Now on view at the London Film Museum is Bond in Motion, a must-see permanent exhibition that traces the history of the franchise through the many vehicles (cars, boats, motorbikes, sleds, jets, helicopter and more) that James Bond used over the years.
I’m a huge Bond fan, but I hadn’t heard about this exhibition until I spotted an ad at a tube station in London in August, 2015. It didn’t disappoint.
As you walk into the museum, you can’t miss a helicopter hanging from the ceiling. My first thought was that it was the same one from which Major Onatopp, one of the villains in GoldenEye (1995), rappelled down to catch James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) in a chokehold. But I found out that it was from Skyfall (2012).
Also on the upper mezzanine are concept art and storyboards which have never been seen before. It was exciting to see each frame of this scene in From Russia with Love (1963) one of my favorites, detailed on paper.
Down the stairs (you can also take an elevator) to the lower level are the vehicles – 50 of them. If you love cars, this is the place to go.
It was thrilling to see Auric Goldfinger’s classic 1937 Rolls Royce Phantom III, Goldfinger (1964). It’s as clean as a whistle as if Oddjob, his henchman or some other underling, had just finished detailing it.
Tracy (Diana Rigg) and James escaped Ernst Stavros Blofeld, head of SPECTRE, in this red Mercury in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969). This is the only film that starred George Lazenby (not my favorite Bond) and the only time Bond got married. Sadly, Tracy was killed just after the wedding.
Halle Berry (Jinx) emerging from the sea in Die Another Day referenced Ursula Andress (Honey Ryder) in Dr. No, the first Bond movie (which was filmed in Jamaica, where Ian Fleming escaped to write the Bond stories) but the cars were unmistakably modern, even a bit futuristic.
Except for Skyfall and the latest, Spectre, I’ve seen each Bond film at least 50 times – they never get old. But I felt an adrenalin rush when I saw this car, the Aston Martin that Daniel Craig (my other favorite Bond) crashed so spectacularly (the car rolled seven times!) in Casino Royale (2006). With Skyfall, Craig convinced skeptical fans who’d never seen a blond Bond, that he was Bond.
Some of the other vehicles you’ll see at Bond in Motion: Little Nellie, You Only Live Twice (1967), the Ford Mustang Mach I, Diamonds are Forever (1971), the AMC Hornet Hatchback, The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), the Lotus Esprit S1, The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) Citroen 2CV, For Your Eyes Only (1981), and the Q Boat from The World in Not Enough (1999).
All the vehicles in Bond in Motion are originals that were used for filming. The majority of them are on loan from the EON Production archives and the Ian Fleming Foundation, which located and restored many of them.
I remember this scene at Valentin Zukovsky’s Caviar Factory in the World is Not Enough (1999). And thanks to the plaque on the model, now I know how they did it.
The Art Department created the model “so that production could work out how to construct the real set and perform the scene. It has little red dotted lines to indicate where the breakaways are for the helicopter blades.”
If you want to be Bond for a minute, there’s a photo studio in the back of the museum where you can don the classic suit and take your photo.
There’s also a museum shop in the back of the lower level where you can buy licensed Bond memorabilia and Bond in Motion souvenirs.
The Cars of Spectre at Bond in Motion
Visitors to Bond in Motion will be in for a rare treat as a new exhibition, The Cars of Spectre, opens on November 18th. This exhibition will feature never before seen vehicles, props, models and costumes from Spectre, the latest Bond movie, which opens today in US. According to the website, the exhibition will include the Hero Aston Martin DB10 and a stunt- damaged Jaguar C-X75.
Travel Essentials – Bond in Motion
Hours: Everyday 10 a.m. to 6:00 pm except Saturday 10 a.m. to 7:00 pm. The last entry an hour before closing
Tickets: Adult £14.50, Children (5-15) £12.50, Family £38.00 (includes admission to The Cars of Spectre)
Photography (no flash) allowed
London Film Museum
45 Wellington St