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Bond's car collection comes to London

  1. James Bond didn’t start out driving an Aston Martin, neither in the films nor the masterfully dark original books by Ian Fleming. But the way the brand has become inextricably intertwined with Her Majesty’s least subtle secret agent, you’d have thought Bond had ‘David Brown’ tattooed across his buttocks.

    Not many people realise that Bond’s first car was actually a 4.5-litre, pre-war Bentley; specifically, the one with the Amherst-Villiers supercharger, in Ian Fleming’s original Casino Royale novel way back in 1953. 

    Why are we telling you this? Well, this weekend the Aston Martin Owner’s Club provided a 30-car Aston parade to welcome the world’s largest official collection of James Bond cars, which moved to the London Film Museum on Sunday. And as one onlooker noted, to him, it doesn’t matter which DB-series cars were used in the films. Aston Martin is Bond.

  2. If you saw Hammond’s tribute to the cars of James Bond last year, you’ll be familiar with the exhibition’s lineup. It’s called ‘Bond in Motion’, and features an incredible array of cars actually used in the James Bond canon; things like the decapitated Renault 11 TXE from A View To A Kill, and the little Tuk-Tuk from Octopussy. 

    But by the time Shirley Bassey was belting out Goldfinger in the 60s, Connery was in a DB5. So, sitting pride of place in the museum is BMT 214A; one of the original DB5s used in the films, and the most endearing, popular and recognisable of all the James Bond cars. It’s quite a thing, too.

  3. While the museum had a straightforward job sourcing the car above (it used to live in the Beaulieu Motor Museum before the move to London), the Aston Martin Owners Club were having trouble finding a similar DB5 for the parade, until the Gods of All Things Bond smiled on the day… 

    AMOC had given up hope, until a chap taking a Sunday drive in his personal DB5 drove past the exhibition in Covent Garden and was duly waved into the VIP parking area to display his mint condition motor. Bemused by the sight of some 30 Aston Martins in one place, he got out and asked why he was being corralled into showing off his car. Security told him, “you’re part of the exhibition,” to which he replied, “what exhibition? I’m taking my family to church - as I do every Sunday in my Aston DB5”. Good man… 

  4. So, traffic up top was at a standstill to admire the AMs on display – Vanquishes, Vantages, DB6 Mark 2s, DB7s and DB9s included – while down below in the exhibition space, it was a leap into the silver screen. 

  5. First up is a one-third scale AgustaWestland helicopter used for Skyfall, one of two built using a 3D printer and still carrying the battle scars from the shoot. Then there’s this beautiful, bombastic 1937, 7.3-litre Rolls-Royce Phantom III from Goldfinger; the same vehicle believed to have been originally custom-built for the Rt Hon. Lord Fairhaven of Anglesey Abbey, sitting alongside the magnificent 1962 RR Silver Cloud II from A View To A Kill, a personal favourite of the late Bond producer Cubby Broccoli.

  6. Venture further inside and you’ll spot this near-bulletproof BMW 750iL from Tomorrow Never Dies alongside the BMW Z8 from The World Is Not Enough (the producers had to use prototype Z8s because at the time of filming, the actual car hadn’t yet reached production).

  7. You can’t miss the underwater Lotus Esprit, either – a bit of a TG fave after Hammond built his own in homage – as well as the missile-prepped Jaguar XKR (nine were used for filming but the display model is the only one with the full array of weapons) and the invisible Vanquish from Brosnan’s Die Another Day. In fact, four Vanquishes were modified for filming, featuring 4WD systems and smaller 300bhp V8s inside the AM bodyshell. Sacrilege!

  8. There’s a Ski-Doo, the Q-Boat, the crocodile disguise, jetpack, a raft of motorbikes, a miniature replica DB5 built via 3D printing, the little Tuk-Tuk, a record-breaking AM DBS (the one that did seven barrel rolls in 2006 Bond adventure Casino Royale), this DBS from the Quantum of Solace, and even the early V8 Vantage Coupe used for The Living Daylights. Essentially, it’s a collection of the most important Bond vehicles and gadgets that you have lusted after your entire life, all corralled under one roof.

  9. Have a click through the pictures from the launch event, and go and check it out for yourself – it’s on all throughout 2014, seven days a week. And if you can manage the entire visit without humming the Bond theme in your head, you’ve already done better than us…

  10. Have a click through the pictures from the launch event, and go and check it out for yourself – it’s on all throughout 2014, seven days a week. And if you can manage the entire visit without humming the Bond theme in your head, you’ve already done better than us…

  11. Have a click through the pictures from the launch event, and go and check it out for yourself – it’s on all throughout 2014, seven days a week. And if you can manage the entire visit without humming the Bond theme in your head, you’ve already done better than us…

  12. Have a click through the pictures from the launch event, and go and check it out for yourself – it’s on all throughout 2014, seven days a week. And if you can manage the entire visit without humming the Bond theme in your head, you’ve already done better than us…

  13. Have a click through the pictures from the launch event, and go and check it out for yourself – it’s on all throughout 2014, seven days a week. And if you can manage the entire visit without humming the Bond theme in your head, you’ve already done better than us…

  14. Have a click through the pictures from the launch event, and go and check it out for yourself – it’s on all throughout 2014, seven days a week. And if you can manage the entire visit without humming the Bond theme in your head, you’ve already done better than us…

  15. Have a click through the pictures from the launch event, and go and check it out for yourself – it’s on all throughout 2014, seven days a week. And if you can manage the entire visit without humming the Bond theme in your head, you’ve already done better than us…

  16. Have a click through the pictures from the launch event, and go and check it out for yourself – it’s on all throughout 2014, seven days a week. And if you can manage the entire visit without humming the Bond theme in your head, you’ve already done better than us…

  17. Have a click through the pictures from the launch event, and go and check it out for yourself – it’s on all throughout 2014, seven days a week. And if you can manage the entire visit without humming the Bond theme in your head, you’ve already done better than us…

  18. Have a click through the pictures from the launch event, and go and check it out for yourself – it’s on all throughout 2014, seven days a week. And if you can manage the entire visit without humming the Bond theme in your head, you’ve already done better than us…

  19. Have a click through the pictures from the launch event, and go and check it out for yourself – it’s on all throughout 2014, seven days a week. And if you can manage the entire visit without humming the Bond theme in your head, you’ve already done better than us…

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