Tuesday, February 28, 2017

AUTOS: London Motor Museum - Octopussy'

One of the stunning white Lotus Esprit's that James Bond used in The Spy Who Loved Me movie. (The Tomaso Collection)
The vehicle pictured above may/may not still be on display. As these pictures were taken during last Summer; August, 2016...

The Name is Esprit, Lotus Esprit! How can I-T be forty years already; Aye Karumba! And how many times have I watched this epic James Bond film on thy Telie' over those years?

As The Spy Who Loved Me starring Rodger Moore debuted in the summer of 1977, as let that sink in a moment; Pun intended! As this is probably one of my most favourite Bond films, as I even recall having bought a Corgi Toys? Black Bell Heli', complete with shooting red/orange  plastic missiles as a 'Wee lad!

And while Moore might have been the star, how can we forget Barbara Bach; MEOW! As I still chuckle over that typical Bond witticism about Shared Bodily Warmth...

Yet for Mwah, one of the movie's leading stars is the eye catching white Lotus Esprit which bond uses to first escape a rocket wielding motorcycle Sidecar, other cars and ultimately that black Bell Jet Ranger helicopter with its female pilot.

As perhaps it's just Mwah, but the Lotus Esprit was a stunning car with it's evocative "Wedge Shape" of the era. As the original Esprit S1, or Series 1 was designed by noted Italian automotive stylist Giorgetto Giugiaro.

These first generation were produced between 1976-78, replacing the previous Lotus Europa, and featured a 2.0-litre Inline four cylinder longitutally mounted mid-ships engine mated to a 5-speed manual transmission transaxle.

And while Lotus claims of 0-60mph in 6.2-seconds and a top speed of 138mph were a bit optimistic, especially Stateside, due to power being downgraded to 142bph due to Federal Emissions standards.

Nevertheless, this is probably my favourite Lotus, thanks largely to its racy' wedge shape styling, excellent handling characteristics - along with it's clever movie placement. As I also found the bronze Esprit 007 uses at the Ski Chalet in the movie quite alluring... Whilst I've no idea what colour the third Esprit destroyed by the bad guy was.

Alas, I can only surmise, that it's some clever way 'O keeping the James Bond image on our collective radars with the periodic sale of some of his classic rides used to get rid of the Villains over the decades. Having first become aware of one of these Esprit's going under the hammer some eight-plus years ago.

And like A-L-L movies, naturally multiple cars are needed for the film's completion, although it seems typical that exact numbers are never confirmed. Yet allegedly the second most popular 007 vehicle after that gorgeous Aston Martin DB5, sat unknown in a storage container before being discovered accidentally!

As the unique white Lotus Esprit was sold for varying prices according to Zed Internetz', perhaps the difference being auction fees? Or Greenbacks vs. Pounds? And although perhaps disappointing by not reaching the million dollar estimate, nonetheless, it's a pretty good return upon the $100 investment! The price paid to buy the abandoned container on Long Island, NY.

Whilst Bond flicks' always have a flair for good 'Ol Bloody British humour, as I especially enjoy the scene where Roger Moore drives onto the beach, and rolls down the electric window to deposit an errant Herring to the astounded beach-goers; Momma Mia!

(Photo Courtesy of Clarity Pictures)