We’ve all wanted cars we can’t have… but how about wanting cars that don’t exist? Well, OK, maybe some of these do, but when is the last time you operated an oil slick or machine gun from your driver’s seat? Had pontoon skis pop out of your rocker panels? Have you ever said, “Can you swim?” then driven off the end of a dock? Lost an unwanted passenger via an ejector seat? Of course you and I haven’t, but we all know somebody that has, with vehicles that feature all of these “usual refinements” and more, and he’s been around for quite some time now.
In 1944, Ian Fleming (1908-1964), at his estate in Jamaica named Goldeneye, began writing thirteen novels about a fictional secret agent named after orinthologist James Bond, who wrote “Birds of The West Indies.” Of course, the movies vary greatly from the books, and we all have our favorite 007 film and actor. In my case, it was and is Sir Roger Moore and his seven James Bond films, the most of any actor..
EON Productions, who made all the Bond films (Except for “Never Say Never Again“), is an acronym meaning “Everything Or Nothing,” as Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli (1909-1996) literally bet the farm on “Dr. No” in 1961, released in 1962. His family, in Italy, crossed cauliflower and rabe to make the vegetable that bears their name.
This mini car/ vehicle/ aircraft/ submarine/ moon buggy collection madness I started began in March of 2008 when I saw that Walgreens was selling James Bond cars made by Corgi. Those names are well known and respected, of course, so I instantly knew the marriage would be a good one. I was not disappointed. I can’t believe that some of these cars, perhaps even the finest in the collection, sold for as little as $7.
The Lotus Esprit from “The Spy Who Loved Me” may be the best of the bunch as far as both quality and quantity of its operating features. One button releases propellers, fins, and wings for underwater navigation, while another fires rockets to get rid of any “uninvited guest.” The tiny DB5 offers a working ejector seat (“You’re joking, ‘Q’?”), rear metal bulletproof screen, pop-out front machine guns, and battering rams.
Some of these vehicles do little but sit and look cool, like the bronze Lotus Esprit from “For Your Eyes Only.” There is a wrecked Citroen 2CV from that same film available, but I found the undamaged one first, and could not justify buying both of them. On the right here is the moon buggy from “Diamonds Are Forever.” Also, Auric Goldfinger’s 1937 Rolls-Royce 111 SEDANCE De VILLE sits proudly in finely-detailed glory with manservant Odd Job tipping his bowler hat to a lady. The 1974 AMC Matador reveals its copper hue in stationary repose. And in the “For What It’s Worth” department, a helicopter has been featured in every Bond film except for two.
Online, these things just keep popping up… but I have to stop somewhere, as my bank account pales compared to Willard Whyte‘s. Seems the more obscure the car is, the more pricey it becomes. For example, the Ford Thunderbird from “Goldfinger” costs around $50 with shipping. I finally found the black Lincoln Continental that took the unfortunate Mr. Solo to his “pressing engagement.” And if you will, next time you see “Goldfinger,” please look close as the Lincoln is carried to the crusher and you’ll see there’s no engine in it, and maybe not even a firewall!
The Corgi cars are 1:36 scale, while the cars from Universal Hobbies are a smaller 1:43 scale. A few more here are an unknown scale.
I thought about listing them individually, but hoped it would be more fun if you tried to name each one and the film(s) it is from. They are obviously in no particular order, and yes, one is upside down, somewhat true to its place in movie history. Another is supposed to be on two wheels. The oak shelf unit is put together without screws except for the wall-mounting hardware. If there are any questions about any of the models, please feel free to ask, or send an email to Miss Moneypenny at universalexports.ukgov.
The most famous James Bond car of all has got to be the tricked-out Aston Martin DB5, which has made its way into seven of the 25 (or so) Bond features so far. The films and the car have gone together so well that they each helped make the other the successes that they are today. It is equipped with revolving license plates valid in all countries, bullet-proof windscreen, side windows, and rear window; an audio-visual display tied to a magnetic homing device with a range of 150 miles; armrest controls for left- and right-front fender machine guns, a smoke screen, an oil slick, and rear bulletproof metal screen; retractable tire shredders, passenger ejector seat, and 3-point nail ejectors. All this, and still room in the boot for a jet pack. (Oh, the nail ejectors were cut from the films because they might have given kids the wrong kind of inspirations.)
The James Bond films are the most successful franchise in movie history. Each new story (And car chase) faces the challenge of meeting and exceeding the one before. Though The Cold War ended some time ago, EON Productions, now guided by Cubby’s daughter Barbara Broccoli, has faced this challenge with great success. And with the help of Aston Martin and other marques, our favorite secret agent on Her Majesty’s Secret Service will no doubt thrill us for some time to come. James Bond Will Return.
And thank you so much, Sir Roger. Your films and your legacy will be with us forever.
Information Credits: “The James Bond Films” and “The Complete James Bond Movie Encyclopedia,” both by Steven Jay Rubin, were the sources of technical and other information for my blabber.
Image Credits: Yours truly is responsible for the miniature/model photographs. The Sir Roger Moore 007 movie titles image was found at BritainExplorer.com.