Hi everyone - I wrote the article. First, thanks for reading, and for your comments. It’s mean to be a tongue-in-cheek piece, although I can understand how using the word ‘garbage’ as a descriptor could trigger someone into being upset about the treatment of the Hornet.
Within the context of the Bond universe, the mid-70s Hornet is certainly one of its lesser lights - as is the more modern Ford Mondeo and Z3, which were involved in the franchise for similar product placement reasons.
In response to Mustang85’s comment - around the same time as The Man With The Golden Gun came out, AMC had been sponsoring traveling stunt shows where AMC cars were jumped, etc, in a variety of fun and exciting ways. When AMC paid the Bond franchise to include not one, but several of its cars in the movie, (including the Matador coupe driven by the villain), it was natural for the company to include a similar stunt.
The director of the film had actually seen the stunt performed at the Houston Astrodome, and it wasn’t possible to re-do the calculations behind it to change the car for a more Bond-appropriate one, so it ended up being a modified Hornet for safety reasons, as it was shown that the Hornet offered the best chances for success for the stunt in the movie’s particular setup. This is why Bond steals the car, rather than having it gifted to him by Q.
And yes, AMC paid to have the Hornet, Matador, and other background cars in the movie. It was one of the first product placement deals between an automotive company and a movie maker in the history of cinema. The Bond franchise would lead the pack in these types of deals in the years to come - Ford paid $35 million in 2002 for Bond to drive an Aston Martin V12 Vanquish in Die Another Day, a vehicle that just barely missed being included on this list because of its incredibly terrible ‘invisibility’ feature.