Ken Adam «The James Bond Moon Buggy» 1971.

submitted on Sat, 2006-05-27 16:21. | | |

Sean Connery in the James Bond Moon Buggy, 1971
Ken Adam,The James Bond Moon Buggy 2, 1971
«Get him off that machine - that isn't a toy!»
«Get out of that Moon Buggy!»
Diamonds are forever, 1971

While investigating multimillionaire recluse Willard Whyte's Tectronics Space Centre outside Las Vegas in the Nevada desert, his cover blown, James Bond, Sean Connery, finds it necessary to make a hasty exit. Finding himself in an artificial moonscape complete with trainee astronauts, Bond dashes for a nearby Moon Buggy vehicle and crashes out of the centre and into one of the 007 films' most famous chase scenes.

Ken Adam,The James Bond Moon Buggy original sketch, 1970
Ken Adam,The James Bond Moon Buggy dimensions, 1970
Ken Adams original sketch

The Moon Buggy was conceptualised 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 centrepiece 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 Graham Rye, editor and publisher of 007 Magazine, who organised the restoration to its original condition. The Moon Buggy was displayed as the impressive centrepiece in Planet Hollywood's restaurant at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas from 1993 to 2003.

Ken Adam,The James Bond Moon Buggy in pinewoods, 1971
Ken Adam,The James Bond Moon Buggy 1, 1971
Moon Buggy at Pinewood

Finally, offered in auction at Christie's Film and Entertainment sale in 2004, the Moon Buggy sold for £23,000 and was purchased by Planet Hollywood owner Robert Earl for display at the Planet Hollywood Las Vegas casino. Former owner, 007 Magazine publisher Graham Rye said, It's great news for James Bond fans the world over. This sale guarantees that the time and effort I put into having the vehicle restored to its former glory have been well worth the effort, as now millions of people will be able to see the Moon Buggy for decades to come.

Graham Rye with the James Bond Moon Buggy, 2004
Graham Rye poses with the Moon Buggy at Christie's 2004

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.

Exterior location shooting: 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.
Interior shooting: The moonscape from which James Bond Sean Connery escapes in the Moon Buggy was filmed on B Stage at Pinewood Studios on Thursday 20th July 1971.

Sean Connery golfing on the moon, 1971
Golfing on the Moon!
Sean Connery relaxes between takes at Pinewood Studios.

sources: 007magazine.co.uk, classicdriver.com