Peter Janson-Smith, the man Ian Fleming called the ‘prince of agents’, was born 100 years ago today. This appreciation is based on an interview I conducted with him in the run-up to his 90th birthday celebrations.
My friends in the Ian Fleming Foundation invited me to join them for the press launch of the first iteration of Bond in Motion, back at dear old Beaulieu in January 2012. The exhibition subsequently went on to enjoy great acclaim at the London Transport Museum, and is currently drawing crowds to the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.
In the summer of 2010, my family and I mixed business and pleasure on a four-week sojourn around North America, punctuated with book events. This was the first one, at the Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club’s Annual Meet. It was set up by Sabu Advani. At the time he was Editor-in-Chief of the RROC’s house magazine, The Flying Lady, and I recommend any petrol head to check in regularly with his speedreaders.info site, with its plethora of reviews on transport books and media.
My first overseas talk in support of The Man Who Supercharged Bond came about because of the one of the images on the front cover: the iconic 1962 image which Loomis Dean shot for Life magazine of Ian Fleming sitting in a Blower Bentley, the car supercharged by Amherst Villiers and famously driven by James Bond in the first three 007 novels.
The Bugatti Trust possesses a wealth of primary source material relating to Bugatti, and in David Morys it has a first-rate archivist. Its on-line photo archive is an absolute treat – excellent search capabilities, and packed full of photos that deserve to be published much more often that they are.
It was entirely appropriate that the first talk in support of The Man Who Supercharged Bond was at Beaulieu. Patrick Collins still runs the Research Library there, and Jon Day the Motoring Picture Library, and they’ve both been an enormous help to me down the years.