Vehicles - The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Lotus Esprit: I consider this car, nicknamed "Wet Nellie" to be an easy match to the Aston Martin DB5 as it not only fires things at enemies, it can escape from them too with just more than superior speed, it can go under water too! It is obvious to see why it is in this Bond film... something was needed to outline the Roger Moore Bond (and the last two films did not have anything pivotal to do that), and a new vehicle was needed after the dismal AMC cars dragged out in The Man With The Golden Gun.

After several automated changes, the car could turn from being just that to an amphibious vehicle. The dials changed accordingly, the wheels were replaced by fins. Onboard, weapons included a smokescreen, from mounted rockets, mine dispenser and a radar-guided surface to air missile. Back on land the car's number place lowers to reveal two cement spraying jets. In all six cars were used to make the land-to-sea sequence which remains one of the most memorable feats in any film let alone one which had to be good to save the series!

The Liparus: This gigantic cargo vessel was the second largest such ship in the world ("after the Karl Marx, of course") and as such could use its hull to swallow nuclear submarines for Stromberg's plan. Apart from the literal harbour inside the ship, there is also a series of prison chambers, armour-sealed control room, armoury containing the acquired nuclear weapons and an internal hover-car track (one car can exit the ship through an open port-hole and then break its shell to reveal a motorboat, which Stromberg uses to exit the boat to go to Atlantis with Anya as hostage). The interior was, of course, the huge 007 Stage built at Pinewood Studios for this sequence. Unfortunately that stage burned down in 1984, just before the start of filming for A View To A Kill.

Stromberg's Helicopter: In another brilliant chase, Bond is persued by one of Stromberg's "Jet Ranger" helicopters once he and Anya loose track of the Motorcycle. Naomi (Caroline Munro) is the stunning pilot of this machine-gun clad flying machine, but both are destroyed by the all-conquering Lotus Esprit when Bond ducks under the cover of water and sends a missile to the chopper.

Stromberg's Escape Pod: This was supposed to be used by Stromberg in order to make a quick get-away from Atlantis at the first sign of trouble. In fact it was used by Bond and Anya to flee from the said lair. It houses all the creature comforts one expects of a megalomaniac, including a luxury bed, champagne cooler, a luxury bed and, without Bonbd knowing until it was too late, a pair of curtains! It is picked up by a Royal Navy ship with the two aboard and 'M', 'Q', Min. of Def. Gray and Gogol all get a good look at what they are doing.

Rocket-Firing Motorcycle-and-Sidecar: As soon as Bond and Anya return from Atlantis he is tailed by a suspicious-looking motorcycle and sidecar. When they realise this is more than coincidental they initiate a chase through the Sardinian countryside to try and shake it off. The bake does all the running whilst the sidecar has all the potency... as they saw when it was realised! Like a rocket this explosive-packed sidecar shot straight for Bond, but with a bit of nifty manoevring between two lorries, they escaped whilst the HGV's got the blast. Incidently the motorcycle rides over the edge of a cliff after being covered in feathers from one of the lorries!

Jaws' Van: At the Kalba Club, where Bond and Anya are bidding for the microfilm, Jaws makes an appearence disguised as a telephone repairman. After killing Kalba he makes off in his British Leyland Sherpa Van with Bond and Anya on his trail in the back of it. It has no useful feature except being a disguise and its consturction leaves something to be desired when, after escaping Jaws who nearly broke the van to bits, Bond and Anya drive away and ruin it over the harsh desert terrain.

Mini-Submarine: This is a two-man submarine which is employed by Stromberg's henchmen to attack the Lotus Esprit when Bond and Anya take a peek at Altantis from under the water. All it dies though is to fire rockets. Using previous intelligence, Anya knows as much about the functions of the Lotus as Bond does, and she drops the mines and covers them with smoke-screen to get rid of this mini-sub. By the way, am I right in thinking that a not dissimilar vessel was re-painted and called the "Shark-Hunter" which was owned by Milton Krest in Licence To Kill?

Wetbike: This vehicle also made a big impression on the audience, as few had ever seen a wetbike before. Bond used it to get aboard Atlantis to save Anya. Thanks to 'Q' it was packed onto the submarine in a big bag - it was easy to assemble from small pieces. Praise be to Roger Moore as he rode the wetbike himself and got very wet in the process!

Conclusion: Contrary to the previous film, you probably could not have fitted any more vehicles into this film! Land, air and sea are all utilised to great effect to present the tools at Bond's disposal. Some may have been rather mundane, like the helicopters and the BL Sherpa Van, but the Lotus Esprit alone makes up for them through its ingenius design and positioning in the film... The largest tanker (besides the Karl Marx, of course) along with the newest beach toy (the wetbike) combine to add yet more to this cavalcade of vehicular travel. What more can I say?

10/10

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© Fastrac Publications June 2000. Site written and maintained by Fastrac007. Last updated 5th March 2001.