Auburn Fall | Lot 2112
1974 AMC Hornet
$110,000 USD | Sold
| Auburn, Indiana
1 September 2017
- The stunt car used in The Man with the Golden Gun
- Center steering
- Upgraded suspension and roll cage
- Specially balanced for “Astro-Spiral” jumps
- Operable and in as-jumped condition
When the phrase “Bond Car” is used, it typically brings to mind a gleaming silver Aston Martin DB5 bristling with gadgets, machine guns, and mysterious red buttons that may or may not eject your passenger. To those of a different generation, it might suggest a white Lotus Esprit that Q Branch had converted into a submarine, or perhaps a silver BMW Z8 convertible. For some, though, there is no more noteworthy “Bond Car” than this, the 1974 AMC Hornet X “Astro-Spiral” stunt car from The Man with the Golden Gun (1974).
The famous stunt saw James Bond, played by Sir Roger Moore, drive the Hornet over the remains of a collapsed bridge, corkscrewing over a river to continue his pursuit of the villains. In today’s CGI world this seems a minor undertaking; in 1974 it was awe-inspiring. The corkscrew stunt itself was conceived by famed racing and stunt driver Jay Milligan and was performed by Mr. Milligan publicly as early as 1972. Following his successful execution of the trick at Houston’s Astrodome, Milligan contacted the producers of the Bond series and offered it to them for the next installment of the franchise. The producers secured the right to use the trick and ultimately filed a patent on it to ensure that no one else could perform it on film.
Performing the trick in a controlled setting is one thing; to safely execute the stunt on location in Thailand under the limitations of a movie set is quite another. To produce a film-worthy stunt while ensuring the safety of the driver and film crew, extensive computer modeling was in order. At the time the science of automotive computer modeling was still in its infancy and not yet able to produce useful results for the film. It took the groundbreaking work of Calspan Corporation and engineer Raymond R. McHenry to create the system that ultimately enabled the trick to be successful for the film. Following extensive research, engineering, and programming, the trick was exhaustively planned before the first ramp was built. So successful was this planning that the car, bravely piloted by stunt driver Loren “Bumps” Willard, landed exactly where the simulation predicted after hitting the ramp at the suggested speed of 40 mph. Reportedly the trick only required one take, an amazing testament to both the skill of the programmers and that of “Bumps” Willard.
Due to the pioneering systems created by Calspan and Mr. McHenry, the Hornet survived the jump without incident. In a further indication of the skill of the programmers, the basic technology they created for the stunt still influences computer simulations including today’s most popular racing video games.
Offered from the Jay Milligan collection, This 1974 AMC Hornet Hatchback is the actual stunt car used in The Man with the Golden Gun. The car is operable 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.
The sale represents a once in a lifetime opportunity to own a truly significant piece of automotive, technological and film history.