40-years on, ‘Wet Nellie’ continues to inspire imagination.
In 1976, movie-goers filed into cinemas around the world to catch British super-spy James Bond’s latest adventure. In The Spy Who Loved Me, we saw Bond (portrayed by Roger Moore) take on shipping-tycoon and aspiring world-dominator Karl Stromberg and foil the anarchists plans to trigger global nuclear war and restart civilisation underwater. Stromberg had this fantastic idea to have the world’s population live in the sea, so it was a good thing that Q-Branch had supplied Bond with a submersible car.
The Lotus Esprit S1, dubbed ‘Wet Nellie,’ captured the hearts and minds of moviegoers all over the world. No Bond film is complete without cars and gadgets (and beautiful women), and the Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me has gone down in history as one of the most memorable cars from the Bond series. As such, the boffins at Lotus Exclusive thought it would be fun to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the film with a special edition Lotus Evora, based off the Sport 410 model that came about last year.
The mechanicals here remain unchanged from the donor car, which is no bad thing. There’s 306kW of power and 420Nm of torque on offer from the supercharged 3.5-litre V6 engine, which should see this special edition rocket from rest to 100km/h in 4.2-seconds, just like the standard Evora Sport 410. There have been a raft of aesthetic changes though, and to this writer, it imbues the limited-edition with a very recognisable link to the Esprit S1 that inspired it.
Up front, there’s a two-tone bumper that apes the kind found on the Esprit, as well as a single-piece carbon-fibre tailgate that’s been painted especially to give it the look of a liftback-style hatch. There’s a ‘coachline’ that runs down the sides from the front fenders to the rear, unique ‘Evora’ decals on the B-pillars, and tartan cabin trim replete with red stitching to bring it closer to the Esprit S1.
This car is designed also to showcase the abilities of Lotus’ ‘Exclusive’ service, which personalises cars to the individual tastes of owners. Group Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales said that ‘it is well established that Lotus cars come with benchmark performance as standard. Now, thanks to the team at Hethel, responsible for hand-building all Lotus cars since 1966, you can specify a Lotus that perfectly reflects your personal tastes.” To that effect, Gales said that as many as 1-in-4 Lotus customers opt to utilise Exclusive’s services to personalise their sports cars to some degree.
The Lotus Evora Sport 410, which tops the Evora supercar range, is limited to just 150 examples globally, and is available on our shores at a hair under $200,000 (excluding ORCs). Though, if you were to want a commemorative car like this one, be prepared to pay handsomely for it. That said, it would still be cheaper than getting an original Esprit S1 that actually featured in the film, which went for $930,000 at auction in 2013. Makes the new Evora seem like a relative steal.