Auto Eroticism

10.16.2006

By Philip Gefter

If James Bond were gay in the pre-Stonewall era, he would have moved through high international circles of espionage and diplomacy while keeping his sexuality a well-protected secret. Still, his exacting tastes would have signaled to other gay men a sensibility indecipherable to the straight world. Automotively speaking, then, he would have driven not the perfectly lusty and luxe Aston Martin of his cinematic heterosexual incarnation but the now-legendary, heart-stoppingly evolved Mercedes 300 SL 'Gullwing.'

Not only was the Gullwing throbbingly sexy, but it was truly original. It was transportation to the future. The car doors were an inspired flourish (think Bernini) that alluded to something like liftoff. (It's a bird; it's a plane; it's James Bond.) The gay Mr. Bond would have chosen this vehicle not merely for its meticulous engineering and reliability but for its magical realism. It would be for him a sublime calling card, a pleasure machine, a joyride, an object of desire, the closest thing to sex that wasn't sex itself. With no superfluous line in its airtight, muscular body, the cross-hatch (six-pack?) vents on either side of the car exude sheer thrust. Imagine the entrance Mr. Bond would have made in a silver Gullwing: the doors rising to full-flight capacity before his effortless ascent out of the red leather cockpit; a few tugs on his black tuxedo jacket as he might scan the crowd, reach for his cigarette case, and light up.

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