Coinciding with the recent debut of Skyfall, one of BBC's most popular shows paid tribute to a half century of visionary Bond movie cars when they aired 50 Years of Bond Cars. The special granted Top Gear co-host Richard Hammond the privilege of test driving many of 007's legendary wheels. Perhaps the best segment of the program is the part when Hammond is challenged to recreate the amphibious Lotus from the famous car chase scene in The Spy Who Loved Me.
In the 1977 Bond flick, the suped-up Lotus narrowly escapes the helicopter on its tail by launching off a cement pier into the sea. To the complete surprise of the 007's passenger, Major Anya Amasova, the car just so happens to double as a submarine. With the Lotus fully immersed, James Bond fires an underwater missile up at the chopper and saves the day.
For the Top Gear host, the opportunity to modify a Lotus into an underwater car was a childhood dream come true. As a precautionary measure (and to add drama to the challenge), Hammond first attempted to break out of a sinking vehicle while filming the challenge portion of the show. He was able to successfully get out of the submerged car during his second attempt at the risky stunt. The first try was a fail; a scuba diver in the backseat needed to lend an oxygen mask to the host for some extra air before Hammond was able to open the door and swim to the surface.
Does the Top Gear Lotus sink and swim without taking in water? We won't spoil it for you; click here to view the segment of the show where Hammond tests out the car's submarine capabilities. Inspired? You too can travel thescenic coastal routes made famous by 007 when you rent a car in Sardinia. Just don't try and be a hero - be sure to steer clear of the water.
*photo courtesy of Stefan Bńsmann flickr creative commons