One of the things I really wanted to do whilst I was back in the nations capital was to visit this exhibition at London Film Museum in Covent Garden. With no-one else interested in going with me it was just a question of finding some time to myself to visit this fairly pricey place (£14.50 entry), and thankfully that opportunity arose the day after we returned to London from our mini trip back to my hometown.
This museum boasts as having the largest official collection of original 007 vehicles and is the largest display of its kind ever staged in London. The majority are loaned from the archive of EON Productions who produce the movies and the Ian Fleming Foundation who have located and restored many of the vehicles.
The ticket sellers at reception advise you to start upstairs on the upper mezzanine that features some examples of the production company’s concept art and storyboards which was interesting enough but it’s downstairs where the real excitement exists as that’s where you can see the vast collection of vehicles representing almost all of the 23 Bond movies thus far.
Each and every vehicle thankfully has a large TV screen next to it looping the moments it was seen in the film which is a great idea and really adds to the occasion as it isn’t too easy remembering the role each car, motorbike or whatever played in the movie.
There are about 50 James Bond vehicles on display and below are a selection of them:
* Skyfall (2012): Honda CRF250R – The motorcycle which Bond rode through the streets and bazaars of Istanbul as he chased an assailant in the films pre-title sequence.
* Quantum Of Solace (2008): Aston Martin DBS & Montesa Cota 4RT – The former was heavily damaged after a chase at the beginning of the film in Siena, Italy. The motorcycle was rode through the streets of Haiti which in reality were filmed in Panama.
* Casino Royale (2006) – Aston Martin DBS V12 – A product placement deal with Aston Martin was probably the main reason this one featured on screen. The car only features a spare gun and a defibrillator and was destroyed during Bond’s pursuit of Le Chiffre.
* Die Another Day (2002): Aston Martin V12 Vanquish – The infamous car possessing a rather silly gimmick; the ability to effectively become invisible at the push of a button.
* The World Is Not Enough (1999): Q’s Retirement Recreational Boat – The boat which Bond rode along the Thames, and even under it, in hot pursuit of an assassin.
* Tomorrow Never Dies (1997): BMW R1200C & BMW 750iL – The stolen motorcycle was ridden through the streets of Saigon with Bond and Wai Lin handcuffed together. The car was remotely controlled by Bond during a chase inside Brent Cross shopping centre car park in London which doubled up as ‘Hamburg’.
* The Living Daylights (1987): Aston Martin V8 + Cello Case Sled and case – The combination of 007 and Aston Martin were reunited for Timothy Dalton’s first outing as the double agent.
* A View To A Kill (1985): Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II & Renault 11 2XE – Bond is driven around in the impressive Rolls whilst the Renault features in an early car chase as 007 pursues an assassin through Paris at high speeds whereby it loses its roof and manages to jump onto and off a sight-seeing bus.
* Octopussy (1983): Acrostar BD-5J Jet & the auto rickshaw – This mini-folding jet was originally owned by Budweiser and can be seen exiting a horse-box. The latter was driven through the streets of Udaipur with Bond as a passenger rather at the controls.
* The Spy Who Loved Me (1977): Lotus Esprit S1 – Q delivers this special submarine car to Bond in Sardinia. It is equipped with anti-aircraft missiles.
* Diamonds Are Forever (1971): Honda ATC 90 ATV & Ford Mustang Mach 1 – The dune buggy that went after Bond whilst the car is owned by Tiffany Case and during the Las Vegas chase it manages to balance on two side wheels to drive through a narrow alley although it mysteriously exits on the other two wheels in one of the great 007 movie goofs.
* You Only Live Twice (1967): “Little Nellie” – the aircraft flown by Bond to try and locate Blofeld’s hidden rocket base from the air. The weapons include two fixed machine guns, rocket launchers, heat-seeking missiles, rear-firing flame guns and aerial mines.
* Goldfinger (1964): Rolls-Royce Phantom III & Aston Martin DB5 – The Rolls was owned by Auric Goldfinger and driven by Oddjob; one of the great Bond villains. The Aston Martin prototype has appeared in many Bond films but with slightly different number plates.
There’s a photo opportunity allowing you to don a tuxedo (top half only) and recreate the gun barrel scene which features in all the movies. This could be pretty cool but £8 for something that could just as easily be done online for free was not worth it in my eyes!
There’s a cafe and souvenir shop beyond the main gallery which you need to pass through to exit the place. The cafe is surrounded by a few artefacts as well as a GoldenEye pinball machine and the gift shop is a place like no other with just about every conceivable product having the ‘Bond In Motion’ label on it. Needless to say that the 007 fans were lapping it all up!
The London Film Museum is open 7 days a week from 10am and is located at 45 Wellington Street in Covent Garden. It is open for the rest of this year.
The London Film Museum in County Hall on the Southbank closed at the end of last year.