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Bond in Motion enjoys top-speed start in London's Convent Garden

By: Adam Bollard
Published:
2014-03-19
Bond in Motion Covent Garden London
FSWL received an invitation to the launch of the new Bond in Motion exhibition at the London Film Museum. Contributor Adam Bollard reports from the star-packed press day.

The association of exciting and exotic vehicles with Eon Productions’ James Bond film series has always been a long and celebrated one. So perhaps it should come as no surprise that the launch of the Bond in Motion exhibition at the London Film Museum in Covent Garden on Tuesday (March 18) was such a big hit with the worldwide media.

Bond in Motion Covent Garden London
Flashbulbs popped and TV cameras captured the comprehensive collection of legendary cars, motorcycles, boats and props that have featured in the 23 Bond movies over their 50-year-plus history. Meanwhile, interviewers buzzed around glamorous 007-associated celebrities including Naomie Harris (Eve Moneypenny in Skyfall (2012)), Caterina Murino (Solange in Casino Royale), Maryam d’Abo (Kara Milovy in The Living Daylights) and Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson, as well as special effects supervisor Chris Corbould and production designers past and present Peter Lamont, Dennis Gassner and the legendary Sir Ken Adam. Also in attendance during the day were stunt maestro Vic Armstrong and his wife Wendy Leech.

Bond in Motion Covent Garden London
Parked in the Q Department-like basement that houses much of the exhibition were not just the Aston Martin DB5 that featured in GoldenEye (1995), the submersible-modified white Lotus Esprit S1 from The Spy Who Loved Me, the Aston Martin V8 (Volante) as seen in ‘The Living Daylights’ and the Wallis WA-116 Agile autogyro (‘Little Nellie’) from You Only Live Twice, but more surprisingly – and very impressively – the red Mercury Cougar XR7 (complete with skis) from On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Bond’s red Glastron GT-150 speedboat from Live and Let Die, the Wetbike as seen in ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ and an Aston Martin DBS each from ‘Casino Royale’ and Quantum of Solace, both of which remain in a wonderfully smashed-up state following the visceral sequences in which they feature.

Bond in Motion Covent Garden London
Ensuring the ‘Bond in Motion’ exhibition came to the British capital, which had been held previously at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, Hampshire, had been a long held dream of Jonathan Sands, CEO of the London Film Museum. It was realised thanks to the tireless work of Eon Productions and The Ian Fleming Foundation, to whose archive the vehicles and props variously belong, and in particular Meg Simmonds at Eon.

Bond in Motion Covent Garden London
Both were on hand to direct visitors to the well arranged sections in which the exhibits are arranged (for instance, the Rolls-Royces Phantom III and Silver Cloud II – from Goldfinger (1964) and A View to a Kill respectively – are together; the Dalton/ Brosnan-era vehicles are together; the Craig-era Aston Martins are together and the sea-faring vessels are all together in a ‘Wet’ section).

Bond in Motion Covent Garden London
Also on hand to discuss his work on the series was stunt driver Ben Collins, whom worked on ‘Casino Royale’, ‘Quantum of Solace’ and ‘Skyfall’. Familiar to viewers of TV’s ‘Top Gear’ as ‘The Stig’, Ben is especially known for taking the reins of the Aston Martin DBS for the high-octane chase captured in Italy for the opening sequence of ‘Quantum of Solace’. Among other things, he informed the collected media that the appearance of the DBS, looking battered but still magnificent even without its driver-side door, was enhanced by spreading on it white chalk from the Fantiscritti quarry in Carrara, from which centuries ago Michelangelo carefully selected marble for his David statue. Clearly what’s good enough for Bond is also good enough for great Renaissance art.

Bond in Motion Covent Garden London
Of particular delight for Bond fans is that the exhibition boasts several firsts. On show for the very first time are a 1/3 scale model AgustaWestland AW101 helicopter (as featured in ‘Skyfall’); concept sketches of Drax vehicles and of the Q-Craft from Moonraker (1979) (the latter from the pen of Sir Ken Adam himself); a storyboard of the tanker chase sequence in Licence to Kill; Bond’s evaluation report from ‘Skyfall’ (not even seen on-screen); Bond’s cufflinks featuring his family’s coat-of-arms (also from ‘Skyfall’); Vesper Lynd’s passport from ‘Casino Royale’ (in the name of alias ‘Stephanie Broadchest’); an SFX remote-control box produced by the crew so they could operate the gadgets on the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish and the Jaguar XKR in Die Another Day (both vehicles are also in the exhibition) and the steering wheel from the ‘Disco Volante’ yacht in Thunderball (1965) (the only surviving piece from that particular set).

Bond in Motion Covent Garden London
The exhibition is so comprehensive that visitors may be happily surprised to discover it also offers the chance to see up-close the Acrostar BD-5J jet, the Tuk-Tuk taxi and the Q-made crocodile submarine (all from Octopussy (1983)); the mini-Q Boat and a Parahawk (from The World Is Not Enough); the roofless Renault 11 TXE taxi (from ‘A View to a Kill’), the yellow Citroën 2CV from (For Your Eyes Only) and a collection of motorcycles, most notably including the two Honda CRF250Rs that feature in the ‘Skyfall’ opening sequence.

Bond in Motion Covent Garden London
The celebrations for the exhibition’s opening continue on Sunday (March 23), when the museum will host an Aston Martin Owners Club event, which will see several classic Aston Martins parked around Covent Garden piazza.

Bond in Motion Covent Garden London
Bond in Motion Covent Garden London
‘Bond in Motion’ opens at the London Film Museum on Friday (March 21). It will be open seven days a week and is planned to run throughout 2014. Ticket prices are £14.50 for adults, £9.50 for children (under-fives go free) and £38 for a family ticket.

Videos:
• Movie motor greats line up in 'Bond in Motion' exhibition (Euronews):


Editor's note:
Thanks to Eon Productions, Jonathan Sands, Sam Fane & Sal Porter (Freuds) and everyone at London Film Museum.

And to our friends and fellow members from the Bond community that also received an invitation to the launch:
• Ben Williams (MI6-hq.com)
Mark O'Connell (Author of the Catching Bullets)
• Remmert van Braam (jamesbondlifestyle.com)

This article was written exclusively for FSWL by Adam Bollard. © 2014 From Sweden with Love.

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