As part of their now sadly discontinued 007 line of models (as of the time of writing that is, Sept 2004) AUTOart released a submarine version of the white Series 1 Lotus Esprit from "The Spy Who Loved Me" starring Roger Moore as James Bond. Released in 1977, this in the authors opinion is one of the best ever Bond films, and 007s white Lotus Esprit modified by Q-Branch is one of the highlights of the movie (along with Ringo Starr's fine looking wife Barbara Bach, as "Agent XXX"!).
In the movie, the Lotus has the ability to convert from sportscar to submarine on the fly, which helps Bond escape from a pursuing machine-gun equipped Helicopter piloted by an evil henchwoman intent on ventilating our hero! When in submarine mode, the Esprit is powered and steered by a 4 propeller and twin rudder assembly on the rear of the car, and depth control is achieved by 4 fins in place of the wheels which have been retracted up into sealed compartments. Bond even has a small periscope protruding through the roof to peer through! A six harpoon launcher is located between the headlights and twin oil dispensers are located behind the flip down rear numberplate. In the film, Bond disposed of a pursuing enemy mini-submarine with the help of depth charges released from under the rear of the car.
In the movie, the underwater scenes with the car were filmed in the Bahamas, although it was meant to be off the coast of Sardinia in the Mediterranean. At least one Lotus Esprit bodyshell was converted by the producers of the film into a mini-submarine. It had working propellers, rudders and fins, but was not watertight inside. A single diver/stuntman operated the submerged Lotus complete with his breathing gear. Apparently it was difficult to control underwater as it's road car shape (which in it's intended environment would produce downforce to keep the car on the road) caused it to adopt a nose down position with ease, which resulted in the nose grazing the bottom of the sea floor quite often. This can be seen in the film as the Lotus brushes the bottom with it's nose frequently as it motors along! The abandoned Lotus submarine shell was discovered a few years ago in the Bahamas and is now I believe in a movie car museum in the UK.
AUTOart did a nice job on this model of the Esprit sub, complete with it's rudders, engines, harpoon launcher, periscope and fins. Interior and engine detail is good but not outstanding, but overall there is little wrong with this model. A must have I think for Bond fans, and it gets 7/10 overall.