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Bond in Motion: 60 years of 007's vehicles at the Petersen Automotive Museum

Astons to Glastrons, Lotuses to Citroens, here's a close-up look at some of Bond's best vehicles.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

We all know the true stars of every James Bond movie are his vehicles. Exotic sports cars equipped with impressive (and often fantastic) accessories like machine guns, bulletproof glass and the occasional ejector seat. 

Rocket launchers? Too mundane. Rocket boosters are more like it. Who among us wouldn't gladly trade a kidney for a Lotus that turns into a submarine? Maybe that's just me. 

The closest any of us will get to being a super-equipped superspy is a stroll through the new Bond in Motion exhibit at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Some of Bond's best cars, boats and more are on display for those without double-O status to single-O ogle. Here's a look around.

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The most iconic Bond car is, unquestionably, the 1964 Aston Martin DB5. Featuring oil slick dispensers, tire slashers and more, it first made it to film in Goldfinger and has been in 10 movies to date, including the latest, No Time to Die. The car here was in that movie, plus most of ones with Daniel Craig and several of those with Pierce Brosnan.

While most associated with British brands like Aston and Lotus, over the course of 25 films Bond has driven a variety of vehicles. One of the Ford Mustang Mach 1s in Diamonds are Forever is here, as is the Mercury Cougar XR-7 driven so expertly by Bond's soon-to-be-wife from On Her Majesty's Secret Service. 

Then there's the AMC Hornet X. One of the cars used in The Man with the Golden Gun is here, but it isn't the one that was used to perform one of the greatest stunts in movie history:

After the Aston, one of the most unforgettable Bond cars is, of course, the white Lotus Esprit submarine from The Spy Who Loved Me. Several Esprits were converted for the movie, most showing the car/sub in various states of transformation. The example here is one of those. Only one was a working submarine and it's currently owned by Elon Musk

It's not just cars at Bond in Motion either. There are two Glastron fiberglass boats, an actual submarine and the tiny, Chevy-powered jet boat featured in The World Is Not Enough.

And, of course, newer BMWs and Astons from the '80s, '90s, and 2000s Bond movies.

The Petersen

In a city so shaped by the automobile, it's fitting that LA has one of the best car museums in the world. Three stories tall and wrapped in a stunning stainless-steel floating ribbon facade, its impressive collection has everything from ultra-rare Jaguars and Porsches to movie cars like the Batmobile and the DeLorean from Back to the Future. A few years ago they had a huge Porsche exhibit, which we caught before it left.

They rotate their collection, with even more cars in a below-ground Vault, which requires a special guided tour. We did that, too, a few years ago.

Bond in Motion

The Bond in Motion special exhibit is included with your ticket to the Petersen. You can book ahead of time, though there don't seem to be any restrictions in place to limit attendance or buying tickets when you arrive. It was very busy during my visit. 

I highly recommend also touring the Vault while you're there, though that costs extra, as does parking, so it can be an expensive day out.

If you're not in LA anytime soon, check out the gallery above for all the Q-branch high-speed goodness.

As well as covering TVs and other display tech, Geoff does photo tours of cool museums and locations around the world, including nuclear submarinesmassive aircraft carriersmedieval castlesairplane graveyards, and more.   

You can follow his exploits on Instagram and his travel video series about his 10,000 mile road trip on YouTube. He also has written a bestselling sci-fi novel about city-size submarines, along with a sequel.