See more images in the gallery here
Bond girl cars take star billing at the Bond in Motion exhibit at the London Museum as three vehicles driven by the female stars have been added to the permanent collection.
Once Bond himself was established as mainly an Aston man, the cars that showed off the fashions of the day were always driven by the women, or the baddies.
In Goldfinger (1964) Tilly Masterson (Tania Mallet) roars around the serpentine bends of the Furka Pass in a Ford Mustang Convertible, when that iconic pony car had only just been released. Of course, being a woman in 1960s, she drives like an idiot and if I’d had a scythe on my wheels I’d have burst her tyre, too.
Aki (Akiko Wakabayashi), looks like a Japanese Audrey Hepburn in You Only Live Twice (1967). She swoops in to rescue Bond in a chic Toyota 2000 roadster and as the bad guys give chase, to a soundtrack of tyre squeal and gunfire, she calmly gets on the radio to request ‘the usual reception’ (a helicopter and a large electro-magnet).
The Toyota was only ever sold as a coupe - unless you count the Corgi version – two cars had their lids snipped specially off for the film.
Another skillful Bond-lady driver was Diana Rigg, having followed her fellow leather-clad, karate-chopping Avengers’ star Honor Blackman to the Bond franchise in 1969. Playing Tracy di Vicenzo in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Rigg drives a 1969 Mercury Cougar and, like Aki, she rescues Bond and whisks him away for a serious car chase to escape pursuing SPECTRE agents. This involved veering off the road, mixing it with rally cars and driving on ice – and Diana did a great deal of the driving herself.
Roger Moore’s Bond was a bit of a MCP when it came to women drivers. In The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) he was exceedingly snippy with Agent Goodnight (Britt Eckland) as she picked him up at the airport in her MGB Roadster (painted a period vomit colour).
That famous eyebrow rises as Any Amasova (Barbara Bach) struggles with the gears of a van that’s being eaten by a man with metal teeth in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).
In For Your Eyes Only (1981) his “I think I’d better drive” to Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet) as he takes over her 2CV should have earned him a swift stiletto in the backside.
As Pierce Brosnan took over for Golden Eye (1995), the nasty Xenie Onotopp (Famke Jansson) was given a Ferrari 355. Of course, even 30 years after Goldfinger, she’s still driving like a maniac, but somehow his 1960s’ Aston manages to catch her 1990s’ Italian stallion.
There’s never been a better driving double-act than the motorbike sequence in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997). Bond (still Pierce) and Chinese agent Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh) manage to dodge a helicopter while handcuffed together and operating one set of controls each. It’s even quite sexy, as she has to hold him tight to stay on.
The cars arriving at the London Museum are all post-millenium. There’s the Thunderbird driven by Halle Berry in Die Another Day (2002) opposite Pierce. Her character Jinx was seen driving the coral pink car just long justify Ford releasing a Bond special edition.
Then there’s a Ford Ka driven by Camille (Olga Kurylenko) from Quantum of whatever the hell that was about (full title, 2008 starring Daniel Craig).
Finally there a Land Rover Defender Double Cab drive by Eve Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) in 2012’s Skyfall – or Skyfaw according to Adele, to rhyme with Rumbaw.
Her character is clearly a fine driver, but she still has to put up sarcy remarks from Bond about her loss of wing mirrors (“You weren’t using it,” “or that one”) Then he calmly leans over to yank the steering wheel. Maybe shooting him was a bit harsh. Then again, maybe not.
The Bond in Motion exhibition has more than 100 individual items including the Aston Martin DB5 from GoldenEye, the underwater Lotus Esprit S1 from The Spy Who Loved Me, the Rolls-Royce Phantom III from Goldfinger, and the ‘Little Nellie’ Wallis WA-116 Agile Autogyro from You Only Live Twice, plus masses of props, costumes and posters. See www.londonfilmmuseum.com
This blog is by a woman driver, for everyone to read