Daniel Craig is my favourite Bond. There, I’ve put my cards on the table like Le Chiffre in Casino Royale. Sean Connery comes a close second. With Craig, it’s the combination of his brutal appearance which makes him appear more genuinely powerful than his predecessors in the role, and his ability to mix daft chat up lines with a dark, more brooding persona that gets him my vote.
What gives rise to impressing my Bond preference so abruptly upon you, dear reader, is a recent visit to London. Ambling through Covent Garden after a genteel saunter along the South Bank, I happened to find myself at the foot of the London Film Museum in Wellington Street. Not knowing it was there or that such a place even existed, I was giddy and immediately so, as the words ‘Bond In Motion’ confronted me from a sign above the entrance.
This, my friends, was a new exhibition and in fact, the largest official collection of original James Bond vehicles ever staged in London. I. Was. Excited. Less so my good lady, who left me to pay the admission fee (£14.50) and an extra £3 for an audio commentary by stunt driver Ben Collins, better known as The Stig in Top Gear. Collins was also the stunt driver for Bond’s car in Quantum of Solace, Casino Royale and Eve Moneypenny’s car in Skyfall.
It was a surreal experience seeing so many cars from the franchise in one place but very cool and I’d recommend a visit if you’re in that neck of the woods anytime soon. Anyway, this is a selection of the vehicles that I saw.
This battered chopper is one of the models used to film the finale scenes of Skyfall, as Bond, M and the gamekeeper attempt to evade a siege from the air orchestrated by villain Raoul Silva.
The Acrostar Mini as seen in 1983 film Octopussy starring Roger Moore.
Q’s ‘retirement boat’, last seen tearing up the River Thames with Bond aboard as he pursues a would-be assassin in The World Is Not Enough.
The Glastron 150 GT speedboat was navigated by Bond in a high speed water chase in Live And Let Die, the eighth film in the series and Roger Moore’s debut as our suave spy.
How do you make a Lotus Esprit even cooler? Why enable its driver to transform it into a submarine at the touch of a button of course. Maybe not of all that use for the daily commute, but Roger Moore’s Bond certainly found it handy when outrunning metal toothed nutjob Jaws in 1977 installment The Spy Who Loved Me.
This is what was left of one of the Aston Martin DBS V12s hammered around Italian roads as Daniel Craig’s Bond out maneuvered would-be assassins en route to Siena via mountain passes and gravel roads in Quantum of Solace. Authentic.
The same car, but a film earlier. The Aston Martin DBS V12 was flipped more times than a pancake on Shrove Tuesday as Bond took sudden evasive action at high speed to avoid running over gorgeous double agent Vesper Lynd who had been dumped and tied up in the middle of the road in the 2006 version of Casino Royale. It what was a world first, the scene saw the stunt team land a Guinness World Record for the most cannon rolls in a car – seven times. Barrel roll.
The iconic and timelessly majestic Aston Martin DB5. Released in 1963 it first appeared in a James Bond film when Goldfinger hit cinema screens. Later, the same model was used in Thunderball, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, Casino Royale and Skyfall.
Red leather interior eh? Niche market. This 1969 Mercury Cougar convertible featured in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
The BMW Z8 was driven by Pierce Brosnan’s Bond in The World Is Not Enough and came equipped with ground to air missiles. Obviously. Sadly this fine sporty number was sawn in two by a helicopter later in the film.
A Honda CFR250R in Turkish Police colours from Skyfall. For when two wheels are better than four.
‘Little Nellie’ appeared in You Only Live Twice. The heavily armed gyrocopter could be transported in several cases and quickly assembled to deliver Bond from tricky situations.
This Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante was particularly well packed. Used in The Living Daylights, it came armed with everything a slick spy could ask for: side skis, spiked tires, missiles, hubcap-mounted lasers, rocket propulsion and a self-destruct mechanism (best press the right button there James).
The style ante was really upped when it came to motors in Die Another Day which came as an aesthetically pleasing distraction from what was possibly the most disappointing Bond movie in the series. In striking green, the Jaguar XKR convertible commandeered by villain Zao certainly caught the eye. Its miniature missiles on the door panels and the rockets under the front grille certainly seized Bond’s attention.
Bond was not to be thwarted in Die Another Day behind the wheel of this Aston Martin V12 Vanquish which had an invisibility cloak, front mounted rockets of its own and target-seeking shotguns on its bonnet.
Some golden oldies to finish this picture special, in the form of two Rolls-Royces: the 1962 Silver Cloud (above) and the super vintage 1937 Phantom III. The former featured in A View To Kill and the latter in Goldfinger, which was used by the Auric Goldfinger to smuggle gold.
If that wasn’t enough for you then click on over via this link for more information about all the vehicles that have featured in the James Bond films so far.
Bond In Motion is running at the London Film Museum in Covent Garden until the end of 2014. Full price adult tickets are £14.50.
Cue the music: De-de, de-deeeerrrrr, de derr-derr…