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‘Bond In Motion’: Iconic Cinematic Cars From James Bond Films

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Although it’s lost to the world, I’m pretty sure I was close to wearing out my VHS of The World Is Not Enough. My first-ever date was seeing Casino Royale in theaters. I also had an affinity for Mrs. Doubtfire, featuring Pierce Brosnan, who I still consider my James Bond. So when I noticed that they were bringing the Bond In Motion exhibit to the International Spy Museum; I made it a point to be there on opening weekend. Should you see it for yourself? Read on and find out.

What to see at the Bond In Motion exhibit in Washington, D.C.

Fans of this long-running franchise all have their preferred film, Bond actor, Bond girl, and gadget. But we all agree that the myriad of vehicles used by 007 and the villains are all extremely cool. Who doesn’t love an Aston Martin DB5? Or the motorized hang glider from Moonraker? I know I do, each for their unique uses in scenes and hilarious introductions by the genius inventor, Q (Desmond Llewelyn).

There are so many cool set pieces in those wonderful films, and I want to highlight some of my favorites that I was lucky enough to see up close. Bond In Motion has a total of 17 vehicles from just about each different Bond era. As you enter the Bond In Motion exhibit, there is a massive wall with every poster of the 25 films, along with the timeline of releases. The hallways leading up to it include an enlarged Goldeneye Nintendo 64 box cover (and of course, I took a picture with it, I played the game religiously as a kid). 

Aston Martin DB5 on display at the International Spy Museum for the Bond In Motion exhibit
Aston Martin DB5 on display at the entrance of the International Spy Museum for the Bond In Motion exhibit (Photos by Anthony Flagg)

There’s a nice variety, it’s not just cars, although the selection of cars is indeed brilliant. I saw a Glastron CV23HT boat from Moonraker and Blofeld’s (Charles Gray) escape pod from Diamonds Are Forever. I was thoroughly impressed by the replicated Aston Martin DBS from the opener of Quantum of Solace that had all the bullet holes, scratches, and a missing door.

There was a mention of gadgets being shown as well, but those are the upgrades that were placed onto the individual vehicles. The coolest one by far was the Jaguar XKR, sporting 18 rockets hidden within the grille, from Die Another Day. I had somewhat expected actual separate physical gadgets, but the details placed on the cars, boats, and submarines were all super neat to see up close. 

The BMW Z8 from The World Is Not Enough was my favorite to see up close, as it was the last BMW that was used in a James Bond film. Also, as I had mentioned above, it was my first Bond film so it always held a special place in my heart even if it was chopped in half by a helicopter with a circular saw.

What’s cool is that each vehicle has a standee with a screen showing a block of text that details the item, the movie it’s from, and an explanation of what it had and how Bond used it. If you linger long enough, the display will then shift to a video showing it in action, and they include the witty quips from Bond after enemy deaths that we are accustomed to hearing. 

Moonraker Hang glider and Glastron Boat in the center of the Bond In Motion exhibit
Moonraker Hang glider and Glastron Boat on the floor of the Bond In Motion Exhibit (Photos by Anthony Flagg)

I liked that they included the videos, as I’ve not seen all the films. Having the context of how they’re used was a clever inclusion, since I didn’t have to go and look them up while enjoying the exhibit.

Along with the multitude of replicas, there are a couple of interactive and photographic opportunities. I’m going to be straight about it: the exhibit’s interactive portions had the least effort. It’s a touch screen where you make calculated selections and see a simulation play out before you. At most, it’ll excite kids because of the touch screen and animations, for me, it was nothing.

On the other hand, the ability to sit on the Ski-Doo and take photos was my favorite moment. There is even a decent-sized backdrop of snow, along with strong overhead lighting, that can make for a great Instagram post! In another corner, I found a nice backdrop with the title of the exhibit and black canvas that let me do my best Bond pose that I may or may not use for my social media profiles in the future.

There’s a massive screen beside the submarine and escape pod that shows sharks swimming back and forth, and yes, it is interactive. If you tap on the screen, there’s a small pause and then suddenly a shark attacks the screen, leaving a crack on the display. It’s accompanied by a very loud sound that attracted all the attention to me. A staff member of the museum said that there was a sensory event that happens periodically, I stuck around a while for it, but either I missed it or it just didn’t happen in the time I was there.

Ticket prices and schedule for the Bond In Motion exhibit

So I had only intended to see the Bond In Motion exhibit and view the International Spy Museum at a later date. They luckily offered tickets just for the exhibit, but I should mention that you get a better value if you instead buy a ticket for the museum and get the Bond in Motion bundled with your regular entrance ticket.

If you only want to see the exhibit, it’s $12 which I feel is a fair price if you’re a Bond fan who wants to see these incredible pieces up close. Prices for the main exhibit of the International Spy Museum will fluctuate based on the time and date, so I highly recommend you get the tickets well in advance to save money. 

Merchandise stand with James Bond branded memorabilia
Merch stand with James Bond memorabilia at the gift shop within the International Spy Museum (Photos by Anthony Flagg)

The great thing is that you don’t have to rush and see this, the exhibit will be hosted through April 2025 so you can plan well ahead. Washington, D.C. offers so many other (free!) museums that you can make this a stop along a well-planned tour of the Capital, but the Spy Museum is not as near the other museums as you might like.

If you have a membership with the museum, then the exhibit is included with it, so just log in and book a spot from the available time slots. I will also mention that the International Spy Museum’s gift shop had some cool James Bond items for sale.

I purchased a Martini shaker with the recipe for the Vesper Martini etched onto the bottom half. The recipe itself was famously uttered in Casino Royale, “Three measures of Gordon’s; one of vodka; half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it over ice, and add a thin slice of lemon peel.” There was also a small Aston Martin DBS keychain made of die-cast metal, but the high price and small size made it unappealing.

This exhibit may have been small but worth it as a fan of the series. Making the trek to the International Spy Museum had been on my list for a while, and this only amplified my desire. The International Spy Museum is located at 700 L’Enfant Plaza SW in Washington, D.C. Tickets can be pre-purchased here.

What’s in store for the future of 007 James Bond?

James Bond is one of the highest-grossing franchises of all time, as it should be, with 25 films over 60-plus years. Eon Productions has yet to name the next 007 after the departure of Daniel Craig’s 15-year run as the famous spy.

Neptune Submarine
Neptune Submarine at the Bond In Motion exhibit (Photos by Anthony Flagg)

There has been some back and forth this week with rumors that Bond producers are circling upon actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Avengers: Age of Ultron, Kraven the Hunter, Kick-Ass) as the leading candidate. As a longtime Bond fan, I’m pleased and thrilled with the selection, if true.

I’m sure he’s not the only big profile actor being considered for the role, as the names of Damson Idris and Henry Cavill (who had auditioned for it in the past) have also been mentioned. Reveals for a new 007 tend to be a bit of a spectacle, so I’m excited to see how they handle it this time. With Daniel Craig, they did it on the back of a Royal Marine speedboat on the River Thames.

While I’m on the topic and thinking about it, I’d like to see either Dua Lipa or The 1975 do the next song for whatever the film may be. Since the main novels and stories by author Ian Fleming have already been adapted, I would love to see them use the story from the John Gardner novel For Special Services as the inspiration for the new generation of James Bond

Are you going to visit the Bond In Motion exhibit? Let us know on social media @mycosmiccircus or in The Cosmic Circus Discord!

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Anthony Flagg

Howdy! I cover a variety of topics for The Cosmic Circus. My favorite topics to write about are video games, Pokemon and music. Drop me a line on Twitter! @redovah_

Anthony Flagg has 84 posts and counting. See all posts by Anthony Flagg