As with most young boys, growing up in England was not the most exciting place in the world. I remember taking part in the French exchange and having my pen pal telling me for what the English were famous of, in the eyes of the rest of the world. First on the list was the Queen, and the mystery that her role holds to everyone (including most English), then there was bad cooking, David Beckham and driving on the wrong side of the road. All of these things did not paint a very favorable picture of England, until he then mentioned another thing that is automatically associated with England, the class and style, the fantastic accent, this thing was of course, James Bond.
James Bond is one of the best things that ever happened to England, the fantastic quotes, the action scenes, the beautiful women and of course the fantastic cars. From the Toyota 2000GT, that was featured in the 1967 James Bond movie, “You Only Live Twice,” starring Sean Connery, to the famous Aston Martin DB5 in “Goldfinger”. More recently the Aston Martin DBS in “Casino Royale” was yet again a dream for most men and boys.
However, the one thing that I have always appreciated in Bond films, something that I do not think gets enough praise are the roads and the scenery in the films. Take for example the fantastic opening sequence in “the spy who loved me” with the chase down the slopes followed by the jump off the cliff face with Bond opening the “union jack parachute”, it was as if he was sticking his middle finger up to, well, everyone who wasn’t British. This scene was filmed in Switzerland at St. Moritz and started off the long tradition of Bond movies and fantastic Alpine settings.
Who could forget the famous scene with the mustang and the Aston Martin DB5 in “Goldfinger”, that beautiful winding road? This road is also in Switzerland, not far from Zurich (our HQ); the road is called the Furka pass climbing to over 2400m, almost twice the height of Ben Nevis and it’s a road! A world famous driver’s paradise that is as beautiful now as it was when Sean Connery drove it.
Switzerland has not solely been used for making Bond better, but also to complete his enemy’s evil aura. The Schilthorn in St. Moritz was Blofeld’s evil domain, a magnificent impenetrable fortress, which serves, normally, as a restaurant. Again this is set close to what are referred to as the “ big 3 “ passes, a dramatic inter-connecting stretch of 3 passes in a loop, the Furka, Grimsel and Susten passes.
There are of course other famous car chases that were not filmed in Switzerland, the Goldeneye car chase between the DB5 and the Ferrari 355 were shot in the Alps Maritimes, in and around Grasse in the south of France, a stone’s throw from Monte Carlo.
The tradition of Bond car chases and fantastic roads looks like it is set to continue with the new bond film. Images have appeared of perhaps the new Bond car, a Lotus Evora with the well known red and gold paint job that made the Lotus so famous in “for your eyes only”. Who knows but it is safe to say that the tradition has spanned many different generations and has been at the heart of keeping one of the only good British stereotypes alive, the fact that we are simply class.
These boyhood dream scenes and drives can now become your reality with the unique and exciting driving concept, Ultimate Drives, where all of the Bond routes and more are available to be enjoyed.
Until next time…..