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  1. AMC Hornet Hatchback

    Whilst in Bangkok, James Bond hijacks the Hornet from an AMC showroom. Interestingly (and perhaps ridiculously), Sheriff JW Pepper who previously appeared in Live And Let Die, is waiting inside the car trying to arrange a test-drive.

    • Manufacturer: AMC
    • Model: Hornet Hatchback
    • Top Speed: n/a
    • Acceleration: n/a
    • Engine Capacity: n/a

    Smashing through the glass-window of the showroom, James Bond hits the roads and gives chase to Scaramanga who is driving another AMC, a Matador. Swerving between cars on the narrow roads of Bangkok, 007 puts his driving proess to full use. As the chase continues, Bond and Pepper find themselves on the wrong side of the river from their nemesis, Scaramanga.

    In an attempt to catch-up with the Matador, grab the bad-guy, and bed the girl, James Bond performs one of the most memorable stunts from the series. The AMC Hornet Hatchback is perhaps the most boring, un-sporty looking vehicles of the Bond franchise, however Roger’s Bond charges some much needed excitement to the car by eyeing up a sunken bridge, and lining up the car for a jump.

    Stunt co-ordinator, WJ Milligan, advised Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman on a stunt he had previously planned and executed. Milligan convinced the two producers that the sequence was feasible, and was eventually given the green light to go-ahead. Using specialised computer equipment at Cornell University, the mathematical and physical implications of the jump were calculated and tested.

    As tests continued, a specially prepared Hornet was being built. The car would feature a centrally-mounted steering to column to maintain the car’s centre of gravity in the middle, and also irrelevant equipment was removed to lighten the car in preparation for the jump.

    The daring stunt would be performed by “Bumps” Willard, an original member of a car stunt specialists group known as “Helldrivers.” Led by “The Bossle Brothers'” and also Joe Williams who performed the famous work on Diamonds Are Forever, in which he drove Tiffany Case’s Ford Mustang Mach-1 on two of its side wheels.

    With paramedics, rescue-divers, and crane equipment on hand, the day of the jump finally arrived. The sunken bridge had been built to disguise a car-ramp built to flip the car 360 degrees in mid-air. An anxious crew prepared for the shoot, as months of planning neared its final-stages.

    Miraculously Willard perfected the stunt in his first attempt, and eight separate cameras had captured the stunning risk he took. Producer, Cubby Broccoli rewarded the crew with celebratory champagne all-around.

    jason @ 2001-08-02
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