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007 @ Beaulieu – Bond In Motion

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of Beaulieu opening as a visitor attraction, 50th anniversary of the Bond franchise and 40th anniversary of the National Motor Museum “Bond in Motion” is an exhibition of 50 vehicles from the James Bond franchise films at Beaulieu National Motor Museum which I visited last month. Here are seven of my favourites from the exhibition.

Aston Martin DB5, Goldfinger, Bond In Motion, Beaulieu

The first Bond car I can remember was the Aston Martin DB5 in Goldfinger which featured swivelling number plates for overseas duty, a passenger ejector seat for unwelcome guests, forward machine guns, rear bulletproof shield, smoke screen and oil slick dispensed from the rear light clusters, evil tyre scythe in the rear hubs for puncturing enemy tyres, radio telephone and a Sony route finder with which to track enemy movements. Despite the usefulness of all these gadgets the car came to a sad end crashing into a wall of a factory belonging to Bond’s foe Mr Goldfinger. The special effects won Goldfinger an Oscar in 1965.

Mercury Cougar XR7, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Bond In Motion, Beaulieu

George Lazenby replaced the quintessential Sean Connery in the role of Bond in “On Her Majesties Secret Service” after a ski chase Bond jumps into a car driven by his amour Contessa Teresa “Tracy” di Vicenzo played by Diana Rigg who drives the Mercury XR7 through the gates of an ice racing event in her attempt to get away from Blofeld and his henchmen. This is the film in which James Bond finally get’s hitched, though not without a tragic ending.

AMC Hornet, The Man With The Golden Gun, Bond In Motion, Beaulieu

Roger Moore took over the role of Bond after a final reprise by Connery in “Moonraker”. The debonair Moore’s first appearance in the role of Bond was in “Live and Let Die” which featured numerous boat chases. Moore’s second Bond role was in “The Man With The Golden Gun” in which Bond commandeers an AMC Hornet from an AMC showroom in Bankok and with Sherrif J.W.Pepper in the passenger seat the car executes a 360 barrel role over a sunken bridge. This is said to be the first ever stunt to be calculated with the aid of computer modelling and was performed in a single eight camera take by the uncredited stunt man “Bumps” Willard.

Lotus Esprit, Wet Nellie, The Spy Who Loved Me, Bond In Motion, Beaulieu

Secret Service Quartermaster ‘Q’ issues Commander Bond, still played by Roger Moore, with a Lotus Esprit for the film “The Spy Who Loved Me“. The Esprit, known as ‘Wet Nellie’, is equipped with a surface to air missile, torpedoes, cement sprayer, rear mounted ink jet, mine launcher, periscope and is convertible for submersible amphibious operations.

Aston Martin V8 Volante, The Living Daylights, Bond In Motion, Beaulieu

Moving forward a decade to 1987 and the fifteenth Bond film saw Timothy Dalton take over the role of Bond in “The Living Daylights“. His Aston Martin V8 Volante is equipped with optional extra twin heat seeking missiles, jet booster engine, ice tyres and retractable ski’s which come in handy during a getaway sequence in Bratislava.

BMW 750iL, Tomorrow Never Dies, Bond In Motion, Beaulieu

Tomorrow Never Dies” released in 1997 saw Pierce Brosnan playing the role of Bond for the second time. By now Bond drives a somewhat unlikely bullet and fire proof BMW 750iL which is armed with high voltage security system, missiles mounted in the sunroof, grenades, wire cutting bonnet badge and conventional, for Bond, smoke and tear gas jets and can be controlled remotely from a cell phone. The car comes to a premature end in an Avis showroom.

BMW Z8, The World Is Not Enough, Bond In Motion, Beaulieu

Th final car in this brief overview of the Bond in Motion exhibition at Beaulieu National Motor Museum is the BMW Z8 which featured in the 1999 release “The World Is Not Enough“. Pierce Brosnan’s Bond features remote control pads in the ignition key, bullet proof windscreen and radar guided Stinger missiles “AND six beverage cup holders”. The car meets it’s match in the form of a helicopter rotor blade which slices the car in half.

Thanks for joining me on this “007 @ Beaulieu” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be revisiting Queens Square for Coffee & Croissant with the Avenue Drivers Club. Don’t forget to come back now !


MEBEA MIA ! – Reliant Fox

The story of today’s pickup starts in 1960 when two Greek motorcycle assembly operations merged to form Μεσογειακαί Επιχειρήσεις Βιομηχανίας, Εμπορίου και Αντιπροσωπειών which translates to Mediterranean Enterprises for Industry, Commerce and Representations, known as MEBEA. MEBEA manufactured a variety of vehicles using mostly Zundapp motorcycle engines.


Copyright holder unknown image will be removed or credited upon request.

During the 1970’s MEBEA also manufactured glass fiber bodied Reliant vehicles under license. In 1979 the company developed its own pick up the Fox based on the Reliant Kitten chassis and running gear. In order to get the vehicle type approved for the Greek market it was deemed easier and possibly cheaper for Reliant to get the Fox type approved in the United Kingdom first.

Reliant Fox, Oulton Park

It is thought around 3000 MEBEA Foxes were manufactured between 1979 and 1983 when changes in Greek laws stopped favoring vehicles like the Fox.

Reliant Fox, Oulton Park

However that was not the end of Fox production, no sooner had MEBEA ceased production of the Fox in Greece than Reliant started to produce the Fox, powered by an all aluminium 848 cc / 52 cui 4 cylinder motor, for the British market.

Reliant Fox

This 1984 Fox, seen above at Oulton Park, is one of around 600 built between 1983 and 1990.

My thanks to L.S. Skartsis and G.A. Avramidis who’s excellent book “Made in Greece” Typorama, Patras, 2003 proved an invaluable reference source.

Thanks for joining me on this Greek odyssey edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !