JASON COLLIE and sons have an unashamedly macho time among the guns and Bond cars at Beaulieu

THERE are certain things that make a father proud.

They shouldn’t in this grown-up 21st Century world, but they do.

My little mildly macho box got ticked at Beaulieu when oldest son and heir to the Collie estate, Dylan, set out on “patrol” with troops from the Royal Logistics Corp hunting enemy soldiers and proceeded to kill his quarry.

In fact that is not accurate. He spotted the evil-doer (because let’s face it, he probably was) and proceeded to charge headlong, screaming, before despatching him to the wartime statistic book for casualties. No namby-pamby coward my boy.

This little bit of father-son bonding happened during the recent Trucks & Troops exhibition at Beaulieu, home of the National Motor Museum and just down the A34(ish) in the New Forest.

The term bonding is also a clever segue to the main attraction at Beaulieu for the Collie family, its long-term exhibition of vehicles from the 007 films.

Fifty of the most memorable cars, boats, bikes and, err, crocodiles from the Bond films are there in a much more absorbing and thorough exhibition than Beaulieu hosted about 10 years ago.

For the 007 fan there is pretty much everything. The cornerstone, naturally, is a Goldfinger-era Aston Martin DB5, sitting alongside that villain’s Rolls Royce Phantom III.

They reside with an Aston Martin Volante from The Living Daylights and the two main cars from Die Another Day in a special area decked out to play film clips from each car’s relevant scenes.

You can easily get lost for a couple of hours wandering among the Bond vehicles in an exhibition that ranges from the luxurious to the less glamourous.

For every bashed up Aston Martin DBS from Quantum of Solace you have For Your Eyes Only’s Citroen 2CV; or BMW 750iL from Tomorrow Never Dies through to the ‘Pig’ gas pipe scouring plug used in the defection of Russian General Georgi Koskov in Daylights.

To be fair, it was those exhibits that caught my eye the most. The cars are great, but things like the Crocodile mini-sub from Octopussy, the burial at sea bed from You Only Live Twice, a Honda trike from Diamonds Are Forever and a tow-sled from Thunderball are just magical, tangible relics and souvenirs from the world’s greatest film canon.

A special piece though is Little Nellie, the mini-helicopter from You Only Live Twice that is bearing the scars proudly of its 45 years since being shown around the world.

Much like charging off in fatigues, face-painted and waving a wooden rifle at some foe of the country, it’s unashamedly boys’ stuff. And proudly so.

Beaulieu estate is in the heart of the New Forest, an easy day trip down from Oxford.
But you also have the choice of making it an overnight stop, staying at the rustic Master Builder’s House Hotel. Beaulieu is open 10am to 5pm every day except Christmas Day. A family ticket (two adults and three children or one adult and four children) costs £52.50.

For more information, go to beaulieu.co.uk