James Bond movies and interesting cars often go hand in hand, whether it’s the latest Aston Martin model given to Bond by Q at … not be returned in one piece, or a cameo by a rare classic that might leave some fans scratching their heads for years to come.
Ahead of the theatrical debut of the franchise’s latest installment in a few days, No time to die, we’re going to take a look at some rare cars from the Daniel Craig era, with the latest film serving up 2 hours 43 minutes of mayhem, most of which are vehicular in nature.
We will start with the first film in the series, Casino Royale (2006). The movie actually aged quite well, all things considered, reaching all of the franchise’s highlights without flipping into comedy or becoming embarrassing to watch after a decade.
The 2006 Bond film that kicked off the Daniel Craig era served up a very unusual appearance of a car, and there’s a good chance some car enthusiasts missed it altogether because it is a bit brief but very clearly seen in a few scenes. Halfway through the film, outside the Montenegro Casino, audiences watch from a window the trunk of a classic black sedan open, revealing a body inside.
To most observers this black car might appear to be American, perhaps from the 1960s, but in reality it is something else, being one of the few Soviet ZiL 117s ever produced.
The ZiL 117 was the shorter sedan version of the ZiL 114 limousine that was produced from 1967 to 1978, serving as the primary limousine for senior Soviet officials, including the secretary general and members of the Politburo. Like its predecessors and successors, the ZiL 114 was handcrafted, with the Zavod Imeni Likhacheva producing (all by hand) only a few dozen copies per year, including the body panels which were hammered into shape on wooden males. The 114 was powered by a V8 engine paired with two- or three-speed automatic transmissions, which makes it very rare for that factor alone.
The shorter 117 was even rarer, later developed in production to serve as a car for bodyguards escorting other officials who were usually in a ZiL 114 limousine. About fifty of these were built, including one small number of convertibles, remaining in service from the early 1970s to the late 1990s. The 117 itself made its debut in 1971, sharing the 7.0-liter V8 engine, with an output of around 300 hp, with the longer 114, and fitted with the latest three-speed automatic introduced in the ZiL range.
The last year of production for the 117 and 114 was 1978 when the ZiL factory moved to its successor, known as the 115, or 4104 using the newer model index.
The last generation of 115 cars saw the debut of a similar shortened version dubbed the 41041, of which only a few dozen were produced from the late 1980s to the late 1990s. But the 41041s never really served as cars. escort, because the security services have largely turned to the use of cheaper, mass-produced GAZ sedans.
It is safe to say that the 117 was rare at the time and was rarely seen even in government processions. Two-door convertible versions of the 117, dubbed the 117V, served as a parade car for military parades, first in Moscow and then in Leningrad, and the 115 range spawned its own two-door convertibles in the early 1980s. which replaced the 117V. Only four or five convertibles based on the 117 were built.
Almost all surviving copies of the 117 settled in private collections in Russia and the former USSR, but a couple managed to make it to other parts of Europe. Even though a few of the last generation 115 limos found their way to the United States, we wouldn’t bet to see the 117 or 114 in a contest in the United States anytime soon.
How did something as rare or random as a ZiL 117 end up in a Bond movie?
The reasons for these cameos tend to be pretty prosaic: On-location film shoots typically source cars through local film production agencies who maintain a list of area classic car owners whose cars can be found. be borrowed for film or television shoots, for a fee. This means that in many cases, especially in vintage movies, the background cars tend to be locally sourced, as they say. So, the appearance of the ZiL in the movie is probably just one factor in that a classic collector owns an interesting vintage car that could be used by the studio for a few days.
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