The Best 'Non-Car' Vehicles in the James Bond Franchise
The James Bond franchise is known for its spectacular car chases and subsequent car explosions. It wouldn’t be a Bond movie if an expensive Aston Martin wasn’t torn to shreds, much to the delight of audiences and the chagrin of car enthusiasts. But Bond doesn’t always duke it out with Blofeld’s henchmen in a car. He’s open to planes, trains, and automobiles.
Let’s take a look at some of the other modes of transportation Bond has ridden in/exploded:
Little Nellie – You Only Live Twice
Sometimes you need to transport your transportation on another mode of transportation. Enter Little Nellie, aka the helicopter in a suitcase. Beloved Quartermaster Q shipped Bond Little Nellie in four suitcases, where it was later assembled. This Bond helicopter was based on a real autogyro developed in the 1960s by former Air Force Wing Commander Ken Wallis. That said, the real autogyro probably wasn’t tricked out with machine guns and flamethrowers.
Wet Nellie – The Spy Who Loved Me
We’ve talked about her extensively before, but this custom-built submarine was built in the shape of Lotus Esprit S1 and lovingly dubbed “Wet Nellie” by the crew as a reference to Little Nellie. Wet Nellie is half-car, half-submarine, all Bond. Just like a real submarine, the amphibious car has a periscope and a missile launcher. It also has cannons that can launch cement, which is a feature that real submarines should probably consider. Wet Nellie is now owned by Elon Musk, who paid a cool $1 million to get the title of the car-bmarine.
Hovercraft Osprey 5 – Die Another Day
Why drive a car when you can hop on a hovercraft? Bond opted to chase after the villain across the North Korean Demilitarized Zone in a Griffon 200TD instead of an Aston Martin, because it’s pretty hard to get your hands on a luxury car in a communist dictatorship. The chase sequence certainty looked cool, but was difficult to shoot. The hovercrafts didn’t handle well, and Pierce Brosnan described it as “driving a bar of soap.”
Skyship 500 – A View to a Kill
You know that you’re watching a James Bond movie that’s jumped the shark when the villain uses a zeppelin as their escape vehicle. Christopher Walken as wealthy industrialist Max Zorin fled in a twin-engine, non-rigid airship. The ship was filled with helium, so it probably wasn’t the best idea for Zorin to equip it with Uzi submachine guns and dynamite. It should go without saying, but never, ever put dynamite on your Skyship 500 at home.
Moonraker 5 – Moonraker
James Bond movies are known for being over the top, so it was only a matter of time before Bond shot up into space. The Moonraker spacecraft was fictional but based on the very real Space Shuttle. Oddly, the Moonraker entered Earth’s orbit before the actual Space Shuttle ever saw actual space. The Moonraker was launched by a billionaire from the Amazon. Now, the billionaire who owns Amazon is launching rockets. Life imitates art in the weirdest ways.
The Oriental Desert Express – SPECTRE
Bond has his way with trains, but also has his way with women on trains. If we had a dollar for every time Bond got into a fight/got it on in a train, we’d have enough money to produce a new James Bond movie. In SPECTRE, Bond had a fight to the death in almost every car of the Oriental Desert Express without a porter coming in to stop it. The trainline is real, and goes between Oujda and Bouarfa, Morocco. The line isn’t used very much, which is probably why there was nobody there to say, “Please don’t gouge out Dave Bautista’s eyes in here.”
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