The Submarine Car (nicknamed "Wet
Nellie") was built by Perry Oceanographics (they made the motor)
with the assistance of production designer Ken Adams and special
effects supervisor Derek Meddings (who modified the shell).
Lotus sported tires that disappeared inside the body, air- tight
wheel arches the covered the tires, moveable wing blades
protruding over the wheel wells that allowed the car to bank, dive
and climb like an airplane, and louvered pressurized windows.
gadgets included rear firing mud sprayers, limpet mine
depth charges, surface-to-air missiles,
underwater smoke screens, and torpedoes.
In reality, the movie car actually didn't
operate as seen. Two skin divers with Aqua-lungs sat inside the
vehicle as it moved along the bottom of the crystal-clear waters
of the Bahamas where the scenes were shot.
The original idea of
having a dry interior was deep-sixed when problems with air and
ballast affected the design. Rear license plate reads: PPW-306R.
Front license reads: ESPRIT.
TRIVIA NOTE: In December of 2008, the classic white 1976 Lotus Esprit sports car driven by Roger Moore (on land and under water in the 1977 Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me was sold by Bonhams auctioneers in London for £111,500 ($262,000). The car was purchased (via telephone) by a private collector with ties to Atlanta, Georgia.
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