If you've ever read a book or seen a movie about James Bond, you must've noticed agent Bond's lavish taste in luxury vehicles. While we've been drooling over how cool each ride is, some hard fans have been working on collecting them. Yes, you read that right, collecting James Bond vehicles. Exactly 41 of them.
Almost 30 years ago in July 1992, three James Bond enthusiasts Dr. Michael L. VanBlaricum, John Cork, and Douglas Redenius have decided to found the Ian Fleming Foundation. What do they do? According to their website, the IFF is dedicated to studying and preserving Ian Fleming's literary works, most notably the James Bond series. A public, nonprofit foundation, IFF masterfully archives and displays Ian Fleming's original works along with the vehicles, products, and/or objects related to the series.
The humble beginning of a massive James Bond collection
It all started when Redenius and his friends decided to buy the Neptune submarine featured in the 1981 Bond movie "For Your Eyes Only" in a sale in 1992. After buying the state-of-the-art submarine, Neptune, Redenius had to think of a place to put it. And since he didn't have a storage facility yet, he had to resort to his backyard. Over time, people got curious about the gigantic submarine, leading to a People Magazine interview which made them well-known around pop culture circles.
While they didn't have more vehicles back in the day, Redenius knew how to acquire more vehicles since he was friends with the Broccoli family, who produced the Bond films, reports The Drive.
Speaking to The Drive, Redenius said “They asked if we would tell them where they the other Bond vehicles were and I said no,” and added, “but we said if you're willing to buy some of them and pay for the restoration, add the vehicles to your tour and then donate them, we'll do that.”
Today, Redenius' massive collection includes 41 vehicles including the Lotus submarine from "The Spy Who Loved Me", the Caterpillar excavator from "Skyfall", a scale model of the Lockheed US VC-140B Jet Star from "Goldfinger", the Cagiva 600 W16 motorcycle from "GoldenEye", the prototype Ford Mondeo from "Casino Royale", the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish from "Die Another Day", and so much more.
While the collection is a sight for sore eyes, it is also contributing to a good cause. The profit IFF makes from it partially goes to paying the rent for the large airplane hangar on a military base south of Chicago, Illinois hangar that houses all the vehicles. The rest of the money is used to grant scholarships or fellowships to college students that share the same interests as the IFF.