AMC Hornet Auction

3rd August 2017

The barrel-roll stunt car from The Man With The Golden Gun is going up for auction

MI6 logo By MI6 Staff
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The car used for the famous barrel-roll stunt in 'The Man With The Golden Gun' will be going up for auction this month. The 1974 AMC Hornet Hatchback 'Astro Spiral' car goes under the hammer on August 31-September 3 2017 (Labor Day weekend) by Auctions America in Auburn, IN. A slide-whistle is not included in the lot.

The Man With The Golden Gun AMC Hornet barrel-roll stunt

The famous stunt saw James Bond, played by Sir Roger Moore, drive the Hornet over the remains of a collapsed bridge, corkscrewing over a river to continue his pursuit of the villains. In today’s CGI world this seems a minor undertaking; in 1974 it was awe-inspiring. The corkscrew stunt itself was conceived by famed racing and stunt driver Jay Milligan and was performed by Mr. Milligan publicly as early as 1972. Following his successful execution of the trick at Houston’s Astrodome, Milligan contacted EON Productions and offered it to them for the next installment of the franchise. The producers secured the right to use the trick and ultimately filed a patent on it to ensure that no one else could perform it on film.

The Man With The Golden Gun AMC Hornet barrel-roll stunt

Following his successful execution of the trick at Houston’s Astrodome, Milligan contacted EON Productions and offered it to them for the next installment of the franchise. The producers secured the right to use the trick and ultimately filed a patent on it to ensure that no one else could perform it on film.

The Man With The Golden Gun AMC Hornet barrel-roll stunt

Performing the trick in a controlled setting is one thing; to safely execute the stunt on location in Thailand under the limitations of a movie set is quite another. To produce a film-worthy stunt while ensuring the safety of the driver and film crew, extensive computer modeling was in order. At the time the science of automotive computer modeling was still in its infancy and not yet able to produce useful results for the film. It took the groundbreaking work of Calspan Corporation and engineer Raymond R. McHenry to create the system that ultimately enabled the trick to be successful for the film. Following extensive research, engineering, and programming, the trick was exhaustively planned before the first ramp was built. So successful was this planning that the car, bravely piloted by stunt driver Loren “Bumps” Willard, landed exactly where the simulation predicted after hitting the ramp at the suggested speed of 40 mph. Reportedly the trick only required one take, an amazing testament to both the skill of the programmers and that of “Bumps” Willard.

The Man With The Golden Gun AMC Hornet barrel-roll stunt

It took the groundbreaking work of Calspan Corporation and engineer Raymond R. McHenry to create the system that ultimately enabled the trick to be successful for the film. Following extensive research, engineering, and programming, the trick was exhaustively planned before the first ramp was built. So successful was this planning that the car, bravely piloted by stunt driver Loren “Bumps” Willard, landed exactly where the simulation predicted after hitting the ramp at the suggested speed of 40 mph. Reportedly the trick only required one take, an amazing testament to both the skill of the programmers and that of “Bumps” Willard.

Due to the pioneering systems created by Calspan and Mr. McHenry, the Hornet survived the jump without incident. In a further indication of the skill of the programmers, the basic technology they created for the stunt still influences computer simulations including today’s most popular racing video games.

The Man With The Golden Gun AMC Hornet barrel-roll stunt

Offered from the Jay Milligan collection, This 1974 AMC Hornet Hatchback is the actual stunt car used in The Man with the Golden Gun. The car is operable and remains in as-jumped condition, having suffered no damage during the stunt’s one-take execution. The engine and chassis numbers of this car match those on the shipping invoice created when the car was sent from the filming location in Thailand back to Jay Milligan’s JM Productions in New York.

The sale represents a once in a lifetime opportunity to own a truly significant piece of automotive, technological and film history.

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