James Bond’s Moon Buggy will be auctioned off as a part of Christie’s ‘Film and Entertainment’ sale on December 14th 2004. This last of the available James Bond vehicles was used by Sean Connery to make a hasty getaway from Willard Whyte’s Nevada-based Techtronics Space Centre in the 1971 film Diamonds Are Forever (Connery’s last “official” Bond film). Other items for sale include Charlie Chaplin’s mustache from the 1940 film The Great Dictator, and a storm-trooper helmet used in the 1980 Star Wars sequel, The Empire Strikes Back.
Graham Rye, editor of ‘OO7’ Magazine and one of the foremost experts on the James Bond phenomenon, is offering the moon buggy for sale after tracking it down and having it restored.
“It was a great challenge organizing its renovation in the Nineties,” says Rye, “and I’m pleased it’s been saved for posterity. It’s an important piece of cinema history from one of Sean Connery’s most popular James Bond films. I hope it will find its way into a public display where Bond fans can view it for years to come.”
The Moon Buggy was conceptualized by Oscar-winning Production Designer Ken Adam, and engineered and built by famed movie custom-car designer Dean Jeffries in his California workshop. Unlike any other famous Bond vehicle the Moon Buggy is truly unique — there was only ever one built! In addition to its appearance in the 1971 film, it was used as the centerpiece of the worldwide advertising campaign for Diamonds Are Forever. After a worldwide publicity tour to promote the film, the Moon Buggy was discarded and allowed to fall into a state of disrepair. The vehicle was eventually located by Rye, who organized the restoration to its original condition. The Moon Buggy was displayed as the impressive centerpiece in Planet Hollywood’s restaurant at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas from 1993 to 2003.
The Moon Buggy scene was filmed on location over Saturday 1st to Tuesday 4th May 1971, at the ‘John Mansville Gypsum Plant’ outside Las Vegas standing in for Willard Whyte’s Techtronics Plant. In the Diamonds Are Forever script given to Dean Jeffries, the Moon Buggy was to burst out through a breakaway wall and drive off down a service road before turning on to a main highway and disappearing from view. It was only when film’s director Guy Hamilton saw the location that it was decided to stage a chase over the rocky and duned desert terrain. Unfortunately Dean hadn’t constructed the vehicle to take that kind of punishment, and much to his displeasure (and the filmmakers) the Moon Buggy kept breaking down during filming. On one occasion during filming the vehicle broke down out of shot, but the rear wheel which had come off can be clearly seen bouncing back into shot in the finished film! Watch out for it the next time you see the movie on TV or DVD.
The Christie’s Bond Moon Buggy is estimated at £25,000 – 35,000. For further details please contact: Sarah Hodgson (Entertainment Specialist) on +44 (0)20 7752 3281.