Roger Moore is generally considered to be one of the greatest Bonds ever. Starring in seven Bond films spanning just over a decade, the smooth, suave gentleman also acted in TV series such as The Saint andThe Persuaders.
Moore also had the pleasure of working with some fantastic automotive co-stars, including the innovative Lotus Esprit. This car featured in two different disguises in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and as the Lotus Esprit Turbo in 1981’s For Your Eyes Only.
The story behind how the Lotus Esprit came to be used in two major Bond films is an interesting one. As you can imagine, products, vehicles and even suits used in Bond films go on to become hugely popular, with sales rocketing as everyone clamours to get a piece of the coolest casino player in history.
In the case of the Lotus Esprit, debuted at the Earls Court Motor Show in 1975, a savvy PR manager decided to take the first step in helping the new Lotus model become famous and, more importantly, desirable. Rather than wait for the 007 production crew to approach a car firm, Don McLaughlan (Lotus’s PR guy) parked the shiny, brand new Lotus Esprit right where the crew could see it – in front of Pinewood Studios!
The stunt paid off and the car was used extensively in Roger Moore’s third film. As well as two vehicles being delivered to the crew to be used on location in Sardinia, Lotus also provided a collection of bodyshells to be used in stunt scenes, including a sealed shell to be used underwater. There are several scenes in which the Lotus Esprit appears underwater in The Spy Who Loved Me, as the car – according to the script – had to be able to travel on land and sea, necessitating the laying of underwater tracks for the car to ‘drive’ on, a scuba-diving hidden driver and much more! The sealed bodyshell was used for underwater fight scenes with Bond in Pinewood Studios’ diving pool.
For a single car that was parked outside the production studios with the hope it’d be used in the latest James Bond, the Lotus Esprit turned out to be a fantastic co-star for Roger Moore!