Wednesday, 11 January 2012

"Ejector Seat?, you're joking..."

...The immortal line uttered by Connery as Bond in the famous scenefrom Goldfinger. Almost every film in the series features some automotive mayhem -long before Daniel Craig's stuntmen were wrecking DBS's in Italy, Bob Simmons et al were doing the business in some of the most desirable cars of theday - but, it's not all four wheels in the world of 007... heres a few personal favourites amongst all those Bond vehicles.
 
ACROSTAR MINI-JET - OCTOPUSSY


Remember this baby? - in the '83 smash, 007 makes his escape with this nifty jet, concealed in a horse-box complete with fake horse tail - Roger Moore's "Fill her up, please" at a remote garage being an especially memorable line...
FORD MUSTANG MACH-1 - DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER

"Lean over!" - Connery's barked order to Tiffany Case (Jill St.John) as the Mustang enters a narrow alley - only to get through it on two wheels. This precarious stunt famously went awry, with cars rolling and an unexpected headache for the continuity department, with the car entering the alley balanced on first one, then (miraculously) the other set of wheels...

LOTUS ESPRIT S1 - THE SPY WHO LOVED ME

Placed in a prominent spot by the entrance to Pinewood studios (an inspired move by Lotus Cars), the Esprit S1 was - if the stories are true - spotted by Cubby Broccoli himself and chosen as the ideal car for 007 in his most audacious gamble yet - the film that was to be the biggest, best Bond yet...

The scene where Bond drives the car off a jetty into the sea, only for it to convert into a mini-sub is simply unforgettable.

CV23 Glastron/Carlson hardtop - Moonraker

Glastron continued their long association with 007 - check out the boat chase in Live & Let Die for the best example - with this futuristic craft. On a mission to the South American jungle, Roger Moore as Bond is tracking down Drax's secret shuttle launch site - when Jaws and co. arrive and try to spoil the show. Escaping by a hang-glider concealed in the roof of the boat, Bond escapes the waterfall that claims the bad-guys - but Jaws proves, as ever, to be indestructible.
BMW Z3 - Goldeneye

This, plus the later use of a 750iL, an R1200 motorcycle and a bifurbicated Z8 established Pierce Brosnan as the BMW Bond. Not exactly over-featured, but a tidy little sports car, if a tad underpowered (A claim also levelled at the S1 Esprit, perhaps hence the latter's reincarnation as a Turbo model).
TOYOTA GT-2000 CONVERTIBLE - YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE

Legend has it that Sean Connery was too tall for the GT-2000 - available only as a hard-top coupe, hence the film-makers asking Toyota to cut the roof off of the two cars used in the film. Whatever the truth, YOLT remains one of the few movies where Bond doesn't drive himself - the burning rubber provided by Aki, (in reality a non-driver) his Japanese contact.

ASTON-MARTIN DB5 - GOLDFINGER (PLUS THUNDERBALL, TOMORROW NEVER DIES, CASINO ROYALE - AND THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH)

Scenes featuring the DB5 being driven to MI6 HQ in Scotland were cut from the final film, so the car's actual appearance in TWINE is limited to one brief shot - but it has to be the car's debut in the iconic Goldfinger that fans will remember. Who can forget the ejector seat sequence, or Bond using the smoke and bullet screens against Goldfinger's henchmen?. The tracking device installed by 'Q' enables Bond to take a leisurely approach to the pursuit of his enemy - the only drawback seems to have been Connery's complaint that the pedals were too close together for his feet. Two cars were used in the film, one for the fast driving scenes and the other for the gadget shots. The latter famously broke all records at auction, despite being effectively a reconstruction, having had its gadgetry stripped by Aston-Martin some years previously - only to be re-fitted to its former glory after the mistake was realised...
ASTON-MARTIN V8 VANTAGE VOLANTE - THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS

Originally seen as a convertible, later converted to a hardtop - "Winterized" in 'Q's words - this car was full of tricks - a fighter-style Head-Up Display. rockets and outrigger skis being just a few. Along with the Esprits, this is one of my all-time favourite cars.

Incidentally, I met the then Moneypenny, Caroline Bliss in Brighton when she made an appearance with the Volante - I even got to help roll the shiny show wheels over to the car (Yes, they even changed them, the fitted wheels being a tad dull). (O.K. not the greatest claim to 007-fame, but, hey I've been to Ian Fleming's house in Kent, plus his golf club so boo-sux!)


LITTLE NELLIE - YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE

RAF Wing Commander Ken Wallis is the genius behind this remarkable machine. An autogyro, 'Little Nellie' is featured in the film - with added weaponry provided by the special effects team - as a handy reconnaissance platform, issued to Bond in kit form by the ever-pressed 'Q'.
One I did earlier...

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