat features that you can expect in any good James Bond movie is a great set of wheels.  It just wouldn’t be James Bond without the Bond car.  In fact, it wouldn’t be Ian Fleming without the car, given that Ian Fleming also wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

However, cars tricked out with tons of neat features aren’t just from the movies.  We don’t yet have cars that can get invisibility cloaks or ejector seats but it is possible to get cars that might look normal on the top but are otherwise underneath.  Cars that are just a bit… well, I’m afraid that “badass” is about the only word, little as I like it (and even though the quality of being badass is nothing to do with substandard bottoms or donkeys).

Armoured cars or “personal protection vehicles” are more common than you might think.  Plenty of Hollywood superstars have them – they say that Kanye West has one that has electrified door handles to zap overly invasive paparazzi.  However, in the Middle East and Venezeula, you’ve got a combination of a bunch of super-rich folk and an unscrupulous underclass plus volatile politics and you’ve got a situation where kidnapping for ransom is likely.  And it’s not just something that happens in dodgy countries – it happens in the USA as well.  Heck, it could happen here some time.  For the oil sheiks and similar, a personal protection vehicle is a good investment.  It’s a good investment to the point that there’s even a company based in Texas (where else?) that specialises in customising vehicles so they have what it takes.

However, many of these badass personal protection vehicles aren’t the cool Aston Martins and Lotuses (Loti?) that you’d see James Bond drive.  Apparently, the cars that get done up most often are Toyota Land Cruisers and Lexus LX 570s.  In the case of the Lankies, it’s probably because they’ve got the off-roading capacity to go gnarly places in their day-to-day lives as well as taking evasive manoeuvres if needed.

The Texas Armouring Corporation (check them out at takes its job seriously.  Their job involves keeping the cars in question nice and luxurious while being as tough as nails – now, that sounds Bondish enough for me.  They also have to keep the handling of the car top-notch, although a bit of handling and performance will be sacrificed, as all that armour will add a bit of weight.  The job usually involves a total strip-down before the Kevlar, ballistic grade steel and other cool materials get added in.  Then comes the bulletproof glass, the run-flat tyres, the improved suspension and braking (to deal with the extra weight) and other extras before the interior is re-installed.  Some of the badass Bond-type gadgets that can be added include the electric-shock doorhandles, road tack dispensers, smokescreens and night vision.

The end result is a vehicle that might look like a regular luxury sedan but can withstand fire from an AK-47.  Here’s one of Texas Armouring Corporation’s videos showing a Mercedes-Benz being shot up in a promo video:

Of course, given the unfortunate frequency of terrorist attacks, one vehicle company now makes production vehicles that can withstand AK-47 fire.  BMW has come up with the BMW X5 Security that comes straight from the factory floor with one of three spec levels of armouring.  It looks like a regular X5 with BMW’s X-drive and all the other luxury features but it’s also got armouring, bullet proof glass, fireproofing and emergency fresh air.

The BMW X5 Security isn’t available for regular sale in Australia yet, although there are a few knocking around in the hands of the Federal Police.  Some of BMW’s other luxury armoured vehicles (based on the 7-series) were bought by the government for the top brass during the G20 conference.  The rest of us oiks have to stick with the ordinary – if you can call it that – X5 and 7-series.  However, us ordinary oiks probably don’t have to worry about kidnapping threats, so that’s OK.

Safe and happy driving, even without armour,



  1. Bill says:

    Back in the 1980’s I visited a privately owned medium sized enterprise near Milan in Italy. The managing director sent his chauffeured car to pick me up from my hotel as the factory was 50 Km out of town. A large S Class Mercedes turned up with a uniformed chauffeur. When I got inside the car I realized this was not an ordinary car, it was an armored car. The industrialist was afraid of being kidnapped by the then notorious red brigades operating in Northern Italy. The immediate give away was the thick tinted windows, but as the chauffeur was pleased to explain, this was only one of many features making this car bandit proof. It was a real life James bond type of vehicle. Worthy of Scaramanga in Bond’s movie the Man with the Golden Gun. Nice to see how the other 1% of the world live.

    April 26th, 2016 at 3:25 pm