A Top Gear-built Lotus Excel submarineEnlarge Photo
The James Bond franchise is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and it seems like everyone wants in on the action. To help mark the occasion, even Top Gear, everyone’s favorite motoring show, has produced a special episode with a Bond theme.
It’s a safe bet that classic Bond vehicles will have a starring role, as the promo image shows Richard Hammond posing with the Aston Martin DB5 that debuted in Goldfinger. The show will also have interviews with Daniel Craig and Roger Moore, who have played the world’s best-loved spy in a total of 10 films.
Since it’s Top Gear, you know there has to be a unique vehicle angle, too. Thankfully, the show didn’t try to build a second space shuttle from a Reliant Robin; instead, it chose to turn a Lotus into a submarine, in homage to the submersible Lotus Esprit S1 seen in The Spy Who Loved Me.
Perhaps vintage Esprits are hard to find, or too pricey to convert into underwater craft these days. Instead, the producers opted to use a Lotus Excel, the product of a ten-year marriage between Toyota and Lotus (which explains why the Excel in the video is wearing Toyota Supra wheels).
Does it work? We won’t spoil the video except to say that no Top Gear hosts were drowned in the making of the spot. While we love anything with an engine and wheels, we also have a strict dry-land-only policy when it comes to road-testing cars. Besides, no one has ever been eaten by a shark at a racetrack.