BRIXMIS Built Real-World Spy Cars Fit for a Scruffier 007

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BRIXMIS Built Real-World Spy Cars Fit for a Scruffier 007

Any gearhead familiar with the James Bond franchise is no doubt also a fan of the gadget-laden automobiles that frequently accompanied 007’s exploits. While these hyper-modified products of Q division might have seemed entirely fabricated—what with their various lasers, machine guns, and ejection seats—in reality British spies during the Cold War also had access to a tricked out, if not quite as fanciful, fleet of vehicles.

The best examples of these secret-agent-mobiles can be found when examining the British Commander-in-Chief’s Mission to the Group Soviet Forces of Occupation in Germany (BRIXMIS) that operated in East Germany from the end of World War II all the way through the toppling of the Berlin Wall in the late 1980s. This unique detachment was charged with exploring the Soviet side of the divided country as discretely as possible, keeping tabs on communist antagonists while at the same time having their tacit permission to be there. The same courtesy was extended to the French (FMLM) and the Americans (USMLM), with the Soviet SOXMIS enjoying their own liberties on the Allied side. The British group was the largest, with 31 members, followed by a 14 member American squad and a smaller number of French.

While each of these missions was officially tolerated (and allowed to bypass formal government controls at the border), they had to be uniformed and in possession of their official passes at all times. It wasn’t long, however, before what had originally been envisioned as “military liaison” forces quickly became conduits for intelligence gathering. Small teams of unarmed BRIXMIS operatives would venture out (alternating from a small HQ in Potsdam as well as West Germany) to take photos, film, and make audio recordings, and then return back to base. Sometimes they’d spend more than a few nights camped out in various isolated safe zones as they tried to lose various security squad tails that had been picked up during the day. For the full story, check out this article from Motor Trend.

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