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BBC's Sumit Bose
A treat for car lovers as 007's bondmobiles go on show
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Tuesday, 7 November, 2000, 13:49 GMT
On the road with 007
Aston Martin car
Aston Martin: Star of the movie Goldeneye
By the BBC's Sumit Bose

Now, if you were offered a ride in a certain Aston Martin with one, not so careful owner, fully loaded, with hidden extras including a grenade launcher, ejector seat and interchangeable number plates, you could only have the keys to one man's motor.

James Bond 007.

Almost 40 years after his debut on the silver screen, Britain's top spy is still haring around at breakneck speed. In a new exhibition at the Beaulieu National Motor Museum in Hampshire a selection of seven famous bondmobiles spanning 36 years of action can been seen close up.

Lotus car
Lotus: Can change into a submarine
The cars include the Lotus which turned into a submarine from the Spy Who Loved Me, the Aston Martin DB 5 from Goldeneye and the prototype BMW Z8 from last year's hit The World is Not Enough.

The museum managed to secure the cars for a six month exhibition from Eon Productions who make the movies. All the cars are originals and feature many of the gadgets used in the films to despatch Bond's endless string of enemies.

Margaret Rowles from Beaulieu said it was an offer they couldn't refuse.

"We found out that some of the cars were available and had been in storage and Lord Montague, who runs Beaulieu, is a big Bond fan so that was it. After some negotiating we managed to get hold of them and lots more besides," she said.

Reaction from the public has been astounding

Margaret Rowles, Beaulieu Motor Museum

"It's only been open a week but the reaction from the public has been astounding, it's proving very popular with both young and old alike. I think there's just something about Bond which we love."

Indeed the affection for Bond is clear, but it's strange to think even the cars from the movies can prove such a draw.

Huge appeal

Peter Lamont is a production designer who's worked on 15 Bond movies including the latest adventure The World is Not Enough.

He's seen Bond trash, explode and burn every conceivable vehicle going and says the appeal of the cars is simple.

rolls royce
Rolls Royce: Special attraction

"He's a fantastic character who has this great fantasy life with all the adventures and the villains and of course the girls. The cars are part of it," he said.

"Some of the cars don't actually do much and others are loaded with special gizmos. I think most people love the idea of the luxury cars with something extra."

Mr Lamont revealed that for most of the films several cars were used.

"Often if an exact copy can't be found another car is painted and dressed up to look like it. We normally lease or buy the cars from the manufacturer but all the work fitting them out with the gadgets is done by our special effects people," he said.

Afterwards the cars are normally either kept or sold off - but as far as I know, none of the actors ever kept one

Peter Lamont, Bond production designer

"Afterwards the cars are normally either kept or sold off - but as far as I know, none of the actors ever kept one!"

The star of the exhibition is the classic 1937 phantom III Rolls Royce from Goldfinger. It's one of only a few in existence and hasn't been in the UK for 35 years as it is owned by an American collector.

Many of the fans who turned up were enthralled but loyalties were divided on Bond's choice of car.

"It's got to be the Roller for me as it's the one Oddjob drove in Goldfinger which is my favourite movie," said one visitor.

Another enthusiast wanted to see more use of British cars in the films.

"Well I hate the BMWs, he's a British agent and he should be sticking to British motors, the Aston is brilliant and I really think he should be back behind the wheel of that," he said.

Bond's latest adventure, which has no working title, starts filming in the early part of 2001. It's not clear what he'll be driving then.

The 007 exhibition at Beaulieu runs until the middle of April.

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27 Dec 99 | UK
Bond lovers mourn Q
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