Ultimate James Bond car collection on display at the Petersen Museum

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — It all began in the third James Bond film back in 1964, with Sean Connery and a silver Aston Martin DB5 in “Goldfinger.” That pairing would cement the relationship between suave British agent 007 and sexy cars on the silver screen.

“Oh, Bond was the car guy,” said Terry Karges, executive director of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

Cool wheels and cool stunts became part of the franchise. If Bond hopped into a car, you just knew there would be some action.

To celebrate James Bond’s decades of thrilling driving scenes, the Petersen Museum is showcasing the rides of 007 with “Bond in Motion” in its Mullin Grand Salon. Not just machines that lay rubber, but ones that float and fly as well.

“We’ve captured almost every vehicle that he used underwater, in the air, on a lake, in the ocean, on the roads,” noted Karges.

Indeed, this is the most comprehensive collection of screen-used Bond vehicles ever shown in the United States with some 30 cars, motorcycles, boats, and light aircraft, all gathered in a gallery worthy of a Bond movie set.

The display is heavily weighted toward Aston Martins, as their involvement with the Bond franchise is iconic. Utter the name “Aston Martin” to most people and they’ll think of James Bond.

“The Aston is still the car people remember or associate with ‘Bond cool’,” said Terry Karges.

But other car makes have been interwoven into the plots of various films, notably a white Lotus Esprit that turned into a submarine in “The Spy Who Loved Me,” likely to many open jaws in the audience. The full-sub version of the car from that 1977 film is here to see, up close. And if you missed that Lotus’ big stunt sequence from the movie (with actor Roger Moore behind the wheel), or forgot how it went, the exhibit’s curator thought ahead.

“The cars are displayed with video pieces from the movie, so you can actually look at the actual vehicle right in front of you, and then you see the clip,” boasted Karges.

Indeed, each significant vehicle has a large flat-screen behind or next to it, showing the appropriate scene on a continuous loop.

And Bond continues to spend time in cool rides to this day. “No Time To Die,” the newest film, showcases both old and new Aston Martins, as well as some new tricked-out Land Rover Defenders.

With each Bond film the stunts get bigger and the locations more exotic. James Bond will always be closely identified with high-speed thrills.

The timing of the Petersen’s new exhibit is perfect, as the delayed “No Time To Die” is finally opening in theaters in a couple of weeks.

Copyright © 2021 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Katherine E. Ackerman

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