James Bond can show up just about anywhere - here's a magazine most collectors would probably miss, The current issue of Engineering and Technology has not just one but two articles on James Bond. The first is about the Bond in motion exhibit in London that I was lucky enough to visit last summer; and the second is about the Lotus Esprit Submarine featured in The Spy Who Loved Me:
by Dominic Lenton.
You’ve seen them on screen, now there's a chance to get a closer look at some iconic vehicles from the James Bond films, FROM ROGER MOORE’S submersible Lotus Esprit to Daniel Craig’s customised Honda, James Bond fans in the UK have until March 2015 to see the largest official collection of vehicles from the movie series at the London Film Museum’s ‘Bond in Motion’ exhibition. Details are available at londonfilmmuseum.com
1 The opening of the most recent Bond movie, 2012’s ‘Skyfall’, sees Craig and his adversary racing through Turkish streets on Honda CRF250R motorbikes. Twenty heavily modified bikes were used in the filming of the extended chase scene.
2 The 6.01450 horesepower Aston Martin VI2 Vanquish was introduced in 2001 and was Pierce Brosnan’S vehicle of choice the following year in the 20th Bond film, ‘Die Another Day'. Unlike the production model, Bond's motor boasted adaptive camouflage capable of making it invisible to pursuers.
3 The display model of the underwater Bath-o-Sub, in which Ernst Stavro Blofeld attempts to escape at the climax of 1971’s ‘Diamonds Are Forever’, is one of two made for the film. The other was fi lied with concrete so it could be swung from a crane by Sean Connery to destroy his nemesis’s oil platform headquarters.
4 Little Nellie, the autogyro flown by Connery in ‘You Only Live Twice' in 1967, is based on the Wallis WA-116 Agile developed by former RAF Wing Commander Ken Wallis, who actually piloted the aircraft during filming.
5 The first car driven by James Bond on screen may have been a Sunbeam Alpine Series II in ‘Dr. No’, but the Aston Martin DB5, which made its debut in ‘Goldfinger’, is probably the vehicle most people would associated with 007. Three different DB5s were used in the filming of ‘Goldeneye’ in 1995 and the car returned for Bond’s 2012 50th anniversary in ‘Skyfall’.
6 As well as being the official snowmobile brand of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, the MX Z-Rev model of Bombardier’s Ski-Doo featured the same year in an Icelandic chase scene in ‘Die Another Day’.
7 Moore’s Lotus Esprit in ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ (1977) is probably best remembered for its ability to transform into a two-person submarine with wheel arches that convert to fins and a roof-mounted periscope, but it also featured cannons that spray cement onto pursuing vehicles. Underwater scenes were filmed using scale miniatures of the sports car and empty body shells with divers inside.
8 Bond villains can’t give their employees stock company vehicles. In ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ (1971) the Honda ATC90 three-wheeler bikes that pursue 007 across the desert are customised with dummy antennas and painted green to match the Ford Galaxie cars that their colleagues are driving.
9 Moore takes the back seat of the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II when he’s chauffeured by ex-Avenger Patrick Macnee in ‘A View To A Kill’ (1985). Sensibly, the vehicle from which Bond makes a daring underwater escape by breathing air from a tyre was filmed using a replica. The real one was the property of Bond film producer Albert R ‘Cubby’ Broccoli and had its own parking place at Pinewood Studios.
10 When Brosnan’s briefing session early in ‘The World Is Not Enough’ (1999) is interrupted by an attack on MI6 headquarters it’s the start of a chase along the Thames during which Bond uses all the gadgetry of the twin-jet ‘Q-Boat’.
11 One of the lower-tech gadgets in Bond’s arsenal is the crocodile submarine that Moore uses to evade the guards at Octopussy’s palace in the eponymous 1983 film. The fibre-glass shell is covered in crocodile skin and has an electric motor, but relies on a stick to open and close its jaws.
12 A 1937 custom-built black and yellow Rolls-Royce Phantom III HH plays an important part in the 1962 film in which villain Auric Goldfinger smuggles gold to Switzerland by melting it down and incorporating it in the vehicle’s bodywork. Bond follows him using the advanced tracking device in his Aston Martin DB5.
CLASSIC PROJECT: 007 LOTUS ESPRIT ‘SUBMARINE CAR’
by Nick Smith
Date: 1976 (car), 1977 (submarine)
Designer: Giorgetto Giugiaro (car)
Cost: £616,000 at auction, 2013
AFICIONADOS of the James Bond movie franchise will recognise the vehicle in the blueprint as the modified Lotus Esprit SI from ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’. The car takes centre stage in an exhilarating car chase, during which it converts into a submarine to make its escape underwater. The 007 Lotus Esprit is routinely voted the best movie car of all time and, as with so many of Bond’s gadgets, it comes armed to the teeth with all kinds of explosives, weaponry and other fiendish devices to assist with the defence of Queen and country. Known as ‘Wet Nellie’, the wet-sub was named after the Wallis WA-116 Agile gyrocopter ‘Little Nellie’ in ‘You Only Live Twice’, that had in turn been named after the music hall star and actress Nellie Wallace.
The Lotus Esprit S1 was the brainchild of car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro and was among the first of his origami-style ‘folded paper’ designs. Originally called the Kiwi, its name was subsequently changed to Esprit to fit in with the tradition of Lotus car model names starting with the letter ‘e’. With its steel chassis and fibreglass body, SI was fast and light, topping out at 138mph (222km/h) and weighing in at under 1,000kg. Launched at the 1975
Paris Autoshow, it replaced the Europa model and went into production in 1976. At the time it was beyond doubt Britain’s most advanced sports car.
Determined to give it the publicity he thought it deserved, Lotus PR manager Don McLaughlan was anxious to get his product into the next Bond movie. Impressed by the impact product placement had on the sales volumes of previous Bond cars, especially Aston Martins, he parked an unmarked pre-production model outside film producer Albert R ‘Cubby’ Broccoli’s offices at Pinewood Studios. The stunt worked and Lotus were asked to supply two production models of the car, along with seven body-shells.
One of the shells was equipped with seals in order to make it suitable for the underwater scenes. Another was cut in half to allow for filming the dialogue between Bond (Roger Moore) and his love interest, Soviet KGB agent Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach) in their separate seats. The two road versions were strengthened with additional sheet metal underneath the radiator to provide resistance to the uneven surfaces of the Sardinian roads as Bond evaded the pursuing helicopter.
The underwater version of the Esprit was a real submarine, specifically a ‘wet sub’ that had been built by Perry Oceanographic of Florida, USA, for $100,000 (about half a million in today’s money). The wet-sub environment meant that the pilot (in this case former US Navy Seal Don Griffin) was required to wear scuba equipment. Wet Nellie’s interior bore no resemblance to the inside of the car as it appeared in the film. The wet-sub provided a basic platform for the divers operating the machine, while interior shots were filmed in other modified shells.
After the movie Wet Nellie went on a promotional tour, before ending up in a storage container in Holbrook, New York. The story goes that the rent on the unit was paid ten years in advance, after which the forgotten unit became ‘rent delinquent’ and was sold at ‘blind’ public auction in 1989 for $100. The new owners of the container opened it to find that the 007 submarine car was intact apart from some damage to the roof. Subsequently, vehicle registration PPW 306R was restored to museum exhibit quality and eventually sold by RM Auctions in September 2013 for £616,000.
Next month: Zeppelin type L3 airship
[Source: Engineering & Technology, December 2014, Vol. 9 Issue 11, p72-75, 98-99. Copyright © 2014 Institution of Engineering & Technology.]