Sunday, September 2, 2012

Awesome James Bond Cars 


                       BMW Z8 - Finally, a Bond car 
we can drool over

We are still gearing up for Skyfall - the new James Bond flick coming out soon. This entry, for me at least, is one of the most interesting. 

I am somewhat blown away by the sheer amount of work that went on behind the scenes. The Awesome James Bond Cars following this post is fascinating from a technological standpoint, as well, so stay tuned.

First, though, the BMW Z8....

It was almost as if the engineers at BMW were trying make a Bond car. The 1999 Z8 was born from the '97 Z07 concept car - itself being a celebration of the famous 507.

BMW 507

A lot of non-petrolheads think the Z8 is a follow-up to the Z3, and this is not the case. 

The Z8 is more of a limited-production supercar than anything else - and had a price tag to match. 

Unfortunately, the Z8 does not handle like a supercar, but rather a musclecar. I drove one in 2001, and the handling was exactly like being in an early 70s Chevy Nova. 

Lots of power and speed, as long as you went in a straight line.

The power comes from a big 400 horsepower V-8 coupled to a six-speed gearbox. 

Stiff suspension combined with run-flat tires make for an unpleasant ride - although the car is very nice to look at.


Back to the film....

There are a shit-ton of great stunts in The World is Not Enough, my favorite being the jet boat chase on the Thames. 

And in case you didn't know, those drenched policemen that were clamping a car are not a part of the film. Their reaction was genuine, and kept in the final cut.

James Bond gets a new car equipped by Q - the Z8 we just talked about. 

Sadly, this is the last time Desmond Llewelyn gets to give Bond anything. He died shortly after The World Is Not Enough opened, having played Q for 36 years.

This Bond car has rockets hidden in the wings, and is remote-controlled, but the action is really centered on the Z8's destruction - which is spectacular to say the least.

I have expressed a man-crush over Nathan Crowley - the genius behind the Bat Pod, the Tumbler and the Batwing

But I have neglected to mention the man behind those actual builds, Chris Corbould. Chris has been rigging and constructing special props in movies for a long time. 

The kind of mind-blowing car stunts that look simple on the screen - but in fact take months to prepare for.

And The World Is Not Enough is just such a film. But there was a problem.

When filming started, BMW only had 16 prototypes of the Z8 ready - and they weren't about to let the Bond production crew blow them up.

Chris Corbould stepped up to the plate, building replicas of the Z8. We aren't talking about replicas put together with BMW parts, either. We're talking about perfect replicas that Chris and his crew put together in a shop using their own damn molds. 

Interiors, badging, door gaps, body all had to look perfect. And it did.

There is a scene in The World Is Not Enough where Bond is being chased in his BMW Z8 by a helicopter with giant blades hanging from it. That's right. A helicopter with friggin' spinning blades of death trying to chew up 007.

It had already been established in an earlier scene that the baddies had access to just such helicopters. 

Elektra King is flown in on a Eurocopter Dauphin with an attachment to trim pine trees high up on mountains.

Whether or not such a ridiculous thing exists is up for debate.

Q's not gonna like this...

Before Bond can get away from the helicopter and its blades of death, the damn thing slices the Z8 in half. 

Everything on the set had to be built from scratch by Chris and his crew. The buildings, the saw blades...and of course, the Z8.

The helicopter in this scene is a Eurocopter 'Twin Squirrel', hung from the biggest tower crane in London. The entire rig is controlled by computerized winches and hydraulics. 

This stunt is a little silly, but still very satisfying. This scene also marks the end of BMW's three-picture deal with Bond Productions.

Next time: A duel between Aston Martin and Jaguar on ice. Chris Corbould naively asks if they can get their cars in four-wheel drive. 

The answer?

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