One of the most renowned movies from the James Bond series is the one from 1997, called Tomorrow Never Dies. It was a time when Pierce Brosnan was acting as the 007 secret agent, and the movie’s most spectacular car was then a BMW 7 Series, with the name code E38…
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One of the most renowned movies from the James Bond series is the one from 1997, called Tomorrow Never Dies. It was a time when Pierce Brosnan was acting as the 007 secret agent, and the movie’s most spectacular car was then a BMW 7 Series, with the name code E38. It was a 750iL, a car which hosted a huge 5.4-litre V12 engine, producing 351 CP, matted to a five-speed automatic transmission. And since the car was the „mechanical hero” of the legendary action movie, with spies and incredible situations, it was also equipped with a lot of mechanical „super powers”.
First of all, it was able to be driven via a remote control, integrated in Bond’s Ericsson mobile phone. It had a rocket launch device on the roof, mounted in the trapdoor. Its tires were self-sealing with the option to also automatically re-inflate them. It could spray tear gas around, it had all kinds of guns around it as any Bond car should have and it even had special devices to cut metallic cables in front and throw caltrops at the rear. You can have a look in the videos below, which we have extracted to refresh the memory.
All of those were made to look spectacular and realistic in the movie, of course, but behind the screen there was a tremendous amount of engineering done, to make that happen, in an era when computer generated images were not in trend at all. And besides that, Bond series was always proud of mounting one of the best special effects of the cinematography.
Well, with that having been said, now imagine that we have recently been in the middle of this gorgeous cinematographic story of Tomorrow Never Dies! And that happened in Munich for us, in some secret halls at BMW Classic division. Back in 1997, BMW offered the Bond’s producers 17 E38s for the film, and now, in 2016, one of those cars stays right in front of us, in these secret halls at BMW! So here it is, James Bond’s BMW 7 Series from Tomorrow Never Dies, in „flesh and bones”!
And when you see this car in real life, all the engineering secret held behind the scene suddenly become visible. There is really a rocket launcher on the roof, and though it’s a quite small one, it is still a real rocket launcher! On the coachwork, there and then, you can see some of the dent left by the movie’s action on the car. The most sensational part is, nevertheless, the mechanism behind the remote-control driving ability of the car. No, BMW engineers haven’t made a car with can be actually remotely controlled, but have chosen instead to cut the rear seat and mount there a new steering wheel and a new low seat, with a duplication of the car’s essential controls. A driver had to sit there in a low position and actually drive the car, but his head wouldn’t be seen from the outside. How would the driver see where the car goes, then, would you ask? Well, there are some video cameras integrated in the exterior mirror, and the images are shown on a display mounted in the front of the improvised steering wheel and that’s precisely how the driving was possible, creating the impression of the remote-controlled car! Quite impressive, if we take in consideration that all of those were made almost 20 years ago, back in 1997! As you can see, everything here was made pretty minimalistic and functional, without bothering of the aesthetic side, since this zone was never going to appear in movie. The part with the Bond sitting on the rear seat and driving the car remotely were, of course, filmed in another of the 17 cars made available by BMW.
And the guys from BMW won’t tell us even today how many millions have the invested for the car’s appearance in the legendary movie, especially that there were some additional cars delivered for the same film, but one fact is more than clear: there are proud of that role even today, almost 20 years after!