With the latest James Bond film SPECTRE just out on DVD/Blu Ray, our ESP-ionage agent has uncovered details about a local firm’s involvement in the filming of a major scene in the movie…
158 Performance based at Tallington between Peterborough and Stamford supplied one of their jet boats for the James Bond film crew to use on location in Rome! Their Scarab 215 jet boat sped along the Tiber River to capture the thrilling car chase between James Bond’s Aston Martin DB10 and a Jaguar C-X75 driven by SPECTRE henchman Mr Hinx.
158 Performance director Matt Bullock filled us in on the backstory.
“About a year ago we were at the Southampton boat show. It was one of the first times we’d had a Scarab on show as we’re the sole UK distributor for Scarab. As a brand it’s only recently been revived, but had huge popularity during the eighties and nineties. The yellow jet boat that David Hassellhoff, Pamela Anderson and others used in ‘Baywatch’ was a Scarab, and Don Johnson’s character in Miami Vice also had one.
“After the boat show had finished we were contacted by Pinewood Studios who wanted to buy the Scarab they’d seen at Southampton! They’d had some of their people at the boat show running due diligence tests and decided that our Scarab fitted their requirements, but I had to tell them that we’d sold the actual Scarab they’d seen!”
In the end Pinewood placed an order with Matt and 158 Performance for a new Scarab 215 to be custom built in America and shipped to the 158 Performance showroom at Tallington. At 21 feet long the Scarab comes with a massive amount of power. Twin 250hp engines provide a scream inducing total of 500 horsepower, more than enough to be able to keep up with the Aston Martin DB10 and Jaguar C-X75.
“It took 6-8 weeks for it to be built and around this time we were told that it was going to be used to help film the new James Bond film SPECTRE,” added Matt. “I’m a big Bond fan myself, but couldn’t tell anyone about it as we had to sign a confidentiality clause until after the film had been released!
“During the build, Pinewood contacted me asking to borrow the original Scarab they’d seen that I’d sold as they wanted to use it for testing in the huge water tank they have. When I got in touch with the owners I’d sold it to down on the South Coast, that definitely wasn’t the kind of after-sales service they were expecting!”
Unfortunately, Matt was away when Pinewood ‘borrowed’ the Scarab to test but told us – “Pinewood wanted to test the Scarab’s speed and how it handled. One of reasons it made the ideal boat for filming in shallow water like a river is that it doesn’t have a propeller, but provides instant acceleration. Once the new Scarab arrived they arranged for it to be transported down to Pinewood. They then arranged to ship it over to Rome where it was used to film on the river.”
So what did Matt think when he finally got to see the film?
“I went with friends when it first came out at the cinema and we were all waiting to see if we could spot which shots had been filmed from the Scarab. I thought it was a great film and it was nice to think we had a small part in the filming. A lot of people have commented to us about seeing our boat in the behind the scenes footage and it’s been a good talking point for us.”
Matt also has another James Bond claim to fame which he told us about…
“I used to live in Alwalton, and as a teenager I remember when they filmed some of Goldeneye on the Nene Valley Railway. One evening me and a few mates walked over the fields to Castor after the film crew had gone home and were able to play on the set with the Soviet train and tank! Looking back it’s incredible to think we could that, but it was all just there out in the open and we had a great time playing at being James Bond, climbing on and off the tank and train.”
And what of the Scarab jet boat. Where is it now? Moored up in Rome, or another exotic location like Monte Carlo or St Tropez?
“Er, not quite. It’s in Leicester!” Matt told us. “After filming, Pinewood sold it back to me and I resold it to a new owner who lives just up the A47. It came back in to us over winter for a few weeks while we serviced it.”
For information about 158 Performance and details of the corporate days they run visit www.158performance.co.uk