In this year of the 50th anniversary of the James Bond films – which began in 1962 with the release of Dr No – the National Car Museum in Beaulieu in the New Forest in the south of England, is celebrating the iconic film series with a unique exhibition. ‘Bond in Motion: 50 Vehicles 50 Years’ looks at the series through the distinctive transports of delight that have been key to earning the James Bond films classic status with film fans around the world.
The exhibition has been assembled from various collections, including the EON archives, and includes the Aston Martins that are synonymous with agent 007. The diverse array of items on display also includes Goldfinger’s Rolls-Royce Phantom III and the Q Boat from the opening River Thames chase in The World is Not Enough. Representing the 1960s is the Little Nellie autogiro from You Only Live Twice and Tracy Di Vicenzo’s red Cougar from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. From the early 1970s, there’s the AMC Hornet from The Man with the Golden Gun, which loop-the-looped on a rickety bridge, the Glastron GT-150 speedboat from Live and Let Die and the white Lotus Esprit, which was equally at home on land or sea in The Spy Who Loved Me.
For those of you who live in the Northwest of England, the ‘Pageant of Power’ festival at Cholmondeley Castle near Chester – the city where current Bond Daniel Craig was born – is also celebrating the James Bond anniversary in style.
Over the weekend of June 15-17, three vehicles from the Pierce Brosnan era are present as a special exhibit at the event. Appearing will be the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish from Die Another Day (which had a cloaking device, enabling it to become invisible), the Jaguar XKR driven by the villains in the same film, and the BMW Z8 from The World is Not Enough. More details about the 2012 Pageant of Power are available at www.cpop.co.uk
The ‘Bond in Motion’ exhibit at the National Car Museum, which runs until December 2012, is the cover story by Matthew Field in the latest edition, Issue 23, of Cinema Retro magazine.
Cinema Retro’s Dave Worrall was interviewed on RTE’s radio show ‘James Bond and his Driven Passion’, Produced and presented by Stewart and Orla Kelly, which can be heard here.
Further details for visiting the museum and the exhibit itself, including a full list of the vehicles from 21 of the Bond films, can be found on the Beaulieu Car Museum’s website.
I discuss the making of One Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) in my book Crime Wave: The Filmgoers’ Guide to the Great Crime Movies, which is available in paperback and on Kindle.