Wednesday, May 7, 2014
"Little Nellie" was the autogyro featured in the 1968 James Bond film that many enthusiasts consider the cream of the crop of the entire series, "You Only Live Twice."
In the film, Sean Connery as James Bond does some reconnaissance and fighting in Little Nellie, which is brought to him in Japan personally by Q.
It is one of the highlights of the film and, indeed, the entire James Bond series.
The autogyro was very real. It was not a Hollywood illusion. The autogyro was capable of doing exactly what was shown - though it wasn't actually armed - and operated in the same fashion.
The autogyro was designed and built to exacting standards by Wing Cdr Ken Wallis, a World War II hero who flew 28 bomber missions over Europe. It was a special design, not available to the public. Commander Wallis himself flew the machine in place of Sean Connery in "You Only Live Twice." He passed away at age 97 last fall, having lived a full life. He last flew the one-seat Little Nellie in 2008 at the incredible age of 92.
There is no way to gauge how much Little Nellie is worth - it's a one-off, and this is the only one available for sale (there are other copies held in a trust and which are shown at exhibitions). It flies. It's Little Nellie. That's all bidders need to know.
Real James Bond artifacts like Little Nellie aren't usually sold to ordinary people on the street. A beaten-up copy of an underwater Lotus was sold last year, and the buyer was Elon Musk of Tesla and Paypal fame. So, this is an opportunity that big names are sure to follow. One can only imagine what it ultimately will bring, but it is absolutely dead certain that it will bring a worthy price. The buyer, should she or (more likely, this is an ultimate Big Boys toy) he wish to disclose their identity, is almost certain to be a household name.
Inquiries about the aircraft are being handled by Old Buckenham Airfield in Norfolk, with Commander Wallis' son handling the sale.