oh - ok and Bond for the girls!
He is unmatchable when it comes to cars ... especially the Aston Martin DB5. This year we are celebrating 50 years of Bond – and it is the cars that define their man.
Fleming, a grandson of the Scottish financier Robert Fleming (merchant banker), was a car mad expert ... he had a car at Eton in the 1920s, knew his stuff – perhaps he wasn’t an auto-head as we’d describe them today - but he loved his cars and would have approved of many of them, perhaps not all!
|The DB 5|
In Fleming’s mind he would have chosen a Bentley ... that would have been his professional choice ... as a petrol-head. However in the novel Goldfinger, under the chapter entitled ‘Thoughts in a DB III’, the car is the only one to have gadgets installed. So in the film even though the car was changed to an Aston Martin DB5 model, the array of gadgetry was much expanded
Dr No was the first film in which a Sunbeam Alpine appeared – it was hired for twelve shillings a day - but in the process was chased by a hearse and that was that! (As a by-line ... I had one of these way back when ... and never realised it was a Bond car!!)
From Russia With Love – another big hit, which meant the franchise could start rolling out the money-boats ... and an Aston Martin DB5 was organised for the Goldfinger 1964 movie.
|Aston Martin DB III for sale|
Saltzman held out for an Aston ... it was a hard nut to crack ... in the end they were leant a second-hand development car ... but could gadgetise it to their hearts content ... (they nearly had a Jaguar ... if the Aston management hadn’t relented!)
Imagination set in – bullet proof windows; revolving number plates – evolved because the director got fed up with parking tickets at the Bond offices in central London! – sounds like a good ruse to me ... just flip the plate and drive away ... who me – parking for too long? No siree!!
Gadgets galore were added - £25,000 = that’s a lot of gadgets – ejector seat, tyre (spelt it tire in my notes!!) shredder, smoke came via a small man in boot of car ... trouble was there was a canister leak and he nearly asphyxiated.
A schoolboy wrote in – and commented on the fact that Pirelli tyres featured in the UK ... but Dunlop tyres appeared at the Swiss petrol station ... only a geek, and a kid at that ... would notice those sort of things!
The public were mad for Goldfinger – but the DB5 became THE CAR, and had a world tour of its own!! The registration for the original DB5 was BMT 216A ... and this registration plate was used in the next film Thunderball.
|Toyota 2000 GT|
You Only Live Twice, filmed in Japan, ‘demanded’ a Japanese car – front engine, rear drive ... it was beautiful and used the same wood inlay as that for a Yamaha piano ...
... the Toyota 2000GT was ranked as the 7th best car in the Bond series. It is very rare and gorgeous and worth £500,000. Interestingly because Sean Connery is so tall – they had to build the car with a soft-top, so he could fit in.
As the 1970s came round ... smash, bang wallop ... car carnage and Bond went off the scale ... nifty stunts were filmed – apparently a London bus driver was hired for the bus stunts in Live and Let Die.
|AMC Hornet in full stunt|
In The Man with the Golden Gun the AMC Hornet was driven using an Astro Spiral stunt ... the first time a stunt had been worked out in the labs at Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory before being used in the film.
To get the balance etc just right – the steering wheel had to be in the centre and the speed had to be exactly 49mph – otherwise ‘kaput’ ... and the stunt would have failed.
|Trying to get the Lotus to work in|
water, before a model was used
Next came the Lotus Esprit in The Spy Who Loved Me, which turned into a submarine ... the car was stuffed full of gadgets ... fish were appearing from the watertight car ... Cubby Broccoli said no worries – no-one will think about how they got into the car! The car ended up being a model in a fish tank ... the bubbles made with some Alka-Seltzers!
The deux chevaux – Citroen 2CV – in For Your Eyes Only – was Roger Moore’s favourite ... it was cheap and tough in the chase, and could outfox the bad boys.
The Alfa Romeo GTV used in Octopussy would have made Ian Fleming happy as – he was a purist and very knowledgeable about his cars.
By the time Pierce Brosnan had come along in the mid 1990s – Bond’s sixteen movies were renowned as the best action movies out there ... spectacular action sequences ... they were the best in cinema films.
|Aston Martin Vanquish|
Die another Day contained ice skating scenes – the ice had to be ten inches thick ... when the Aston Martin Vanquish was pursued by the protagonist Zao driving the Jaguar XKR ... the crew felt that the ice moved like a trampoline!
|Jaguar XKR with gadgets exposed|
When Casino Royale was made with Daniel Craig, tougher more realistic action became the order of the day and the brutal car stunt returned ... Bond had to swerve violently to avoid Vesper.
As the DBS V12 was still in design production the DB9 was used and modified. The car wouldn’t roll ... so the stunt driver had to use an air cannon located behind the driver’s seat to propel the car into a roll at the precise moment of impact.
At a speed exceeding 70 mph (113 km/h), the car rotated seven times while being filmed, and was confirmed, in 2006, by the Guinness Book of Records as a new world record.
|SkyFall's off road bikes|
The latest SkyFall has an opening car sequence which just builds and builds – well now I know when I get to see it next week. The Bond production team are no fans of CGi ... so stunts etc are done in an analogue way ... in the process they get through a lot of metal.
Stunts are still part and parcel of the films ... and it is possible for the action to take place, though probably at extreme limits in some cases ... the rooftop pathways in SkyFall are taken at 70 kph (43 mph) ... the stunt drivers had to get it right, or pay the consequences, as they did it without helmets.
Ian Fleming apparently named his hero 'James Bond' after an ornithologist in Jamaica because he thought he was very boring ... and James Bond is an understated hero - well in the novels only thankfully ...
Still Bond movies always entertain us ... even in their crazy antics and Ian Fleming certainly has created, with his books, short stories and ideas, a franchise to last. Flash cars and amazing, if improbable, car chases have been essential elements of the Bond movies since the series began in 1952.
While between the car chat we hear phrases such as “web-fingered baddie” (Stromberg), “triple nipple assassin” (Scaramanga), and “angry fat Fraulein” (one of Goldfinger’s henchwomen), which will never get boring – what’s not to like?!
This was mainly taken from a BBC Top GearSpecial looking back at 007’s legendary cars ...
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