The world's biggest display of James Bond cars, bikes and planes is on show at Beaulieu
Julian Rendell
16 January 2012

The world’s biggest-ever collection of Bond cars, bikes and planes is going on show at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the iconic action movie.

At least 50 vehicles, including the Lotus Esprit S1 submarine driven underwater in the Roger Moore movie The Spy Who Loved Me, an Aston Martin DB5 of the type that starred in Goldfinger and Thunderball and the BMW Z8 from The World Is Not Enough, feature in the exhibition ‘Bond In Motion’.

‘This is a really fitting celebration in an important year for Bond movies. It marks the 50th anniversary of the start of filming of the first Bond movie Dr No and In October we will release the latest movie, starring Daniel Craig,’ says Eon Productions, which makes the Bond films.

The exhibition has largely been assembled from two major collections — one owned by the charitable US-based Ian Fleming Foundation and another owned by Eon Productions. Although other exhibits come from private collections around the world.

The DB5, for example, is on loan from the Dutch National Motor Museum. It is one of two replicas built to promote Thunderball, but never used in filming.

Other DB5s are scheduled to take its place as the exhibition carries on throughout the year.

‘We came up with the idea for the exhibition late in 2010, knowing the importance of 2012,’ says Meg Simmonds, archivist for Eon productions.

Interestingly, Dr No is the only Bond movie for which no cars exist and no-one knows what happened to them after filming.

In the early days, props were disposed-of as soon as filming was finished, simply because there was nowhere to store them. Bond movie owner Cubby Broccoli famously growled: ‘I’m not in the warehousing business.’

But times change and since the Goldeneye movie of 1995, Eon has been keeping the cars and other action props in its own collection, stored in the east of England.

From Eon’s collection comes the Cagiva 600 W16 that features in the dramatic opening sequence of Goldeneye, in which the bike hurtles off a cliff allowing Bond to catch-up with a plane and jump in the cockpit. Filmed seven times, only two bikes are thought to have survived.

Other stars at the show include an AMC Hornet of the type that performed an amazing barrel roll jump in 1974’s The Man With the Golden Gun. Bond jumps the red hatchback 40ft — a shot completed in one clean take, even though legendary stuntman ‘Bumps’ Willard had never attempted the jump before. The car on show is a showroom vehicle used in a city chase.

Daniel Craig’s Aston DBS, which was famously rolled at Millbrook test track for Casino Royale is also on show, complete with smashed up bodywork and cracked glass.

Modified with an air cannon to initiate the roll, the DBS flipped through seven and three-quarter turns, with stuntman Adam Kirley at the wheel, to take a place in the Guinness Book of Records.

Other star machinery includes the Renault 11 from View To A Kill, Citroen 2CV from For Your Eyes Only, Bede BD5 microjet from Octopussy and ‘Little Nellie’, the Wallis WA 116 autogyro from You Only Live Twice, the latter still owned by Ken Wallis.

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