6. August 2013 05:12
This brief article in a 1977 Starlog magazine looks into some of the new technology to be included in The Spy Who Loved Me, including the wet bike, the Lotus submarine-car and the new 007 Sound Stage. I can't tell if the author is describing the features of the car in the movie, or if they really believe that a single Lotus car was built that could transform into a working submarine... The reality, of course is that several cars were used, some were used only for close-ups (such as the wheels retracting), while others required you to wear a wet suit and swim with the 'car'. The actual motortized submarine version of the car goes up for auction later this year.
007 Submarine Car
An amphibious automobile, the "Wetbike," and the construction of the world's largest sound stage are some of the creations that give a new look to the latest James Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me. The underwater automobile, a specially adapted Lotus Esprit, looks and handles on land as does any ordinary Lotus.
But its underwater modification enables it to cruise submerged at a speed of 7.2 knots and at a depth of 45 feet. It was converted for its aquatic assignment by the Florida-based Perry Oceanographic Company. Its special features include wheels that retract, a periscope and special propulsion and rudder units for underseas cruising. It is armed with rockets, missies and harpoon guns, and its protective equipment includes radar screen and steel louvres. The "Wetbike" is Nelson Tyler's latest invention. Straight off the beaches of Southern California, it is a motor cycle on water skis. (It will be introduced commercially after the film's release by the AVR Corp.) The largest sound stage in the world, and the first to be built by the Western World in eight years, was constructed at Pinewood studio for the film. Appropriately dubbed "Stage Number 007," the $1,650,000 construction encloses a section of the interior of the 600,000 ton supertanker, Liparus, which provides berth for three nuclear submarines in a tank holding 1,200,000 gallons of water. One end of the facility becomes the prow of the Liparus, whose doors open like jaws in order to swallow its prey—nuclear submarines. Producer Broccoli toured studios on two continents in search of facilities large enough to handle the Liparus interior sequences which comprise about 20 minutes of the film. All of the previous title-holders for world's largest sound stage proved inadequate for one reason or another. Even an old R.A.F. dirigible hangar was considered before the go-ahead was given to build the new facility. Previous record holders were M.G.M.'s Stage 15 which is 311 feet by 137 feet by 40 feet; Cinecitta #5 in Rome (used for Ben Hur) 261 feet by 118 feet by 45 feet; and Shepperton "H" (home of 2001: A Space Odyssey) 250 feet by 119 feet by 45 feet. Fans of the volcano set for You Only Live Twice will be pleased with James Bond's new dimensions.
[Source: Starlog #8, September 1977, P.30]
James Bond's Underwater Lotus Esprit for Auction