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Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


“Bond in Motion” Exhibit Opens at the International Spy Museum in Washington

Bettmann Archive
James Bond has been a key part of pop culture for over six decades. Photo: Getty Images.

“You can’t be thinking [of doing that],” a frazzled sheriff pleads to James Bond, just before Bond drives his fire-engine red AMC Hornet up a twisted bridge into a corkscrew jump. The scene, clipped from “The Man with the Golden Gun” and starring Roger Moore as Bond, is displayed on repeat at the International Spy Museum’s new exhibit “Bond in Motion,” serving as a background for the actual iconic car used in the film’s production. 

The exhibit showcases seventeen different vehicles used in the James Bond movies across six decades, presenting the excesses and long-lasting triumphs of the franchise in equal measure. Each vehicle is juxtaposed with a shot from the movie in which it is used and a full video of its stunt, as well as extra information for the audience. One video describes the corkscrew roll, piloted by stunt driver Lauren Willert, which was the first such stunt to be planned using a computer. 

Not all of the vehicles are cars — and not all the add-ons are fake. One vehicle, a Glastron Carlson boat from “Moonraker,” comes with a hang-glider that Bond uses to escape as the boat goes over a waterfall; according to the exhibit, all the gadgets on board were fully functional.

Another memorable non-car vehicle is the tuk tuk, or auto-rickshaw, which features in a chase scene from the 1983 film “Octopussy.” In the scene, the dangerous auto-rickshaw soars through the air to land on the street next to a temple and a strangely unperturbed camel.

The movies lean even more into excess with the Neptune submarine, one of two fully functioning submersibles used in the 1981 film “For Your Eyes Only.” Rocket launchers appear from a just-opened hatch in the V12 Vanquish’s roof, a car used in the 2002 film “Die Another Day.”

Perhaps the most over-the-top piece, however, is the Bath-O-Sub, Ernst Stavro Blofeld of SPECTRE’s one-man submarine. Designed specially by Ken Adam and George Barris, the submarine was built with fiberglass and cost $30,000.

However, the most iconic James Bond vehicles are the cars, of which the exhibit boasts five different models. One, a remote-controlled BMW 750iL from “Tomorrow Never Dies,” chirps cheerfully with a German accent as Bond pilots it. Another, the Aston Martin Vanquish from “Die Another Day,” is a sleekly beautiful vehicle, while the formerly beautiful Aston Martin DBS from “Quantum of Solace” sits bullet-ridden and smashed beside it.

The exhibit has attracted a variety of people, from die-hard Bond fans to complete novices. One mother-daughter duo, Lisa and Lily Strand, had already been planning to come to the Spy Museum when they heard about the exhibit. 

“I haven’t seen all the Bond movies, but I’ve seen the more recent ones, and I know my Dad really likes it,” Lily Strand explained. “We thought we could go for him and take pictures.” 

Strand liked the Aston Martin DB5 first driven in “Goldfinger,” which happened to be the only one of the Bond vehicles already at the Spy Museum before the new exhibition’s opening.

Another visitor, Andy, described himself and his partner, Sonia, as “big Bond fans.” Andy has been watching Bond movies since he was a kid. He liked everything in the exhibit, but his favorite was the Glastron boat. 

“It’s all pretty cool,” he commented. “My favorite thing is probably the silver boat. Lots of funky 70s vibes going on.”

Since the first James Bond movie was filmed, the vehicles used in it have represented the cutting-edge of technology, in their stunts as well as design. The exhibit, in that light, becomes a history of ideals, as the ever-sophisticated, suave spy drives from era to era.

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