“The most famous car in the world,” that is the nickname for the Aston Martin DB5. James Bond’s car becomes wildly popular after Sean Connery first drives it in Goldfinger (1964). And if this is the most famous car of all time, does his gear stick have the most famous button in the world?
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My friends look at me somewhat teasingly when I tell them late 2023 that I bought a non-working gear lever. “Why would you buy a gear lever? You don’t even have a car,” they remark. Honestly, I often enjoy the surprised faces when I start a story in a somewhat mysterious way. It creates a humorous spectacle as they try to decipher my little cryptic announcement. Now when I bought this replica it was no different. Although they may not be as much 007 enthusiasts as I am, they are certainly aware and know a thing or two about it. They quickly made the connection: “Gosse has probably once again spent too much money on something that is way too expensive and has to do with James Bond.”
Is the price justified?
I have to give it to my friends, because the new gear lever from Factory is quite pricey, € 176.95 to be exact. To have this product shipped to the Netherlands or Belgium, you need to pay € 197.90 in total, with an additional € 49.50 for import costs later on. So is it worth spending almost € 250 on a gear lever that won’t make a car drive or a seat fly into the air?
“An investment,” as I tried to sell it. And let’s be honest, that’s true. Factory Entertainment’s products often increase in value. Some of their most popular replicas, such as Jaws’ teeth or Scaramanga’s Golden Gun, can quickly become two or three times more expensive than their purchase price. We’re talking about hundreds, if not thousands, of euros. But is that ethical? Is it appropriate to deprive others of the chance to obtain this replica when only 1,964 units are available?
No, in my opinion, it is not. That is not my intention either. In the coming time, this red button will proudly adorn my desk, even with a price tag of € 250. “The first part of my own, yet to be built, Aston Martin DB5,” is my new excuse. A project that will probably never come to fruition, but this little knob is the most iconic piece of James Bond history in my student room.
“Then it must be a very good replica,” is the next comment from my friends. It’s not, and I knew that before I bought it. According to the 007Store, the features of the knob have been copied one-to-one from the EON Productions archives.
However, if you look at clips from Goldfinger and Skyfall (2012), you can see that the knob and the mechanism of the ejector seat look slightly different. Goldfinger’s has a visible notch, contains more unpainted aluminum inside the flap, and around the red button. The button itself is also more recessed. For the Skyfall version, the props masters at EON did a great job making the knob look as much like the original as possible. They succeeded excellently! But there is a very minor difference, Goldfinger’s seems to be a bit more worn.
The differences with the Factory replica are, however, clearly evident, so where does the design of this knob come from? From which archive was the blueprint for this design drawn? I briefly thought it might be from the version of the Aston Martin DB5 Continuation, but after some googling, this turns out not to be the case. So where does this design come from? Honestly, I have no idea.
Aesthetically, the knob may look even better than the original, but that doesn’t match the promise of the 007Store and Factory Entertainment. Because this is not a one-to-one replica of the original. Even the font on top of the knob differs from that in both films. The lines and numbers on the replica are clearly applied with a modern font, probably Arial, until recently the standard font of Microsoft Word. This font was designed in 1982, eighteen years after the release of Goldfinger. It’s a boring font for a boring person, not James Bond.
And that difference is somewhat painful, because the original knob is clearly visible on the back of the included booklet. You can’t convince me that no one at Factory Entertainment noticed these differences. Yet I chose to pay € 250. That may seem strange, especially since I was aware of these adjustments before buying the replica. So why?
It’s the Aston Martin DB5
Very simple, I am – to put it mildly – a enthusiast. The first James Bond model car I ever got from my parents was an Aston Martin DB5. This car has meant so much to the franchise. It’s no coincidence that it appears in seven films. Owning a DB5 is a dream I’ve had since I was little and will probably take to my grave. For me, the price felt like nothing compared to that dream. Even though this useless piece of metal essentially does nothing, because after pressing the button, it remains eerily quiet in my room. Not even a speck of dust fires itself in the air.
There is also plenty positive to say about the replica. The build quality is good. The lever stands solid on its base, on which some text is written: Goldfinger, BMT 261A, Ejector seat button replica, with the Aston Martin logo below. Also, the button clicks very pleasantly, and when you close the lid it is held in place by magnets. So yes, the details that don’t quite match are unfortunate, but I now have a little piece of “the most famous car in the world” in my own home. And that is more than I ever dared to dream of as a child. Now for the rest of the parts.
The Ejector Seat Button Replica from Factory Entertainment is available on the official 007Store and costs € 178.95 (excluding shipping, import costs, and a working ejector seat).
Also in 2024…
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