With the possible exception of Inspector Gadget, there is no better known or loved fictional gadget fiend than James Bond. Employing personal technology to achieve clandestine professional goals, Her Majesty's favorite secret agent has fascinated readers and film audiences for over half a century now.
While trendy and forward-thinking in their time, Bond movies have since grown into valuable historic artifacts, portraying our evolving vision of near-future innovations. From the first car phones and GPS systems to jet packs and invisibility cloaks, they've offered an entertaining mix of the feasible and the far-fetched.
The recently opened Bond in Motion exhibition at London's Film Museum pays homage to the films' technological legacy, with a particular focus on transportation. All the iconic Bond cars are present, with BMWs, Aston Martins, and Rolls Royces joined by a selection of alternative vehicles. 007's amphibious Lotus Esprit, nicknamed Wet Nellie, sits alongside his Little Nellie single-seat gyrocopter and a selection of aggressively styled motorbikes. There are also speedboats, model helicopters and trains, plus some amusing memorabilia like Bond's evaluation report from 2012's Skyfall. As a whole, the collection offers a captivating journey into the futures we once imagined.
The Bond in Motion exhibition is open now and will run until the end of the year. All images courtesy of the London Film Museum.
- Aston Martin DB5 The original and most iconic of all Bond cars, Aston Martin's DB5 made its debut in the third 007 film, 1964's Goldfinger. It has since reprised the role of Bond's favorite ride several times, including in the latest release, Skyfall. 2006's Casino Royale shows Bond winning the DB5 in a game of high-stakes poker, establishing his credentials as a savvy card player. The DB in the car's name represents the initials of longtime Aston Martin owner David Brown, under whose stewardship the brand rose to prominence.
- Aston Martin DBS Quantum of Solace may not be remembered among the best Bond movies, but its opening sequence featured one of the most visceral and engaging car chases in the long-running series. Aston Martin's DBS was the unfortunate victim of that violent pursuit.
- Ben Collins with Aston Martin DBS Ben Collins, the stunt driver sitting in for Daniel Craig during the epic Quantum of Solace chase scene, poses in the ravaged DBS.
- Bond bikes The exhibition includes a selection of motorbikes from the times when 007 didn't have access to a car. Pictured here are bikes from Skyfall, Tomorrow Never Dies, and GoldenEye.
- Lotus Esprit S1, aka Wet Nellie The Spy Who Loved Me debuted the iconic amphibious Lotus. Elon Musk spent nearly $1 million to acquire the sub in October 2013.
- Crocodile submarine About as silly as the movie in which it starred, this single-occupancy submarine made an appearance in 1983's Octopussy.
- Aston Martin V8 Volante and cello case sled Starring in 1987's The Living Daylights with Timothy Dalton, the V8 Volante was "winterized" as part of the film's storyline and included a self-destruct button that Bond had to deploy in the course of an escape. Also pictured is the cello case that served as the spy's subsequent mode of transport down a snow-covered mountainside.
- Little Nellie Bond's gyrocopter in 1967's You Only Live Twice. The Little Nellie was flown by its creator, British airman Ken Wallis, who stood in for Sean Connery's Bond.
- Bathosub Blofeld's Bathosub in Diamonds Are Forever is another example of the 20th century's expectation that we'd develop equivalents of the car for travelling via water and air.
- Chris Corbould with Jaguar XKR The man that's set to provide the special effects in Star Wars Episode VII, Chris Corbould, is a Bond film veteran. He has served as FX coordinator, supervisor, or director on multiple 007 projects.
- Aston Martin V12 Vanquish with hood-mounted machine guns If there's one recurring theme to all of Bond's cars, it's the inclusion of violent extras like rockets, machine guns, and tire spikes.
- Bombardies MX Z-Rev Ski Doo Die Another Day was rich on snow and ice, so inevitably there had to be a custom-designed snowmobile for James Bond to ride around on.
- Q Boat Another vehicle that featured prominently in a Bond opening scene, the Q Boat took a wild ride through the Thames in 1999's The World Is Not Enough.
- AgustaWestland helicopter A 1/3 scale model of a military helicopter that was featured in Skyfall. AgustaWestland's helicopters are built in southwest England, and the company has expressed its pride in supporting the "quintessentially British" James Bond franchise.
- James Bond's passport Sometimes, when rapid transport via exotic vehicles isn't strictly necessary, James Bond uses his passport just like the rest of us.
- Bell Textron jet pack Back in 1965, at the time of Thunderball's release, we all thought we would be travelling via personal jet packs in the future. Sean Connery enflamed that fantasy by using one as means of escape in the film's opening sequence.