This guy owns 41 James Bond vehicles
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Doug Redenius, co-founder of the Ian Fleming Foundation, owns 41 James Bond vehicles. It all started almost three decades ago when Rednius, along with Dr. Michael L. VanBlaricum, and John Cork, began acquiring an impressive collection of vehicles from the James Bond movies.
The collection began... with a submarine.
The wet submersible Neptune from the Bond film 'For Your Eyes Only' was up for sale in 1992 when the New York museum it had been displayed in decided to get rid of it.
Redenius and his friends chipped in jusr $3,000 for the Neptune, along with “a really big flat trailer,” he says, and hauled it back to Chicago. As they didn't really have anywhere to put this massive submarine, it ended up sitting in Redenius’ back yard, where it was quite the neighbourhood spectacle. The Neptune wasn’t heavy, because it lacked an engine, but it's size was definitely something to gawk at.
When word got out about this back-yard mini Bond exhibition, People magazine came knocking to cover the story over a multi-page spread.
“Back then, People magazine was the place to get big publicity,” says Redenius. “We lucked out, because that was the issue in which Elizabeth Taylor was marrying Larry Fortinsky and Michael Jackson was her best man.”
From there, a guy from Reed Exhibitions in the UK contacted Redenius asking if they could rent Neptune for the National Motor Show Tour. Reed Exhibitions wanted to know if they owned other Bond vehicles they could take on tour. They didn't, but Redenius did know where he could get some. Turns out, he was actually mates with the Broccoli family, who produced the Bond films.
“They asked if we would tell them where the other Bond vehicles were and I said no,” Redenius says. “But we said if you're willing to buy some of them and pay for the restoration, add the vehicles to your tour and then donate them, we'll do that.”
Jump forward 21 years, and now the Ian Fleming Foundation owns 41 Bond vehicles, which are mostly kept in a large airplane hangar on a military base south of Chicago. The foundation is totally non-for-profit, with proceeds going rent for the hangar and scholarships. The foundation keeps the vehicles in rotation to maintain the collection.
“There’s a risk that if these vehicles were sitting mothballed, we’d eventually run out of money,” Redenius says.
"I found the Lotus from The Spy Who Loved me in a junkyard in the Bahamas," he says. "The director hired a guy who had a big crane, and the crane operator/junkyard manager was given the Lotus submarines. We ended up buying two and kept one of them, which is at the Petersen now."
He continued that there are quite a few Bond vehicles out there, lots of them sitting in peoples garages and backyards. In fact, he recently located the fire truck Roger Moore drove in a View to a Kill, and just finished restoring it.
"We have photos of when it was discovered, who had it, what it looked like when it was shipped over along with the remarkable transformation," he says. "Some of the vehicles we find are in pretty decent shape and some in horrendous condition."
Part of the collection is currently at the Petersen Automotive Museum in California. Bond in Motion is the first official exhibition in the U.S. to feature original vehicles from the Bond franchise, with 30 cars, motorcycles, boats, submarines, helicopters and scale models of aircraft. Highlights include the 1977 Lotus Esprit S1 submarine from The Spy Who Loved Me, 1985 Aston Martin V8 from The Living Daylights, 1999 BMW Z8 from The World Is Not Enough, and the 2019 Aston Martin DB10 from Spectre. The display even includes the banged-up 2006 Aston Martin DBS that set the Guinness World Record for barrel rolls in Casino Royale.