Sir Ken Adam, 1921-2016

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - News -

Os­car-win­ning pro­duc­tion de­signer Sir Ken Adam, who gave the James Bond films of the 1960s and ’70s such a dis­tinc­tive and ex­pan­sive look, died last week, aged 95. As well as his sets for seven 007 movies, in­clud­ing

Goldfin­ger, You Only Live Twice and The Spy Who Loved Me, he also cre­ated the ‘War Room’ for the black com­edy Dr Strangelove. Less well-known is that he was also re­spon­si­ble for de­sign­ing the fly­ing car for Chitty

Chitty Bang Bang, as well as James Bond’s gad­get-laden As­ton Martin DB5 and sub­mersible Lotus Esprit.

Born Klaus Adam in Ber­lin, his Jewish fam­ily fled to Eng­land be­fore World War II. He was one of only three Ger­man pi­lots to fly for the RAF dur­ing the war.

He started work­ing in film from 1948, and af­ter be­com­ing in­volved with the James Bond se­ries with Dr

No in 1962, Ken was sent with spe­cial ef­fects su­per­vi­sor John Stears to wres­tle a DB5 from a very re­luc­tant As­ton Martin for 1964’s Goldfin­ger. Most of the gad­gets de­vel­oped by Adam and Stears gen­uinely worked.

When the 007 team filmed Ian Flem­ing’s chil­dren’s book Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in 1968, Adam was the nat­u­ral choice to de­sign the au­to­mo­tive star. ‘Wet Nelly’, the aquatic Lotus Esprit driven (or should that be sailed?) by Roger Moore’s 007, fol­lowed in 1977.

Adam was knighted for ser­vices to cinema and An­glo-Ger­man re­la­tions in 2003. Richard Gunn

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