Creativity so often relies on inspirational surroundings. James Bond author Ian Fleming borrowed 007’s enigmatic codename from the rather more exoteric bus route that ran (and still runs) from Fleming’s home county of Kent to London.
Of course, 007 would never be seen on a bus*, but this amazing DB 2/4 Mk1 Vantage apparently played a crucial role in the James Bond story.
Not only does the car have a range of one-off features of a type seen on Bond’s fictional car in Goldfinger, it also has links to the British Intelligence Service and Fleming. The special features were only discovered during the car’s recent restoration, and include reinforced steel bumpers, concealed lockers, a heavy-duty anti-interference ignition system, driver’s seat connections for two-way radio and/or a homing device, and a Halda Speed Pilot device, which accurately computes time and distance in relation to a pre-selected average speed.
These features were fitted for the car’s first owner, the Honourable Squadran Leader Phillip Ingram Cunliffe-Lister DSO. His father, Lord Swinton, was the head of MI5 and a close confidant of Winston Churchill during World War Two. The car was often parked at Fleming’s next door neighbour’s house (a building which, incidentally, was his inspiration for his Moonraker novel).
Coys’ Chris Routledge describes this as ‘one of the most important discoveries of all time,’ which may be a bit of an exaggeration but the car’s history is bound to get bidders excited when it comes to auction at Blenheim Palace on 12 July.
*Unless he has. I’ve never watched a Bond film, so I’m open to fans correcting me with relevant YouTube links…