A Fab Car From A Fab Stunt: James Bond’s ‘Barrel Roll’ AMC Hornet Up For Auction


Remember this…?

The stunt was revolutionary.

The vehicle used in this marvy ‘astro spiral’ is soon to be auctioned off. Read all about it in the following entry from Just Collecting – the condition of this beauty attests to the perfection of that cutting-edge stunt.

1974 AMC Hornet Front Right Tire Profile

A car used in one of the most famous James Bond stunts of all-time is heading for auction later this year.

Auctions America is set to offer the AMC Hornet used for the iconic barrel-roll jump in The Man with the Golden Gun, in which Roger Moore corkscrews over a collapsed bridge in Thailand.

Completed in a single take by stunt driver Loren ‘Bumps’ Willard, years before the advent of CGI, the stunt remains one of the most spectacular car jumps in movie history.

The 1974 AMC Hornet X ‘Astro-Spiral’ stunt car is expected to sell for $250,000 – $350,000 when it goes under the hammer in Auburn, Indiana over the Labour Day weekend.

1974 AMC Hornet

The stunt was originally conceived by US racing driver Jay Milligan, who first performed it at the Houston Astrodome back in 1972.

He then contacted the producers of the James Bond movie series, who immediately snapped up the rights to use the stunt in their next instalment.

To make sure the stunt went according to plan whilst filming on location, and ensure the safety of their driver, producers used groundbreaking computer technology to simulate the jump beforehand.

They turned to computer engineer Raymond R. McHenry, who had designed a pioneering piece of simulation software known as HVOSM (Highway Vehicle Object Simulation Model) whilst working at Calspan

The mathematical computer model had been created to simulate car accidents, and help design safer vehicles. But McHenry realised that he could also use it to design a really cool car stunt, and spent two years perfecting it.

When it came time to actually perform the stunt, the painstaking calculations and planning paid off.

1974 AMC Hornet 'Astro Spiral'

Willard nailed the jump on the first attempt, with the car landing exactly where McHenry’s software had predicted it would.

The result was cinematic and technological history – the first movie stunt ever designed on a computer.

McHenry’s software was years ahead of its time, and led directly to the simulation models used by modern-day racing video games.

Having loaned his original stunt car to the production, Jay Milligan then shipped his AMC Hornet back to the U.S, where it remained in his collection for more than 40 years.

The Auctions America Auburn Fall Sale takes place at the historic Auburn Auction Park from August 31 until September 3.

via Just Collecting


Everything Is Beautiful – Even Computer Components


The Computer Age (Cover)

The Computer Age is an informational brochure providing a short, but concise, story of the evolution of IBM computers from 1951 to 1976 (the year of publication). The entire booklet is available in PDF format from the Computer History Museum and can be found here. While it is an interesting introduction on how we got from there to here – from the huge and incredibly expensive vacuum tube mini-minds, to the less expensive, smaller, faster, and smarter personal computers of the time – there is something else that stands out.

The ‘special-effects’ photography of Mitchell Funk is fab. Below are three of his images from the booklet. IBM must have been immensely pleased by Funk’s ability to show their computer components as wonderful works of art.

Glistening Array Of Vacuum Tubes

A glistening array of IBM vacuum tubes.

Transister Rainbow

A row of transistors appear to be marching in front of rainbow-ed wiring.

The Ghosts In The Machine

This curious and haunting image suggesting the ‘ghosts in the machine’.

Pretty good stuffs.


A h/t to Luis Cesar at Facebook for the inspiration.

The How And Why Wonder Book Of Atomic Energy (With Cool Illustrations)


This 1970 publication for young people is actually pretty good. It’s good for anyone, of any age, who would like to understand the workings of atomic power/energy.

Click on the book above to open a small reader. Clicking on that one will get the full screen view. Just hit escape on your keyboard or tap the arrows at the lower right of the screen to return to the page.

Some Super Mid-Century Mod Designs


So, Wright auction house in Chicago, Illinois, takes great pride in their specialization of modern and contemporary design. After a look at the items available in their upcoming June 10, 2015 auction, it’s easy to understand why. Rather than give details for each lot (i.e. starting bid amounts, etc.) this post will mainly focus on the items themselves. There’s some really rare and marvy examples of mid-century design to appreciate. All images can be viewed in larger format by clicking the pic. (If you are interested in any of the items, click on the name of the piece and you’ll get to the listing at Invaluable online.)

First, a look at a couple sofas and one daybed:

Helge Vestergaard Jensen adjustable (backrest) sofa, model 701 - Denmark, 1961

Helge Vestergaard Jensen adjustable (backrest) sofa model 701 (Denmark, 1961)Minimalistic but very stylish

Taichiro Nakai rare and important sofa, Japan, 1954.

Taichiro Nakai rare and important sofa (Japan, 1954)
This rare sofa successfully combines the dynamic formal qualities of postwar design with the restraint and elegance of Japanese aesthetics. The design was an award-winning entry for the 1955 Concorso internazionale del Mobile, Cantu. The jury for the competition included Alvar Aalto, Finn Juhl, Gio Ponti and Carlo de Carli.

Osvaldo Borsani L77 daybedOsvaldo Borsani L77 daybed (reclining)

Above is the Osvaldo Borsani L77 daybed (Italy, 1956) – shown in the flat position and the reclining position. The enameled steel mechanism design of the frame and legs gives it a very industrial look. It’s a look that remains modern and would fit in well with today’s contemporary loft apartment designs.

Below are some super mid-century chair designs:

Gio Ponti Distex lounge chair, model 807 (Italy 1953).

Gio Ponti Distex lounge chair, model 807 (Italy, 1953) – A personal favorite – an agelessly fab design. Model 807 is covered with high quality skai material – a faux leather that is indistinguishable from the real thing. This particular chair has some staining – fortunately, there are some very good skai treatments on the market today.

Class and Style: Hans Wegner rare Bear chair and ottoman (Denmark, 1950/1969)

Class and Style: Hans Wegner rare Bear chair and ottoman (Denmark, 1950/1969) – Few examples of the Bear chair were produced. This rare example featuring original leather was acquired from Johannes Hansen by the present owner.

Pierre Guariche G10 lounge chairs (France, 1954)

Pierre Guariche G10 lounge chairs (France, 1954) – Plywood was a very popular material with mid-century modern designers. The wood armrest version of the G10 lounge chairs was produced for only two years before it was replaced by an entirely upholstered version.

George Nelson & Associates Coconut chairs (USA 1956) - a classic.

George Nelson & Associates Coconut chairs (USA 1956) – a classic made with plastic body molding, enameled and chrome plated steel legs, and…naugahyde seat covering.

A bit of side trivia:

The iconic creature above is a Nauga – the rare and exotic animals who lived in Sumatra and shed their hide each year…resulting in Naugahyde. The product manufacturers of this new material (polyvinyl chloride, AKA vinyl, leatherette, sponge leather, and PVC), Uniroyal, were more than willing to allow for the Nauga’s notoriety. When Johnny Carson had a Nauga as guest on The Tonight Show in 1966, the creatures hit stardom like never before.

Back to one more chair:

Frank Lloyd Wright rare Executive Office chair (USA 1956)Frank Lloyd Wright rare Executive Offoice chair (USA 1956)

Shown above is a quasi-spaceage marvel – the very rare Frank Lloyd Wright Executive Office chair (USA 1956). Due to their complex construction, few of these Executive Office chairs were produced. This is one of three known examples; one example remains in the Price Tower Arts Center, Bartlesville, Oklahoma and the other sold at Wright in March of 2005.

A few lighting designs:

Charlotte Perriand wall lights (France, 1950)

Charlotte Perriand wall lights (France, 1950) – Classy, colorful and fun, and made of enameled steel.

Gio Ponti – nuff said.

Vladimir Kagan Cygnet floor lamp, model 2080 (USA, 1957)

Vladimir Kagan Cygnet floor lamp, model 2080 (USA, 1957) – A somewhat conservative design but with a flair of modernism.

And we’ll end this post with a couple decorative objects:

The two sculptures above are examples of Harry Bertoia’s Sonambient creations. Bertoia was already a world-renowned designer and sculptor when he, by accident, discovered an interest in the sounds of two or more metal rods striking each other. He began to design sound sculptures like the ones above. Through the years he created numerous types of various shapes and sizes. He also recorded eleven vinyl albums featuring the abstract sounds with titles like Space Voyage and Sounds Beyond. The Washington Post has a great online story about Harry Bertoia and his fascinating works – click here to read more about that.

Harry Bertoia's Sonambient LP reissue. (image courtesy of Beverly Twitchell via Dwell)

Harry Bertoia’s Sonambient LP reissue. (image courtesy of Beverly Twitchell via Dwell)

Leo Amino Untitled (USA, c. 1955) - A most excellent Amino abstract (carved mahogany, brass wire, and aluminum).

Leo Amino Untitled (USA, c. 1955) – A most excellent Amino abstract sculpture (carved mahogany, brass wire, and aluminum).

And this:

Isamu Noguchi Measured Time clock and kitchen timer (USA, 1932)

Isamu Noguchi Measured Time clock and kitchen timer (USA, 1932) – This early work marks Noguchi’s first industrial design for commercial manufacture. White Bakelite examples of this form are extremely rare.

Some really great stuffs. Not just fascinating design, but also wonderful historic gems.