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.

Advertisement - Article continues below

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!

• Aston Martin DB5• Sunbeam Alpine• Aston Martin DBS• Ford Mustang Mach 1• BMW Z8• Aston Martin Vanquish• Citroen 2CV• What the villains drove


Most Popular


Most Wanted Cars 2020: poll

Decide which classic car you would most want to see brought back from the dead by an all new model
27 Mar 2020

30 brilliant boredom beaters for car fans

Stay at home, stay safe and enjoy some pure automotive escapism in the form of the very best content from Dennis Publishing’s leading car brands.
27 Mar 2020

'The temporary shutdown of car factories could benefit manufacturers and customers'

With car factories around the world closing temporarily, it may give manufacturers the chance to clear out the current backlog of unsold new cars, say…
28 Mar 2020