James Bond stunt car expected to fetch almost half a million
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James Bond is famous for driving Aston Martins. But throughout his existence on pages and the big screen, 007 has sometimes branched to a car showroom further afield.
There was the Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977, the 1995 BMW Z3 from Golden Eye and who could forget the appearance of the Ford Mondeo in Casino Royale in 2006?
But arguably the most famed non-Aston vehicle driven by the fictional spy is set to go under the hammer in a week's time - the genuine AMC Hornet X stunt car that performed the corkscrew jump in the 1974 film The Man With the Golden Gun.
The car is being sold at an Auctions America sale in Indiana on Friday 1 September.
It offers what is an almost unprecedented opportunity to own a piece of silver-screen history, especially as very few genuine cars used in the Bond films are made available for sale.
The 1974 AMC Hornet X featured during the main car chase in the movie, with Sir Roger Moore pictured at the wheel in his second outing as the British Secret Service agent.
What this car is mostly fondly remembered for, though, is that corkscrew jump.
Racing towards the remains of a half-demolished bridge, Bond would have to clear the gap if he was to have any chance of catching villain, Scaramanga.
With redneck sheriff J.W. Pepper in the passenger seat, the car clears the river with a flamboyant flip that has gone down as one of the most iconic stunt scenes in big-screen history.
The trick was originally conceived by racing and stunt driver Jay Milligan who had performed the daredevil move at Houston's Astrodome some five years before the release of the film.
In fact, Milligan contacted the producers of the Bond series and offered it to them for the next instalment of the franchise - producers were quick to secure the right to use the trick and ultimately filed a patent on it to ensure that no one else could perform it on film.
The man at the controls for the filmed stunt was Loren 'Bumps' Willard, who hit the ramp at 40mph and completed the jump at the first attempt after plenty of planning work in Thailand to confirm entry speeds to ensure it would be a success.
The Hornet was adapted for the jump too, with the inclusion of a full protective roll cage, suspension that could cope with the harsh landing and the front seats removed and replaced with a single seat in the centre of the car to guarantee the vehicle was perfectly balanced to fly through the air.
Until the sale, the car has been in the collection of Jay Milligan himself and remains in as-jumped condition, having suffered no damage during the stunt's one-take execution.
The engine and chassis numbers of this car match those on the shipping invoice created when the car was sent from the filming location in Thailand back to Jay Milligan's JM Productions in New York.
It will be sold without reserve at the upcoming Auburn Fall auction and is expected to achieve between $250,000 and $350,000 (£194,000 and £272,000) - though we think that a fairly modest estimate for a car of its legendary status.
- Daily Mail