Bond’s beloved Bentley was his only personal hobby

Sunday, August 8th, 2021

Before James Bond was the dashing and debonair secret agent on the silver screen, Jordan Golson notes, he was the tormented and brooding assassin of Ian Fleming’s novels, and in those books, he drove a Bentley:

In Fleming’s first 007 novel, Casino Royale, published in 1953, Bond tooled around in a 1931 4.5 Litre Blower Bentley. It wasn’t so sleek or sexy as the Astons that Bond would come to be known for, but it was among the finest cars of its day and just the thing for getting around in all due haste with style.

Bond was, in Casino Royale, something of a car nut and his beloved Bentley was “his only personal hobby.” He bought it in 1933 and kept it in storage while serving in World War II. “Bond drove it hard and well and with an almost sensual pleasure.”

Blower Bently 4.5-Litre Inline

Built by Sir Henry “Tim” Birkin, one of the famous “Bentley Boys” who raced the cars at Le Mans, the supercharged, two-ton Blower was based on the brand’s 24 Hours of Le Mans race car. It produced 240 horsepower from a 4.4-liter inline-four motor with a four-speed unsynchronized manual transmission. The supercharger, which forced more air into the engine to generate more power (thus “Blower”) was gigantic and easily spotted at the front of the car, between the headlights. Top speed was in the 120 mph range, impressive for the era. Just 55 supercharged units of the car were produced between 1929 and 1931.


  1. Grasspunk says:

    How old is Bond supposed to be in Casino Royale? If the novel is set in current day 1953 he’s the age he was when he bought the car plus 20 more years. 40s? 50s?

  2. Isegoria says:

    Ian Fleming himself was born in 1908. Bond is apparently a bit younger:

    In Fleming’s stories, James Bond is in his mid-to-late thirties, but does not age.[29] In Moonraker, he admits to being eight years short of the mandatory retirement age from the 00 Section—45—which would mean he was 36 at the time.[30] Assuming this novel took place in 1953 or 1954, Bond’s year of birth would be 1916 or 1917. Later in the series Fleming shifts Bond’s age, referring to Bond as “claiming an age of nineteen” in 1941, which would put his year of birth at 1922.[31] Also Tiger Tanaka takes pleasure in telling Bond he was born in the year of the Rat.[32] Fleming did not provide Bond’s date of birth, but John Pearson’s fictional biography of Bond, James Bond: The Authorized Biography of 007, gives him a birth date of 11 November 1920,[33] while a study by Bond scholar John Griswold puts the date at 11 November 1921.[34] According to Griswold, the Fleming novels take place between around May 1951,[35] to February 1964, by which time Bond was aged 42.[36]

  3. Grasspunk says:

    Which makes Bond around 12 when he bought his Bentley. Nice.

  4. Isegoria says:

    I’m guessing Bond didn’t buy his Bentley new.

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