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In this series, I visit out of the way automotive venues which provide a sanctuary for the petrolhead, a feast for all the senses and which make the shortlist for “My Car Heaven on Earth”. Central London is not normally where you would expect to find a car heaven and indeed you can’t really describe...
In this series, I visit out of the way automotive venues which provide a sanctuary for the petrolhead, a feast for all the senses and which make the shortlist for “My Car Heaven on Earth”.
Central London is not normally where you would expect to find a car heaven and indeed you can’t really describe it as “out of the way”, although if you’re driving a car it isn’t that easy to get to. But in Wellington Street, just on the edge of Covent Garden, is the London Film Museum’s flagship exhibition “Bond in Motion“.
As the name suggests, it is a collection of iconic examples of vehicles used by James Bond, his accomplices and his adversaries during the 25 official Bond films, including the yet to be released “No Time to Die”.
Descending the stairs into the basement exhibition space your eyes are immediately filled with the battleship-like side of a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II in which “Chauffeur” Patrick Macnee drove a rather ageing Roger Moore to Max Zorin’s chateau in A View to a Kill. Over your shoulder is another Rolls Royce, the unforgettable black and yellow Phantom III belonging to Auric Goldfinger and driven by mute henchman Odd-Job.
A few more steps in and you’re up close to the first three of around seven Aston Martins (eight if you count an ejection seat SFX rig) – the marque most synonymous with 007. An opaque-windowed Spectre DB10, a very battle-worn DBS from the gripping Quantum of Solace pre-title sequence and a well-armed Vanquish (or Vanish) from Die Another Day alongside its green Jaguar XKR opponent.
After a thankfully brief nod to the Pierce Brosnan BMW era with a pre-production mocked up Z8 (The World is Not Enough) and 750iL (Tomorrow Never Dies) we are back in the hands of Newport Pagnell with the V8 Vantage from The Living Daylights; complete with ski outrigger.
The muscular ‘80s V8 crops up again in the next space along with a Land Rover Series III SWB, new Defender 110 and “DB5” direct from the set of No Time to Die. The new Defender seems to have been given similar treatment to the Quantum DBS and in the damaged areas you can still see mud from the Norwegian location. The DB5 stunt car, understood to be some kind of BMW underneath, has continuity “damage” applied – vinyl grafts of side scrapes and bullet strikes in the glass. In an interesting twist on the revolving number plate from Goldfinger, this DB5 sports an LED display front plate with registrations which we assume are “valid in all countries”.
The next area is a mix of cars from some of the older films – a red Mustang Mach 1 up on two wheels (Diamonds are Forever), Yellow Citroen 2CV (For Your Eyes Only), Mercury Cougar (OHMSS) and an AMC Hornet (The Man With The Golden Gun) like the one responsible for probably the most memorable Bond car stunt – the corkscrew bridge jump. Another DB5, this one with many film credits (Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough, Casino Royale and Skyfall) rounds off the display of cars.
It isn’t just four-wheeled movie stars on show. All manner of conventional and often unconventional means of conveyance on land, in the air and on (or under) water are on display alongside props, costumes and other memorabilia from the franchise. A room dedicated to marine transportation includes a speedboat from Live and Let Die, the black Q-boat in which Brosnan chased the “cigar girl” along the Thames in The World is Not Enough and of course the iconic submersible Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me.
Aside from those used in the latest film, the majority of the vehicles have a large screen alongside playing a movie clip of their star turn as well as other artefacts from the production and interpretation boards nearby. Supporting exhibits as diverse as a motorised crocodile (Octopussy), a jet-powered backpack (Thunderball), Zao’s cowled cloak (Die Another Day) and Tee-Hee’s mechanical arm (Live and Let Die) all add colour and interest to the experience.
As you make your way out, passing under “Little Nellie” the gyrocopter from You Only Live Twice, take a few minutes to marvel at the diversity of the 007-related merchandise on sale in the shop. My favourite was the doormat printed with the line “I’ve been expedition you Mr Bond…” – sufficiently cheesy as to actually be rather cool.
Bond in Motion is not particularly expensive but you don’t need much more than an hour to do it justice – although if you really engaged in all the exhibits and displays you could stretch it to two. It wasn’t busy when I visited mid-week but there were a dozen or so other visitors there from different countries; testament to the international appeal of our British hero. There are few collections of cars that can evoke so many happy cinematic memories as Bond in Motion and even if you’re not the biggest fan of 007 you’re sure to find something of interest.
Now, how much is that doormat…?
He’s a cool video that we came across from Carfection, that looks at a supercar favourite of ours the De Tomaso Pantera. The De Tomaso Pantera might not be the best known Supercar of all time, but it has an amazing history. Alex Goy takes you on a journey through De Tomaso’s history and drives the...
The De Tomaso Pantera might not be the best known Supercar of all time, but it has an amazing history. Alex Goy takes you on a journey through De Tomaso’s history and drives the legendary Pantera.
Enjoy. I did.
In the early 1990s, with Aston Martin wrapped in the corporate arms of Ford’s Premier Automotive Group, the beleaguered British marque needed something new to break away from the long in the tooth V8 derivatives of the DBS, itself a derivative of the DB6. Ford-owned sister company Jaguar was planning a new sports coupé to...
In the early 1990s, with Aston Martin wrapped in the corporate arms of Ford’s Premier Automotive Group, the beleaguered British marque needed something new to break away from the long in the tooth V8 derivatives of the DBS, itself a derivative of the DB6.
Ford-owned sister company Jaguar was planning a new sports coupé to replace the XJS and was working with Tom Walkinshaw and TWR Design on some concepts. When Jaguar decided to pull the plug due to financial issues, Walkinshaw took the idea to Aston along with his young designer and fellow Scot, Ian Callum.
The resulting model was the inline-six-cylinder DB7, a step-change in direction and design but the return of the David Brown nomenclature to evoke the spirit of Aston’s glory days. Although an evolution of the XJS chassis, sporting a “Jaguar” TWR-built engine and production-line built in the same Bloxham factory as the XJ220, the DB7 was a huge success for Aston Martin and came to be known as the car that saved the company.
Further developed in both Coupé and Volante format, adding V12 power for the Vantage variant, the DB7 accounted for one third of all Astons ever built with total production of over 7,000 cars.
To celebrate the success of the model and give it a last hurrah, Aston rekindled their relationship with Italian carrozzeria and styling house Zagato – a partnership begun in 1960 with the sublime DB4 GT Zagato. Aston design chief Henrik Fisker (Callum by now well established at Jaguar) and Andrea Zagato (grandson of founder Ugo) collaborated to create the DB7 Vantage Zagato which debuted at Pebble Beach Concours in 2002 and immediately sold out when launched to market a year later.
The new, more curvy body-shell, sitting on a DB7 Vantage chassis shortened by two inches, featured a very distinctive large front grille opening, a signature “double-bubble” roof line which continued down the sculptured glass rear window to a Kamm tail with single round tail lights either side of a flip-down boot opening. Zagato-designed 5-spoke alloy wheel rims completed what was an incredibly striking external look in comparison to the DB7 Vantage.
Inside, high quality aniline leathers (coloured using soluble dyes to retain the texture of the original leather) cloaked the whole cabin and typically featured diamond quilting and embossing to further add to the distinctive luxurious ambiance.
Under the bonnet was the 6.0 litre V12 from the DB7 Vantage, now tuned to 440 bhp and 410 lb.ft of torque coupled with a six-speed manual transmission and capable of a top speed of 190 mph – a slight increase on the 184 mph of the manual DB7 Vantage.
Due to issues around type approval for the shortened chassis, the DB7 Vantage Zagato couldn’t be offered for sale in the USA but the demand was such that an unshortened Zagato variant of the DB7 Vantage Volante was created and named the DB AR1 (AR standing for American Roadster).
Only 100 Zagato coupés for Europe and Asian markets and 100 DB AR1 convertibles for North America were built, 99 of each for sale and the others for Aston’s museum collection. Just under half of the coupés built are in the UK with only 20 still licensed for the road. So to see one it will likely be at an event like the Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court, or for sale at a specialist dealer like McGurk’s, Dylan Miles or RS Williams where it will cost you upwards of around £280,000 to get your name on the V5.
If the DB7 was “the car that saved Aston Martin” then the DB7 Vantage Zagato will forever serve as a fittingly dramatic and heroic finale for the model and it takes its place as one of the best Aston-Zagato collaborations – perhaps second only to the original DB4 GT Zagato.
In my view though it easily tops the list of Zagato designs that most improved upon the original car. Can you think of any better? Let us know in the comments below.
Ever wanted to know what the inside of Chris Harris’ head looks like? Well here’s a Top Gear video we came across, where he’s salivating over this massive car collection, of 120 cars, and why not. In Chris’s words, “it’s the greatest collection of left-field, usable performance cars from the past 40 years”. He chooses...
Ever wanted to know what the inside of Chris Harris’ head looks like? Well here’s a Top Gear video we came across, where he’s salivating over this massive car collection, of 120 cars, and why not. In Chris’s words, “it’s the greatest collection of left-field, usable performance cars from the past 40 years”.
He chooses just 1 as his favourite. A very cool video and good watch.
Here’s another cool video from Jay Leno’s Garage, that takes a look a a personal favourite supercar of ours, and very rare, the awesome Bugatti EB110. Derek Hill raced Bugatti EB110s and in this video Jay reunites him with this rare, all carbon fiber bodied marque. This Bugatti is part of the Unicorn Sanctuary collection and...
Derek Hill raced Bugatti EB110s and in this video Jay reunites him with this rare, all carbon fiber bodied marque. This Bugatti is part of the Unicorn Sanctuary collection and brought to you by AlphaLuxe and AlphaLuxe.com
In the last few months, the Department of Transport have released data on penalty point holders, which makes for interesting reading-there are some interesting conclusions from car leasing company flexed.co.uk on what this means for drivers in the UK: 71% of penalty point holders are male Only 0.03% have 12 or more points Younger drivers...
In the last few months, the Department of Transport have released data on penalty point holders, which makes for interesting reading-there are some interesting conclusions from car leasing company flexed.co.uk on what this means for drivers in the UK:
Unfortunately for those living in the North, 3 northern towns (Bradford, Huddersfield and Halifax) are at the top of the list for the postcodes with the highest percentage of points holders, as well as Bradford having the most number of drivers that have 12 or more points on their license.
You can find out more about this data in the infographic below!
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