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

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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

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New App Explores the Secret Development Location of the First Atomic Bombs – Atlas Obscura

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Editor’s note: The app is available for Android people at the Play Store – it’s called, Secret City.

Take a virtual tour of Los Alamos Laboratory, home of the Manhattan Project.

During the early part of WWII, the U.S. military brought some of the brightest scientific minds in the U.S. together in an isolated pocket of New Mexico. The top-secret location became known as the Los Alamos Laboratory. There, scientists worked on the Manhattan Project, designing and building the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, 1945.

The Manhattan Project no longer exists, but as this video shows, the secret location has been rebuilt, virtually. Using a new, free iPhone app called Los Alamos: The Secret City of the Manhattan Project, you can tour the secret atomic city as it existed in 1945.

By exploring buildings, reading documents, and playing games, you can become part of the top-secret Manhattan Project—though the app stops short of showing users how to actually make a bomb. The experience finishes at the Trinity atomic test site, where scientists detonated the first test bomb. It’s a virtual, time-traveling counterpart to the real-world site, which still opens to visitors twice per year.

via Atlas Obscura

Vintage 16mm Stop-Motion – A Pleasantly Strange World

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Before digital everything a number of families, and creative sorts, purchased the old 16-or-8mm camera to film those ‘special moments’ of a day in the life. The imaginative kids quickly figured out the magic of the frame and would often take their little action figures and toys and experiment with their own kind of film-making. The above 16mm Kodachrome stop-motion test print for Camel cigarettes is pretty raw – but every person who remembers the joys of 16-or-8mm film will quickly recall that pleasantly strange world that would come alive with the passing of each frame.

If you’re curious to read more about this particular print click here to get the scoop at Cartoon Research.

The M65 – Not The Spiral Galaxy, The Atomic Cannon

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Operation Upshot-Knothole – 25 May 1953

The M65 Atomic Cannon, often called Atomic Annie, was a towed artillery piece built by the United States and capable of firing a nuclear device. It was developed in the early 1950s, at the beginning of the Cold War, and fielded by 1953 in Europe and Korea.

On May 25, 1953 at 8:30am, the Atomic Cannon was tested at Nevada Test Site (specifically Frenchman Flat) as part of the Upshot-Knothole series of nuclear tests. The test — codenamed Grable — was attended by then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Arthur W. Radford and Secretary of Defense Charles Erwin Wilson; it resulted in the successful detonation of a 15 kt shell (W9 warhead) at a range of 7 miles. This was the first and only nuclear shell to be fired from a cannon.

The Grable mushroom cloud with the Atomic Cannon in the foreground.

The Grable mushroom cloud with the Atomic Cannon in the foreground. (Photo courtesy of National Nuclear Security Administration/Nevada Field Office)

After the successful test, there were at least 20 of the cannons manufactured at Watervliet and Watertown Arsenals, at a cost of $800,000 each. They were deployed overseas to Europe and Korea, often continuously shifted around to avoid being detected and targeted by opposing forces. Due to the size of the apparatus, their limited range, the development of nuclear shells compatible with existing artillery pieces (the W48 for the 155mm and the W33 for the 203mm), and the development of rocket and missile based nuclear artillery, the M65 was effectively obsolete soon after it was deployed. However, it remained a prestige weapon and was not retired until 1963.

Of the twenty M65s produced, at least eight survive on display.

A Musical Interlude

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Just a musical interlude to let the fine readers of Atomic Flash Deluxe know that it’s still in operation. So much to explore and various projects to work on, but this lovely corner of the web is still very much in line for some new posts. Thanks for your patience.

The dreamy video above features the Francy Boland Orchestra playing an ethereal lounge version of Claudia.

LSD: A Trip Down Memory Lane

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LSD25 Manufactured by Sandoz Laboratories - Basel, Switzerland

LSD25 Manufactured by Sandoz Laboratories – Basel, Switzerland

Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life.  ~~Steve Jobs

In 1956 this unnamed American housewife took LSD at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Los Angeles. This woman’s husband was an employee at the hospital and referred her to this study, which was reportedly done for a television program on mental health issues.

When Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman first synthesized LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) at the Sandoz laboratories in Basel, Switzerland on November 16, 1938, he felt that the compound wasn’t useful for the project at hand. He set it aside in the slush-pile. Five years later, April 16, 1943, Hoffman felt compelled to take another look at his abandoned discovery. John Beresford writes:

Hofmann is not sure – the chemist in the old Sandoz lab had what he called a “Vorgefühl.” The usual English word for this is “presentiment,” but the German word suggests something stronger than the laid-back “presentiment.” Something was telling Hofmann to retrace his steps and perform a new synthesis of the discarded molecule, LSD-25. It had to be that molecule and not one of the others consigned to the “useless” pile…

Hofmann does not remember what he was doing when the “presentiment” came over him. He won’t say if it came in a dream, or if he was in a state of unusual lucidity. One is free to speculate that the “instruction” to re-synthesize LSD came from a spiritual power which intervenes in the affairs of man to restore order when the danger of disorder has become too great. The reckless act of science in Chicago in December, 1942 (the first successful nuclear chain reaction – ed.) was remedied in Basel four months later, with Albert Hofmann chosen as the instrument to perform the cure.

 Before LSD, After LSD -  Albert Hofmann, the Swiss chemist (1906-2008)

Before LSD, After LSD – Albert Hofmann, the Swiss chemist (1906-2008)

Whatever the case, while re-synthesizing the LSD, Hofmann accidentally absorbed a small amount of the drug through his fingertips and discovered its powerful effects.

…affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors. After about two hours this condition faded away.

Three days later (April 19) Hofmann decided to intentionally take an experimental dose in order to delve deeper into the true effects of LSD. He (wrongly) determined that ingesting 0.25 milligrams (250 micrograms) would be a threshold dose – in actuality a threshold dose is 20 micrograms. Needless to say, Hoffman went a pretty massive trip. Within an hour he began to experience sudden and intense changes to his perception. He asked his lab assistant to accompany him home and, as it was wartime and cars were not an option, the two set out for their destination on bicycles.

At first Hofmann experienced extreme hallucinations and feelings of anxiety and paranoia. But then:

…little by little I could begin to enjoy the unprecedented colors and plays of shapes that persisted behind my closed eyes. Kaleidoscopic, fantastic images surged in on me, alternating, variegated, opening and then closing themselves in circles and spirals, exploding in colored fountains, rearranging and hybridizing themselves in constant flux …

April 19 wold become what is known as Bicycle Day in psychedelic communities and celebrated as the day of discovery for LSD.

LSD blotter paper depicting Albert Hoffman on Bicycle Day

LSD blotter paper depicting Albert Hoffman on Bicycle Day

After sharing this information with colleagues, as well as the experience, LSD-25 became the focus for all kinds of mind-centered experiments. Was it useful as a tool in psychiatry? Could the CIA use it as a pharmaceutical in Mind Control (MK-ULTRA)? Could LSD be used to treat alcoholism and/or autism?

In 1955 a former OSS operative and then Federal Bureau of Narcotics agent named George Hunter White teamed up with the CIA to run what was known as Operation Midnight Climax – a brothel was set up on Chestnut street in the San Francisco Bay area and unsuspecting Johns behavior was observed after they were secretly dosed. Several significant operational techniques were developed in this theater, including extensive research into sexual blackmail, surveillance technology, and the possible use of mind-altering drugs in field operations. This operation was carried out for a decade, 1955-1965. Many suspect that this is how LSD became introduced to civilians on the street and became a catalyst for the psychedelic anti-war culture of the 1960s.

Psychedelic Eye

A whole lot more could be written about the 1960s LSD experience such as the colorful characters, the gurus, the communities, etc., but that’s beyond the scope of this post. Covered here was a short trip down memory lane to the beginnings of a drug that appeared at the dawn of the nuclear age – a time when splitting an atom could blow the world away, and sipping down a molecule could blow the mind away. LSD became illegal in California on October 6, 1966. Other U.S. states and the rest of the world followed with the ban. Like the atom bomb, LSD has faded from social consciousness, but also like the atom bomb, LSD still lurks in the background. Time will tell if another moment will come when they explode back to the front of public awareness.

Happy Intergalactic Thanksgiving and…Please Don’t Eat The Planet

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Warm greetings to all on this day when tradition reminds us to take time out and celebrate the good things/people in our lives. Thanks for taking time to visit this tiny space on the world-wide-web to recall the stuffs of yesteryear. While it seems that all things change – sometimes quite remarkably – some things will always stay the same: like the human needs of food, shelter, and love. Folks who have any or all of these things should treasure them, but also take a moment to think of those who do not.

Then watch this way neato Thanksgiving cartoon.  *heh*