Commander James Pond (age unknown) enters the office of Sir Reginald Ffrench-Smythe, the head of MI6.
Pond: You wanted to see me, sir?
Ffrench-Smythe averts his gaze from the sheaf of papers on his desk, removes his spectacles and quietly clears his throat.
Ffrench-Smythe: Ah yes, Pond. I wanted to talk to you about your new car.
Pond smiles. He’s been leafing through Aston Martin brochures in anticipation of this moment.
Pond: Q did let slip that you might have something new for me, sir. Another Aston, perchance?
The older man shakes his head.
Ffrench-Smythe: Not this time, Pond. Still, I’m sure you’ll be pleased to hear that it’s a Lotus.
Pond: Jolly good, sir. I rather thought you might plump for the Evija. I’m sure Q will be delighted.
Ffrench-Smythe: Ah, the thing is…we’ve, uh, had to make some cutbacks.
Pond: So not an Evija, then?
Ffrench-Smythe shakes his head.
Pond: An Evora?
Ffrench-Smythe shakes his head again.
Pond: An Exige, sir? Surely that’s a bit on the small side. I mean, where will I put my suitcases, golf clubs, and grooming products? And that’s before we even consider the duty-free…
Ffrench-Smythe holds up a hand.
Ffrench-Smythe: It’s not an Exige, Pond. Nor an Elise. It’s an Elan. The one with front-wheel drive.
Pond: But, but…they stopped making those in the mid-90s, sir.
Ffrench-Smythe: Indeed, but times are hard, and we did get a very good deal on one. Gumtree’s rather good, don’t you think?
Ffrench-Smythe: Indeed. You ought to try it, Pond – there’s a chap selling Hai Karate aftershave at knockdown prices. Anyway, I’m sure you’ll love the Elan.
Pond: I suppose if needs must, sir. Let me think: 1.6 litre turbocharged engine, 165 bhp in SE form, 137 mph, 0-60 in…
Ffrench-Smythe holds up his hand again.
French-Smythe: This one doesn’t have a turbo.
Pond: No turbo?
Ffrench-Smythe: I’m afraid not, Pond. The normally aspirated model is good for another five miles to the gallon, you see. And it’s cheaper to buy. Anyway, it’s still nippy enough.
Pond: But you said that about the Esprit S1, sir. And it couldn’t outrun a Ford Cortina full of burly thugs – you’ve seen the footage from Sardinia.
Ffrench-Smythe: Oh, don’t be so wet, Pond! SPECTRE has had to make cutbacks as well. We’re reliably informed that its top operatives are now trundling around in 1.6 litre MGFs with mild steel coolant pipes, leaky Hydragas spheres, and Rick Astley albums stuck in their radio-cassette players. You should consider yourself lucky. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must dash – I’m meeting Lady Ffrench-Smythe at Cash Converters. She’s got her eye on a reconditioned washing machine…