by That Car Guy on January __, 2009
We all lust after 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? Said "Can you swim", and drove off the end of a dock? Lost an unwanted passenger via ejector seat? Of course, we all know somebody that has 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. EON Productions, who made all the Bond films, 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 my buddy here, Shawn, said 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 the finest of the collection, sold for as little as $7. The Lotus Esprit 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 an uninvited guest. The tiny DB5 offers a working ejector seat ("You're joking, 'Q'?"), rear metal bulletproof screen, and pop-out front machine guns and battering rams. Sorry, no nail ejectors.
Some of these vehicles do little but sit and look cool, like the bronze Lotus 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. Maybe I'll "wreck" this one. Also, Auric Goldfinger's 1937 Rolls-Royce 111 SEDANCE De VILLE sits proudly in finely-detailed glory with Odd Job tipping his bowler hat to a lady. The 1974 AMC Matador reveals its copper hue in stationary repose. In the "For What It's Worth" department, a helicopter has been featured in every Bond film.
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, though I'd really like to have the black Lincoln Continental that took the unfortunate Mr. Solo to his pressing engagement. Please look close in the movie 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.
The most famous James Bond car of all has got to be the tricked-out Aston Martin DB5, which has made its way into five of the twenty-two 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. The nails were cut from the films because they might have given kids the wrong kind of inspirations. All this, and still room in the boot for a jet pack.
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.
"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.
--That Car Guy (Chuck)