Bond's submersible Lotus Esprit to hit the auction block

For many of us in our 30s, the white Lotus Esprit S1 driven by Roger Moore as James Bond in 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me represents our first exposure to Lotus and the beginning of a long love affair with the British marque. After all, the Esprit was one of the most exotic and different-looking cars those young eyes had ever set on at the time ( and the S1still looks fantastic today). What made the Bond car special, however, was its incredibly cool alternate mode, which we were introduced to when Bond, being pursued by a helicopter, drives it off a pier into the water in a bid to escape (insert British-car electrical system joke here).

We know what happens, of course. The Lotus transforms into what is quite possibly the slickest make-believe submarine ever, dispatches the pursuing chopper with a missile from its vertical launch tubes (which happen to share the exact same real estate as the engine -- another Q Branch packaging miracle -- wink, wink), performs reconnaissance on the evil Stromberg's underwater hideout, and then, in a great scene, returns to the mainland via a crowded beachfront.

And now you can buy it. Next week at Coys Monaco auction, a completely refurbished "submarine mode" prop car from The Spy Who Loved Me will cross the block. During the filming, two complete cars and two bodyshells were used, and the car for sale was purchased as a shell in the Bahamas. Lotus confirmed its authenticity to the buyer, and then provided him with complete technical specifications so that it could be restored to full Bond-car glory. There's no running-gear in it at all (the sub-mode cars apparently didn't have any), and we think this would make one seriously impressive home decoration -- easily surpassing the Countach wall-hanging. If we had, you know, a 20,000 sq. ft. house and money to burn, we'd be there, paddle in hand. Alas, we'll make do with the Corgi Junior version we still possess today. Coys expects the sale to net somewhere between €30,000 - €40,000. And no, guys, Barbara Bach (a.k.a. Anya Amasova, a.k.a Agent XXX, a.k.a. Mrs. Ringo Starr) is not included.

[Source: Coys via Hemmings]


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