News: James May's No 1 'car that changed the world' is a bit of a shock

Does the Stig have a Borrower-sized cousin, by any chance?

IT’S GOING to raise a few eyebrows: James May has revealed the car that he feels has changed the world more than any other – and it’s not really a car at all.

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May’s controversial pick is not the VW Beetle, Mini, Austin 7, Citroën DS or even Ford Model T. It’s a toy … the Corgi model of the Aston Martin DB5 that appeared in Goldfinger, the James Bond blockbuster film.

“The thing about the Corgi DB5 is that it was a great toy at the time. If you’ve got an iPod now you’ll probably think it’s rubbish, but at the time it was absolutely amazing,” said May, who revealed his winning choice at the opening night of the inaugural London Classic Car Show, among his 13 Cars that Changed the World display.

“Of course it is a personal and emotive choice and a lot of people will disagree with me. But that’s the point of this display. It’s about starting a debate rather than concluding one.”

“It’s about starting a debate rather than concluding one”

The Top Gear presenter’s passion for toys is well known; in 2009 he  presented James May’s Toy Stories, a TV show that celebrated toys such as Lego, Plasticine, Meccano and the Hornby train set.  The DB5 was popularised by the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger, in which Sean Connery played 007 and used his modified Aston to machine-gun, oil-slick and ejector-seat his way to beating the bad guys.

As part of the marketing for the film, Corgi produced a gold Aston Martin DB5 1:46 scale model, complete with the Q Branch gadgets including retractable machine guns, an opening roof with a working ejector seat, pop-up rear bullet screen and telescopic riders. It became the bestselling toy of 1964, selling more than 6m units, and received the first Toy of the Year award.

Read about the other 12 cars in James May’s list of “Cars that Changed the World”

Though 50 years have passed, May’s choice is timely as Corgi will be unveiling a new version of the DB5 at the annual London Toy Fair later this month.

Watch James May open the exhibit (before revealing the Corgi DB5):