When the very first Bond movie was filmed in 1962, the whole production had a budget of just one million English pounds, or about what the catering budget would be for a modern Bond film. And since Dr. No was shot on the island of Jamaica in the days before carmakers fought—and often paid—to have their cars featured in movies, the Dr. No crew had to rely on the largesse of the local Jamaicans for cars. Thus, Bond’s first-ever chase scene shows Sean Connery piloting an 80-hp Sunbeam Alpine borrowed from a local resident, who happened to own one of the few sports cars on the island.
As you’ll no doubt recall from that movie, Bond had to outrun a hearseful of Dr. No’s murderous henchmen, who were driving a LaSalle hearse from the 1930s. Remarkably, the hearse was able to keep up with the Sunbeam Alpine, maybe because the Sunbeam only had a 1.6-liter engine, but only until Bond snuck under the boom of a parked crane, sending the hearse off a cliff to a flaming fireball of death.
“Where were they going?” the crane operator asked.
“I think they were on their way to a funeral,” said Bond, in the first of what would be hundreds of clever quips delivered over vanquished foes.
Since that first chase scene, the cars of the Bond franchise have advanced to the point where they are almost as famous as the stars. Since the Sunbeam, 007 has now driven everything from Lotus, Jaguars, and BMWs, to the coming crop of Astons Martin that will be seen in the 3oth installment, No Time To Die, opening October 8. To celebrate all these wheeled wonders, the Petersen Automotive Museum in the heart of Hollywood has opened an exhibit called Bond In Motion that will run until October 30, 2022. So while there’s no immediate rush, you may want to see it before the latest movie premieres.
“The Petersen Automotive Museum will present a new exhibit celebrating the 60th anniversary of the James Bond film franchise through a highly diverse selection of iconic screen-used vehicles,” the museum stated. “Bond in Motion will be the largest official Bond vehicle display to date in the US, and will feature more than 30 cars, motorcycles, boats, submarines, helicopters and even scale filming models of aircraft from an array of both classic and contemporary Bond films.”
Among the cars, boats and subs will be some of your favorites: the 1977 Lotus Esprit S1 Submarine from The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), 1985 Aston Martin V8 from The Living Daylights (1987), 1999 BMW Z8 from The World Is Not Enough (1999), and the 2019 Aston Martin DB10 from Spectre (2015).
The iconic 1964 Aston Martin DB5 from several different Bond films will be there, along with the DBS from 2008’s Quantum of Solace and the Deux Chevaux camera car that was hooked up to a trailer hitch to shoot For Your Eyes Only in 1981. And, of course, the Lotus Esprit submarine from The Spy Who Loved Me will share floorspace with the Bath-O-Sub Escape Pod from the same movie.
“James Bond is an international pop culture icon and the vehicles he drives are an integral part of his character,” said Petersen Automotive Museum executive director Terry L. Karges. “The Petersen is excited to showcase so many of the series’ most well-known vehicles. We are sure that there will be something to satisfy every generation of Bond fan.”
If you’re a Bond fan, or even if you’re not, you should check it out. Wonder when they’ll do a Cars of the Fast and Furious Franchise?
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