The Best James Bond Vehicles - Part II
In the second part of this limited series, we look back at the iconic vehicles from the Roger Moore Era.
In 1973, Roger Moore burst onto the screen as James Bond for the first time in 'Live and Let Die'. He went on to star in the most Bond films to date - that iconic number seven again! - so it seems right to dedicate an entire part of this series to looking at some of the vehicles that featured during his tenure.
"Live and Let Die"
Glastron GT-150 Speedboat
Used in the film for a record breaking 120 foot jump (which was performed over 100 times before the actual take was shot that was used in the film) the Glastron GT-150 was front and centre during the middle of 'Live and Let Die'. As Bond makes his escape from a crocodile farm which is being used as a cover to make heroine, he comes across the boat and sets off down the rivers of Louisiana. Powered by an Evinrude Starflite 135 hp engine, the boat soon comes to the attention of Sheriff J.W. Pepper and the State Police who proceed to pursue Bond.
26 boats were used for the film and two of these were modified to having the steering wheel in the centre of the boat rather than to the right for the actual stunt itself.
"The Man with the Golden Gun"
AMC Hornet X Hatchback
Another Bond vehicle that became famous due to a legendary stunt was the Hornet X Hatchback. Bond drives it quite literally out of the showroom - with a disgruntled Sheriff J.W. Pepper inside - as he gives chase to Scaramanga.
The famous 360 degree mid-air twisting corkscrew was captured in just a single take but several tests and lengthy calculations took place before this occurred. For the stunt to be performed, the car needed a 40 mph launch speed and the Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory was used to figure out the other calculations. The stunt took months to plan and in the end, it lasts for only fifteen seconds on screen. Worth it.
An shout out should go to Scaramanga's 'Flying Matador' which he used to escape from 007 in Bangkok. Driving into a barn, the car sprouted wings and took off shortly afterwards, leaving Bond and the Sheriff - along with everyone watching the film - stunned.
"The Spy Who Loved Me"
Lotus Esprit Submarine
As Bond takes evasive action to get away from Stromberg's henchmen on the coast, he does the unthinkable - driving the car straight off the end of a jetty. Little do the henchman know that this car is far from ordinary. The wheels retract and are replaced with fins and rudders for underwater steering. The dashboard converts to become a submarine control system and four retractable propeller units emerge from the rear of the car. Being from Q-Branch, these features alone are not enough. The car is also equipped with a cement sprayer, front-firing torpedoes, bulletproof windows, a periscope in the roof and a missile launcher in the rear hatch amongst other things. And so, one of the most iconic Bond cars was born.
On land, the car has a 1,973 cc engine with a maximum speed of 138 mph. It can travel from 0-60 mph in just 6.8 seconds and is 4.2 meters long. The underwater scenes were filmed using a model of the car with mints hidden on it to show the propulsion. Richard Hammond even made an attempt at creating this iconic vehicle in a Top Gear Bond Special back in 2012 to mark the film franchise's 50th anniversary.
A pre-cursor to the jet ski and designed by Nelson Tyler, the Wetbike was used by 007 to infiltrate Atlantis in the final act of the film. Unlike a jet ski however, the Wet Bike has front steering hydrofoils. It was powered by a Suzuki two stroke engine - this was replaced with a 60 hp Suzuki 800 cc engine in the 1980s. The one featured in Roger Moore's third outing as 007 was in fact a prototype with the vehicle first going into active production in 1978. Trust 007 to get to test it out first.
"For You Eyes Only"
After the destruction of his Lotus Esprit Turbo (see below), Bond must make his escape from Gonzales' compound with Melina Havelock - and her bright yellow 435 cc Citroen 2CV. The duo manage to escape the villains due to the car's nimble nature and some help from the locals when the car tips over when trying to change course.
Whilst not known for its speed, the small economy car does have a good reputation for off roading - as demonstrated in the 1970s by people entering it in the rally from Paris to Persepolis. The car in the film itself was fitted with a flat four engine and a special edition of the car was released to coincide with the film - it was painted yellow and came with fake bullet hole stickers. Groovy.
007 starts the film with a Louts Esprit Turbo this particular model has a rather explosive defence mechanism, prompting the car to be destroyed before it can really be put to any use. It is replaced later on in the film with another Esprit Turbo but this is simply used by Bond to make his way around. A bit of a waste of such a nice car but there we are.
Tuk Tuk Taxi
A common sight in India, the Tuk Tuk Taxi entered into 007's history as he and his counterpart, Vijay, make their getaway from henchman Gobinda in the busy Indian Markets. This Tuk Tuk however was modified by Q-Branch, allowing Vijay to raise the front up and drive it on just two wheels.
Tuk Tuks are powered by two stroke engines but more recently, there are about 1.5 million battery powered Tuk Tuk Taxis on the roads of India.
"A View to a Kill"
1962 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II
Sir Godfrey Tibbet - played by Patrick Macnee - poses as Bond's chauffer in the second act of the film, driving a 1962 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II. It was owned by producer Albert R. Broccoli, hence the number plate 'CUB I'. A replica of the car was used later on in the film when the Rolls is tragically submerged in a lake on Zorin's estate. In the film, the car meets a watery end as Zorin and May Day (yes really, just go with it, that's her name) when it's pushed into a lake with Bond inside.
What did you think of the vehicles from these Bond films? Should any of them make a comeback in a modern day Bond film? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.