The James Bond Vehicle Library

BSA A65 Lightning

04/01 2004, updated 23/06 2018   by PS

BSA A65 Lightning
After the attack
BSA A65 Lightning
Thunderball, 1965
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007 Relations

Thunderball - 1965
Villain/henchmens vehicle


Fiona Volpes motorcycle. Count Lippe is shadowing Bond and when he prepares to shoot 007, Fiona riding the bike comes from behind and assaninates Count Lippe using the bikes rockets.

Thanks to Nigel Hodgetts for the data and description:

The A65 Lightning in Thunderball was ridden by a well known British racer of the time called Chris Vincent.

The rocket firing tubes and other mods were undertaken by John Steers. I would estimate the fairing would have added approx 2-4 mph top speed but as Chris Vincent was something of an expert with the A65 engine I would not be surprised to find engine and gearing modifications had been made to give it more power than standard. The bike was used in a publicity tour in 1965 and is now in the Cars of the Stars in Cumbria UK.

Briefly the BSA A50/A65s were a unit construction design that came out in the early 60s and carried through to the end of BSA. They were never as popular as Triumphs of the period in part due to an engine some called a power egg due to the shape of its crankcases. It also developed a reputation for being unreliable but compared to other bikes of its time it was probably no worse or better.

BSA at one stage in the 60s were the worlds biggest motorcycle manufacturers. They were based in Birmingham England and ceased trading in 1974.

Dave Worrall's comment:
There were 2 BSA bike's used in Thunderball. One was 'dummied' up for the scene where it was pushed into the lake. It was sold after filming as a normal bike, without any OO7 extras.

Mail from Brian Newman:
I used to live at an address in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, England and lived next door to the Finance Director, Mr Eggledon (spelling may be incorrect) for the company who at that time made the James Bond films. What he told us was that he recovered the bike from the lake, ordered replacement fairings from BSA and used the bike himself. We often saw him riding the bike. Eventually he sold the bike to a couple of youngish guys, none of whom would have realised the true future value of the bike. I moved out of Potters Bar in 1974 and it was well before this date that he sold the bike.

Technical Data

  • Manufacturer: BSA, England
  • Model: A65
  • Engine: 650cc Overhead Valve twin cylinder
  • Power: 52 hp at 6.900 rmp
  • Transmission: 4 speed gearbox
  • Unladen weight: 421 lbs
  • Performance: Max. speed 108 Mph
    Standing start quater mile 15,1 seconds
  • Colour: Gold


  • 4 Icarus rockets (two on each side of the full fairing)


The Motorcycle, December 16 1965 edition


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