What's your favourite James Bond car? Mine would have to be the Renault 11 taxi that Roger Moore's 007 man-handled along the Peripherique in Paris during A View to a Kill.
It's a vehicle that deserves no mercy in an environment that offers none, and by the time Bond clambers out, the poor 11 is pretty much just a front grille, two seats, an engine and two driven wheels. The sequence is (by far) the highlight of a dreadful flick, I reckon - to the point where you'd consider fast-forwarding your DVD to the start of the pursuit of a parachuting Grace Jones, and then turning it off as soon as it's over.
Bond flicks are a bit better these days, with respectability restored post-Moore by Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan, subsequently lost by Brosnan in the awful Die Another Day, then rediscovered by Daniel Craig. But the cars remain a major part of every 007 flick - and it was vaguely reassuring to see the Aston Martin DB10 unveiled as the first 'non-human member' of the cast by director Sam Mendes at this morning's reveal of 'Bond 24', Spectre.
Read an Ian Fleming James Bond story and you might expect to see Daniel Craig driving a Bentley but in fact, the cinematic relationship between Aston Martin has been running for a half-century - and it just seems like a natural fit.
Indeed, having Bond actively choose any other vehicle (as opposed to grabbing the keys to it mid-chase) just screams product placement. Who can forget the awful mobile phone-controlled BMW 7 Series crashing into the world's most vibrant Avis store in Tomorrow Never Dies? Or the BMW Z8 being sawn in half in The World is Not Enough?
Daniel Craig's Bond hasn't been immune to this sort of problem, either. Return to form Casino Royale might have been, but it did include what seemed like a full minute of driving footage in a Ford Mondeo that was so early in its development cycle that it was made mostly of wood. The Ford Ka and Ford Edge in Quantum of Solace were equally superfluous.
Of course, the Aston Martin's appearance is based on a commercial agreement like any other. But I have higher hopes for the DB10 - which looks like a rebodied DB9, and could preview the new front-end styling of a new generation of Astons. A vehicle of that significance would be a proper use of one of the best tie-ins in the movie world.