Lotus Esprit, The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
BOND FACT: The Esprit that crashed into the sea was a mock-up fired by an air cannon.
If any other car can compete with the Aston Martin DB5 for the accolade of being known as Bond’s car, it’s the white Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me. And undoubtedly it’s the car most closely associated with Roger Moore’s time as 007.
Bond is investigating the disappearance of British, Russian and American nuclear submarines, and his travels take him to Sardinia, where Q has a special car waiting for him. It has the usual range of MI6 extras, including cement-spraying jets, a mine dispenser and missiles, but the white Esprit’s main party trick is revealed when 007 is being pursued by the bad guys.
After a long jump off of a short pier, the Esprit looks doomed, but with the flick of a switch, Bond turns the supercar into a submarine and makes good his escape.
While a number of Esprits were used in the chase scene, the final car is hardly a Lotus at all. Instead, Wet Nellie, as it was affectionately known, is a wet submarine.
Producers didn’t have the budget to build a watertight submersible, and the addition of louvres on all the windows made it easy to simply drape a fibreglass Esprit shell over a wet sub. Drive for this machine came courtesy of two scuba divers, who were hidden on board!
- 1IntroductionWhat is the best James Bond car of all time? We've picked some of our favourites. What's yours?
- 2Aston Martin DB5BOND FACT: The car also appears in Thunderball (1965), GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), Casino Royale (2006) and Skyfall (2012)
- 3Lotus Esprit - currently readingBOND FACT: The Esprit that crashed into the sea was a mock-up fired by an air cannon.
- 4Sunbeam AlpineBOND FACT: The Alpine in Dr No was borrowed from a Jamaican resident and was one of only a few sports cars on the island.
- 5Aston Martin DBS￼BOND FACT: The sensational Casino Royale crash was filmed at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire.
- 6Ford Mustang Mach 1￼￼BOND FACT: The Mustang chase was filmed on Las Vegas’ famous Fremont Street, which was still open to the public.
- 7BMW Z8BOND FACT: The film's 14-minute pre-title sequence is by far the longest of any Bond film.
- 8Aston Martin Vanquish￼BOND FACT: The car chase on the ice was shot in Norway and Iceland.
- 9Citroen 2CVBOND FACT: The film's car chases were choreographed by French stunt driver Rémy Julienne.
- 10What the villains droveHe's behind you: some of our favourite vehicles driven by the villains