The Top Gear Lotus Submarine Car created to honour fifty years of James Bond is now drying-off at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu.
The Top Gear Lotus Submarine Car created to honour fifty years of James Bond is now drying-off at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu. Here is its story. The project was based on a scene from The Spy Who Loved Me which splashed into cinemas in 1977. While being chased by a helicopter Bond (Roger Moore) and stunning KGB Agent Triple X (Barbara Bach) charged-off a jetty in a Lotus Esprit. The audience, inevitably, then concluded the couple would have to attach armbands and swim. But no. The Lotus transformed into an armed submarine. Bond then dispatched his enemies and continued to enjoy the company of his glamorous side-kick. Sounds like a scene from my autobiography.Clearly, it was worth recreating this submarine car. Top Gear's equivalent of “Q” therefore purchased a Lotus Excel, rather than a pricier Lotus Esprit, as a starting point. Modifications included the extendible rear dive planes, electrically-powered rear thrusters, double skinned passenger compartment, and the roof hatch. The tyres were also filled with concrete to enable the car/submarine/death trap to sink. Presenter Richard Hammond – who is clearly braver than the spy himself – then free-wheeled into a river. Considering Top Gear's notoriously unreliable previous creations, this likeable chap must have been thrilled to find the vehicle was watertight (almost) and could manoeuvre under its own power. Sorry, pooowwwweeeeerrrrrr. This proves one thing … Richard Hammond should be the next 007.