So as Bond 25 preps for the start of its shoot we thought we’d have a look at our favourite Bond car. From Goldfinger onwards where the Aston Martin DB5 had an ejector seat and all other extras which manufacturers strangely never offered to new buyers. Audiences loved it and from thereon the Bond car became something of a staple in the franchise performing bonkers stunts (The Man with the Golden Gun) and with ever more far- fetched capabilities (the invisible car in The World is not Enough). Probably the most loved was the white Lotus Esprit in ‘The Spy who Loved Me‘, arguably Roger Moore’s best Bond film. This had a bundle of non manufacturer extras with its best being its ability to turn itself into a submarine and then launch missiles at a pursuing helicopter.
The Lotus Esprit was a prized car from Lotus and they were only too happy to supply the production with two cars as well as six body shells. One of the cars was converted into the submarine by Perry Oceanographics based in Florida and the interior bore little resemblance to what you see in the film. Such a complex requirement meant the inside of the car was stuffed full of pipes, levers, cabling, motors and batteries which were all essential in being able to propel the car through water as well as manouevre it for the shots needed during the sequence. The interior shots in the film were of an entirely different car.
Roger Moore never actually drove the car when it was underwater. That honour was left to a retired US navy SEAL Don Griffin, in full scuba diving gear. The car / submarine made a great sequence with the illusion spoilt only by Moore driving the car out of the sea and dropping a fish out of the car window implying that the car, in submarine mode, leaked.
The Lotus Esprit was kept in an anonymous storage container for 10 years after which no one came forward to claim the contents whereupon the container was sold with contents unknown for $100. Shaken but not stirred the buyer on finding what he had bought restored the cars exterior and auctioned it off in 2013. The Lotus Esprit was sold for 550,000 pounds and bought by Elon Musk who thankfully didn’t strap it to the nose of a rocket and fire it into space.
Regrettably our Editor was unaware of what went into making the Lotus Esprit work and took one for a test drive and drove it headlong into his village pond where he was savaged by a bunch of outraged ducks.