Friday 30 November 2012

One for the boys – Bond cars ...

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?!

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Bond's cars have always been cool.
And BBC's Top Gear is an awesome show. The American version is so lame.
I'm still hoping Santa will bring me a Bugatti.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - first again = tell me how you do it!! I must put the link in for that show .. and some Bond men - I've been rather lax here ... tomorrow a.m.

Gosh if Santa brings you one of those - please let me know ... I'm coming out for a ride!!!!

Cheers Hilary

Diane said...

Oh the 2CV is by far the best here :-). I wonder why he never had a Porsche, my favourite car. Have a good weekend Diane


Great Bond post Hilary, I can remember when the first Bond film came to the cinema, I enjoyed it but my husband was really hooked on Bond.
Thanks for a wonderful insight , most enjoyable.

Anonymous said...

Awesome post! No AMC Gremlin?

I need revolving license plates too. I'm surprised people don;t do that already.

Thanks for another in depth and most interesting post!

Old Kitty said...

Oh you will so fall in love with Skyfall!! What a film!! What a Bond!! I don't really notice the cars so much - but in Skyfall you do - oh yes, towards the end anyway! That's all I'm saying!!! :-)

Take care

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I heard he sold 20 thousand copies of one of his books in the first month. Or was it week? I haven't seen SkyFall yet, but I sure will. Love the music.

Patsy said...

I do like Bond films - especially the slightly cheesier ones.

Janie Junebug said...

I loved it when Prince William and Kate got married and he took his new bride for a spin in that gorgeous Aston-Martin. Even though I know nothing about cars, I knew that was one gorgeous car with a beautiful couple occupying it.


D.G. Hudson said...

We like the the BBC version of Top Gear as well. It's one of hubs' fave shows.

Funny how some characters and book series take on a life of their own. James Bond is one of those series. Interesting leading men had just added cachet to the brand.

Enjoyed this post, Hilary.

A Lady's Life said...

I always loved the James Bond movies and the cars he drove.
Of course everything always had to be the best.

Chuck said...

I always thought the movies and the car scenes went together so well. I never knew all this history about the progression of vehicles over the years. Thanks to you Hilary, I now am smarter!

Botanist said...

As I was reading, I thought "Top Gear!" We just watched that episode a few days ago. Luckily we get access to a lot of BBC shows via BBC Canada and Netflix.

Mike Goad said...

Read this post on my phone at a restaurant after seeing "Skyfall."

Talk about timing... ;)

Tammy Theriault said...

love the bond cars! you have such original posts!!

Juliet said...

Hilary, I've got behind with my blog visits! What amazing angles you find. I was fascinated by this and learned a lot.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Diane .. once I'd mastered the 2CV I had such fun driving my uncle's around when I came back into the country from South Africa. I guess in the beginning they were using British cars, before product placement came in! - yes a car is a product placement!!

@ Yvonne - I've never quite got into it .. love the films when I get to see them - though some are cheesy! But the guys .. well ...

@ Stephen - no AMC Gremlin .. and I couldn't find it listed either - so that was a wild goose chase ... if it'd have been a Bond car I'd have posted a pic for you!

The Licence plates were even cleverer in Bond - all sorts for all countries too ..

@ Old Kitty - you've been to see SkyFall so love the tempters here - I'll see it next week ...

@ Joylene - I didn't pick that up - but Fleming was writing in the 50s initially ... so I guess once he got famous he could easily have done. Yes the music is great isn't it .. I too need to get to see SkyFall ..

@ Patsy - you're right there are some cheesy ones ..

@ Janie - I'd forgotten about that Aston Martin .. and that was an incredibly moving moment for William and Kate - and us for us to watch .. the Royal Wedding was special, I agree

@ DG - many boys totally get into Top Gear - I'll watch an occasional one ... glad I picked this one up though - quite entertaining.

The Bond men were incredibly unknowledgeable about the cars in the films! But they look good - still I think the girls outshine them!

@ A Lady's life .. they're just great fun movies - total escapism with the best gadgets .. even with a little imaginative take on the side.

@ Chuck - certainly I reflected some of the cars and scenes here .. there are a lot!!

@ Ian - being able to watch things again is really helpful isn't it - that's good at least you can satisfy some of your lost needs via the Beeb in Canada ...

@ Mike - gosh this is an eye opener comment!! I never thought someone, let alone you, would read a blog post of mine in a restaurant ... but timing as you say - presumably you enjoyed SkyFall?!

@ Tammy - delighted you enjoyed the posts ..

@ Juliet - no worries .. it was something different to write about .. and there's been quite a lot about 50 years of Bond around ..

Cheers everyone - so pleased you enjoyed this post... have great weekends - everyone is gearing up for Christmas here!! Hilary

MorningAJ said...

Don't shoot me - but I hate Bond films. I just don't get it. Oddly - the only one I ever liked doesn't feature in your post. OHMSS.
Ah well.

Elise Fallson said...

There are so many James Bond movies that I have never seen! But the Aston Martin is certainly one of my favorite sports cars. Interestingly enough, owners of the Aston Martin DBS can also buy a beautiful Jeager LeCoultre wristwatch that can also unlock your Aston Martin. The price for that particular timepiece is of course ridiculously expensive.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi AJ .. I won't shoot you - I'm only going to see SkyFall as it seems to be an eponymous Bond film ..

But OHMSS had the DBS and the Rolls Royce Silver Shadow and the film wasn't mentioned in the programme or anywhere that I read ... so that's why!! The DBS is there .. no picture though ..

Ah well as you say ... thankfully we all like different things!

@ Elise - well you've added something extra for the boys - that Jeager watch .. I'll have to look out for it. Oh ok - we need to get rich and then we can have both ..

Fun - cheers Hilary

Laura Eno said...

I've never been much interested in the Bond films as a whole, but their gadgets and especially the cars are fascinating! There's such an aura about them. You did a fabulous job, once again, of bringing so much information. A car in a fishtank? LOL
I had to snicker when you said you wrote "tire" in your notes. Many times lately I find myself spelling words in a British way. I wonder if it's because we are all so connected now by the internet? Perhaps one day we'll all spell every word the same way?

Kittie Howard said...

Many thanks, Hilary, for your lovely comment. Really appreciate it. I ordered something special for Rachel's wedding a while back. Sent it to her a couple of weeks ago. She's opening it today! Morgan Media is a business, so I pay for her services. However, Rachel goes the extra mile, is very thorough, and a delight to work with. She's also very generous and wants to throw in freebies but I refuse. They're a young couple getting started and so on. So we separate business from blogging friendship.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Laura - I think I fall on your side of the fence as far as Bond is concerned ... but they do 'amuse' - and the stories that came out via this programme were quite fun.

I know - couldn't believe I'd jotted down tire! You're doing the same are you with our British spelling - reading other's comments etc - it does identify where we come from.

Actually I rather like the individuality of life .. so not sure I agree with you on this thought - also language evolves incredibly quickly ... predictive text is pretty hopeless, texting - heaven knows what we're meant to be reading!! Interesting thought though.

@ Kittie - pleasure ... so pleased you'd organised that special something for Rachel - she sounds a special lady.

Good luck to them for their marriage and business prospects ..

So important to be supportive, but understand their needs too ...

I just hope you look after yourself - it's all been a big shock .. thinking of you ...

Cheers to you both: Laura and Kittie - see you soon - Hilary

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I was a huge fan of Bond books when I was young, and although I've enjoyed all the movies, I consider the only "real" Bond to be Sean Connery. (All the rest are imposters!) This was a terrific post, Hilary. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Fast gadget-filled cars and a hot leading man... what's not to like? Happy weekend.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susan .. I'm not sure I read many of the Bond books - they didn't impact obviously! And the films I've enjoyed - but I'm sort of ambivalent.

Yet I'm looking forward to SkyFall - and gadget filled cars and hot leading men - absolutely nothing not to like!

You too - happy weekend .. glad you're feeling better - Hilary

Rhonda Albom said...

50 years of Bond, wow. I am not a car buff, so believe it or not, the parts I found most interesting here were the hiring of the London Bus driver and the alka Seltzer for the bubble in the underwater car.

Unknown said...

I watched that episode of Top Gear and loved it! Just loved how the car went underwater.

Sherry Ellis said...

Bond cars are cool!

Denise Covey said...

Great post Hilary. I love the UK Top Gear. The Aussie one is lame too.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I love that silver Bentley!! Fun post. :)

Jo said...

Love all the cars, didn't realise there were so many. However, when the first Bond film came out I was disappointed because they were nothing like the books. Quite a different character.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Rhonda - me too .. but it's always fun to find out how things were put together.

@ Clarissa - that's great you saw the actual episode .. and the bubbles and trials and tribulations of getting the car to swim, then doing it with a model.

@ Sherry - they've all the gadgets and clever bits ..and are cool.

@ Denise - sounds like we have the best Top Gear - though I rarely watch.

@ Sharon - the Bentleys are great too ..

@ Jo - there were more cars .. but I couldn't put them all in!! I suppose the producer was licensed to thrill, not completely keep to the novel!

Thanks very much everyone - lovely to see you - Bond and his cars will be in our imagination for car scenes. Cheers Hilary

Manzanita said...

You sure do know your Bond cars (and Bond movies, too). Alex wants a Bugatti and isn't that the car Isadora Duncan was in when her scarf got tangled in the wheel and she died? Both Alex and Isadora have good taste but she just had bad luck. I don't know all those cars but I'll just take Sean. Ha

Paula RC said...

Thank you Hilary for a wonderful posting. Your research takes my breath away. It's amazing to think when Mr Fleming wrote his books he had no idea what brilliant character he was creating and how Mr Bond was going to out live him.

Bossy Betty said...

I happened to have seen the episode of Top Gear that you mentioned. It was so much fun hearing about the Bond Cars and your post reminds me of all the fun highlights!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Manzanita - regrettably I just watched the tv programme and did some added research .. not much.

Re Isadora - I had to find out more. Apparently she was a passenger in a French Amilcar (they only operated from 1921 - 1940) - and her scarf got caught in the spokes of the wheel. She used to call her handsome French-Italian mechanic "Bugatti" - hence your thought about the car. Really not a very nice way to die ....

Ah ah Sean Connery - oh ok ... good choice.

@ Paula - many thanks ... I wonder what Ian Fleming would make of his character now - sad we can't find out - but probably a good thing!

@ BB - did you see it in the States - I thought it'd take at least a few months before it became available over there ... oh well - so pleased you've seen it. It was fun ...

Cheers - lovely comments .. thank you - Hilary

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I LOVE the Aston Martin :)

Nas said...

Cool post! Loved all the photos as I'm hooked on everything Bond!

Inger said...

Wow! the Bond folks ought to give you a prize for this post. Did you research all this? It's amazing. I love that first Aston Martin DB5 in silver. That was quite a car in its day.

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,

I've seen that Top Gear special of the legendary James Bond's cars. And yes, the American version of the show is rubbish compared to ours.

I'm hoping that David Cameron might buy me an Aston Martin. Then I woke up...

What a fascinating article. And here's me thinking that James Bond was some kind of glue :)

Enjoy the day and thank you for your supportive emails. I am profoundly grateful.

In kindness and admiration, Gary.

Lynn said...

I am a huge James Bond fan, but love the films with Sean Connery the most. My niece encountered him coming off a golf course in Scotland once - I said, "What did you say???" She said she said Hi and he said Hi. :)

Great post. Love those cars.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Hilary -

I've seen a few of the Bond films, but I'm not so familiar with the cars. Personally, I'd love a car that could park itself!

Susan :)

Ciara said...

Bond's cars have always rocked. I'm a lover of old cars, so I cry when they get hurt. :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Keith - cars for the boys!

@ Nas - Bond does draw many in doesn't he ..

@ Inger - many thanks .. much was in a tv programme - but it was such much fun thought I'd reproduce some of it. The silver Aston Martin is still pretty special ..

@ Gary - you caught it too - it's interesting hearing about the different American or Australian versions. Oh dear - the dream sounds a little strange ... !!

Glue - well some of the ladies would happily get stuck to him ..

Have a great week and look after yourself ..

@ Lynn - we tend to get star struck don't we .. at least she eye-balled him and had a "hi"! Sean Connery has many Bond fans .. he doesn't appeal to me ... each to his own ..

@ Susan - ah the car that could park .. would help many of us. I'm sure Bond would have had those at times .. probably as he jumped into a helicopter and dashed off to rescue a needy girl ...

@ Ciara - Bond's cars do have panache with all their trickery .. that's wonderful that you have that hobby of old cars .. and you love Steampunk - think what they do to old bangers there ...

Cheers everyone - Bond has amused his public once again ... have good weeks Hilary

Anonymous said...

Ah, my husband has a Classic red DB6 (1967)- in fact he drove off in it this morning to take it in for a service.It is the best investment he has ever made as it never loses value. It also gives him hours of pleasure. Oh and his personalised number plate ends in BDB (Barker, Dave Barker)MInd you we think it looks like BOB Haha!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Debbie - how fantastic - gosh you'll have us all down visiting and getting rides. Talk about co-incidence! Also what fun to find out he still drives it and he enjoys the tinkering around with its innards, furnishings and polishing ... brilliant.

Great personalised number plate BDB .. and the thought of BOB is great fun ... well you've given me much pleasure reading this.

Happy driving days come next Spring - bed time for cars too - not just Bateman's ....

Cheers and delighted to see you - Hilary

Talli Roland said...

Great timing on this post, because I just saw SkyFall last Friday! And yes, of course, there was a great car that got blown up.

Interesting to see the cars Bond has driven over the years.

Robyn Campbell said...

I always dreamed of having a Bond car. How cool they are. But I drive a Ford Expedition. *sigh* Not too cool. Ha. (Though I would not go too fast.) Just leisurely driving with people checking out my car would be fine.

Loved this post, Hil. You teach me so much.

Karen Lange said...

Oh those cars are something, aren't they? I'd take any one of them. :) Perhaps they aren't the most practical for running errands, but they sure do make a statement!
Have a wonderful week,

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I've always liked the Bond cars.

Morgan said...

What a fun post! I'm quickly discovering that whenever I come here, Hilary, I'm learning something new. And that, is fun. :D

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Talli - I hope to see SkyFall this week and I'll watch out for the cars ... except I guess they're part and parcel of the whole, so I won't be able to miss it. Lots of films, lots of cars!

@ Robyn - I'd love a car with gadgets .. they're fun - but like you I'd parade around for all to see.

It was fun to write up .. thank you..

@ Karen - I suspect the petrol might be rather tiresome .. but for showing off - well no choice as they do make that statement ..

@ Diane - they do look good even when they're made out of cardboard ... or plastic bits ..but like you I rather like them ..

@ Morgan - many thanks .. I tend to do different and learn something new too ..

Cheers = great to see you all - happy weeks ahead .. Hilary

Friko said...

Like you said, toys for the boys.

I enjoy Bond films, that is the ones I have seen - I wouldn’t go out of my way for one -, I like the bling and the chutzpah and the nonsense. Escapism at its most blatant.

Good for a rainy evening, guaranteed to cheer the weary soul.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Friko - couldn't agree more - pure escapism for a dark cold night, or rainy day getting away from it all - and cheering that weary soul.

I'm going to pop to town to see the latest - this week I hope!

Cheers and I do hope you're feeling better - Hilary

Southpaw said...

When I was younger, the cars were the most exciting part of the movies.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Holly - I just enjoyed the escape and the music .. but also the cars of course .. cheers Hilary

Chase March said...

Hi Hilary,

Haven't seen the new bond film yet but I appreciate that they don't use CGI. As real as some computer animated scenes look, you can always tell something is a bit off. I much prefer the old film techniques. Especially a well done car chase :)


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chase .. nor have I and I hope the local cinema has it on still this week and preferably into next: as it's on my list to see!

Reality is so much better than faking it - though gaffes can be fun!

Cheers Hilary

Empty Nest Insider said...

I love all of the Bond cars! Though they're a joy to look at, the older I get the more trouble I have getting in and out of the car. Julie

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Julie .. many thanks .. Bond amuses doesn't he .. I'm still to see Skyfall ... oh yea getting in and out cars, especially those sportsy type cars .... challenging! ....cheers Hilary

Tamara said...

Love all those cars. I would take any one of them. haha. I haven't seen Skyfall yet, waiting for the dvd, but my husband and son said it was awesome.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tamara .. I still have to see SkyFall ... sometime soon I hope! Delighted your hubby and son thoroughly enjoyed it - it's definitely a father-son movie ..

Cheers Hilary

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

Hilary, thanks for being such a good friend and support to us through our travels and life transitions. wishing you the happiest of holidays and a wonderful new year. - Melissa & Richard

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Melissa .. thanks for coming by - appreciate you leaving a comment ... you've had a wonderful journey - with lots of things going on .. and your recent schools-author tour - and now to settle for a while. Good to see you .. Hilary