Growing up, I wasn’t quite your average idea of a little girl. I preferred animals to dolls, and books to makeup and clothes. I also harboured the dream of becoming a spy! This did come to an end aged about 12, but I remember the days of roping in family members and friends to be part of a ‘Secret Society’, with the family pets as society mascots… What can I say, a diet of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven certainly influenced me! But I was also more than a little wrapped up in the adventures of arguably the world’s most famous spy: James Bond. My dad and I would enjoy collecting the videos and lining them up on the shelves, and choosing which one to watch on a Saturday night. Back in the days when VHS was still the big thing, the spines of the James Bond videos all made up a panorama of Bond and his weapons on a background of flames, which was highly exciting for my ten year old self!
So when this particular Time Out Offer popped up in my email inbox, I couldn’t resist. The Film Museum was holding an exhibition of James Bond vehicles: Bond in Motion. I knew this sort of thing would be right up Ben’s street, and it came with good timing for Ben’s birthday (delayed only by the need to find a day we were both off!). A few days ago we made a trip to Covent Garden to the Film Museum.
We were greeted at the door by a large model helicopter hanging in the entrance hall, covered in shrapnel damage and bearing a model pilot, and the eponymous film theme music blasting out on surround sound!
As part of the ticket deal we also got an audio guide, which I highly recommend, because unless you really know your Bond, you’ll be a bit lost! It’s also narrated by the man who used to play The Stig on Top Gear, driver Ben Collins. First off, he directed us to the top floor, where we found some boards with concept art and the snapboards from some of the more recent films. There was a model of the MI6 building and a sketch for a flying car. But this was all an appetiser for the cars, all ranged out in the artfully lit basement.
First up were some of the heavyweights, starting with Goldfinger’s golden Rolls Royce Phantom III. From the film of the same name, it even bears the number plate AU1, because AU is the chemical symbol for gold on the Periodic Table, and with all its modifications weighs in at almost 8000lb (or 3628kg/571 stone!)
This was followed by a silver Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II, from the film A View To A Kill. The film’s producer, Cubby Broccoli (yes, that is his real name!), leant his personal car for the purpose. It is sent off to a watery grave in the film but luckily for Broccoli they sent a replacement car into the water in his place!
I’m afraid that all knowledge of cars and their engines bypasses me slightly, so I will have to leave my commentary to the name of the car, miscellaneous trivia and pictures of pretty cars. Though of course it wasn’t all about cars. Behold the Acrostar BD-5J Jet, a tiny little plane which featured in Octopussy.
Next up we saw a trio of impressive machines: a silver Aston Martin V12 Vanquish, a yellow Bombardier MX Z-Rev Ski-doo and a green Jaguar XKR. These are all from Die Another Day, which I shamefully have yet to see, and were all used for filming in Iceland.
One of my favourite cases in the display showcased personal documents from the films, including James Bond’s passports! I was interested to see the change in dates of birth to accommodate when the films were shot, and that in one passport he is shown as born in London, and in the other as born in Berlin.
Ben liked ‘Little Nellie’, a fierce little autogyro used in You Only Live Twice and carrying machine guns, flamethrowers and rockets.
There were also two of the more unusual vehicles used in the Bond universe for a chase (which is up against some competition!): a Tuk Tuk Taxi from Octopussy, and a yellow Citroen 2CV (complete with bullet holes!) from For Your Eyes Only.
We had a great time wandering round, reliving our childhoods and bringing out our inner secret agents, which led to the following posing under the 007 motif on the wall at the end. Ben turned his nose up at it, but what can I say, I have no shame! The names’s Bond…Sophie Bond…
If you fancy going along to drool over some maginificent and exciting vehicles, or you fancy earning brownie points with a beloved petrol head by taking them with you, then you can find tickets here. As far as I’m aware, the exhibition runs until March 2015.