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Bond. James Bond: 1977 Lotus Esprit

When people recall the cars used by the famous secret agent in the James Bond movies, the most instantly recognizable car is the Aston Martin DB5 that first appeared in the movie Goldfinger. The next most recognized would have to be the Lotus Esprit S1 driven by Roger Moore in the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me. If you fancy channeling your inner James Bond then maybe this particular 1977 Lotus Esprit may be the car for you. Listed for sale here on eBay, this Lotus is located in Bremerton, Washington. It comes with a clear title and at the time of writing, bidding had reached $30,000.

The Esprit first broke cover at the 1975 Paris Motor Show and went into production in 1976. This 1977 example looks to be in generally good condition. The fit and finish of the panels are all that you would expect of a Lotus car of the era. This means that while the finish of the car was generally good, some of the panel gaps left a little bit to be desired, which is hardly surprising for a low-volume manufacturer such as Lotus. It’s nice to see that the distinctive shovel-nosed front spoiler is intact as these were quite prone to damage and there is more than one Esprit about these days minus that particular feature.

The interior is quite typical of Lotus. While interior design on Lotus cars has generally been really nicely considered, the longevity of trim was always an issue. This Esprit is no exception in that department. The seats and carpet appear to be in good condition, but there are some minor trim issues which would need to be addressed to bring the condition up to an immaculate standard. There is some stretching of the upholstery on the passenger side door trim and the lid to the glove compartment is quite warped. The trim around the instrument cluster has also lifted from its base, but that may only need to be glued back into place. It also appears that the ashtray may be missing from the center console just in front of the gear shift.

Mounted in the engine bay is the 120.4ci Lotus 907 4-cylinder engine. In US trim this produced 140hp, and drive went to the rear wheels via a 5-speed manual transaxle. The car is said to perform and drive well with no mechanical issues. The mid-engine layout gave the car phenomenal handling, but they could really bite a driver if they pushed the car beyond its limits. Braking is by 4-wheel discs, with the rear discs mounted in-board. This Lotus wears an antique tag meaning that it will never need to be subjected to emissions testing.

Colin Chapman developed a philosophy of “simplify and add lightness”. The Esprit S1 typified that approach. Weighing in at just a touch over 2,200lbs, performance from that little 4-cylinder engine saw the car capable of achieving top speeds of close to 140mph. This one appears to be a good example that really only requires some minor detail work to become a really nice car. If you fancy your martini shaken but not stirred, then this might just be the car for you.

Comments

  1. Mark

    I holding out for the submersible model…

    Like 14
  2. Max

    Not much fan of Esprit but very much a fanatic James Bond Films fan I have complete collection see them every now then and my favorite Bond actor Must be Sean Connery !

    Like 7
  3. Coventrycat

    Love those series one cars.

    Like 4
  4. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Not sure what happend to the price, it shows $23,100 now.

    Like 2
  5. Gay Car Nut

    My favourite James Bond actors are Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig.

    Like 0
    • TriPowerVette

      Mine (in order) are:
      Sean Connery, Daniel Craig and (YES) Timothy Dalton! So, suck it, Broccoli (and almost everyone else).

      I am one of the most experienced Lotus drivers, who has never actually owned one. There was a time when it seemed I was test-driving one every other month. I have never driven one I didn’t like. Rough, clean, or perfect. Just for some reason, there has always been something I thought was a better deal at the time.

      They make the most of however much horsepower they have. I drove a series 1 Europa that had an aftermarket turbo. I didn’t quit smiling for 3 days!

      They handle like slot cars (good ones, not the ones that the brushes ride too high, and they come out of the slot with any provocation). They make a Porsche feel like a Cadillac deVille on narrow, bias-ply tires.

      They measure fuel usage in thimblefuls-per-mile.

      One of these days (I keep telling myself)… one of these days… just you watch and see.

      Like 4
  6. gene

    Having a friend with ’78 Esprit when new, I was often given the keys. Best way to experience these, as I agree with everything noted. One trip Atlanta to Philly in winter was particularly memorable as heat quit before South Carolina, drivers door latch loosened up and made door inoperative somewhere in Maryland, and dash trim strip came flying off in Virginia. But I don’t know where limit was, as I recall putting car at 90 mph for entire trip, never letting up at any turn or bend in the interstate…no where near limit of suspension, effortless. It was below freezing and I just wanted to drop off car as fast as possible with no heat.

    Like 4
  7. Mark Clinard

    OK Max, what was the first car Bond ever drove in a movie?

    Like 0
    • Paul T Root

      I was going to say the Bentley at the beginning of Goldfinger.
      But Dr No, he drives the ’57 Chevy after over powering the bad guy. Then the Sunbeam Alpine to his rendezvous.

      Like 0
  8. David Miraglia

    Timothy Dalton, Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Pierce Bronsnan, George Lazenby, Daniel Craig

    Like 1
    • TriPowerVette

      @David Miraglia – At least you recognize that Timothy Dalton got a raw deal.

      Like 1
    • Paul T Root

      I always thought On Her Magesties Secret Service was the best story, but George was just awful.

      Like 0
      • TriPowerVette

        @Paul T Root – Not to cause controversy, but in my estimation, the very best Bond was “For Your Eyes Only” It was lacking the glamor of the usual exotic car, though (Citroen 2cv was just almost too funny to take seriously, especially since Carole Bouquet’s character was a wealthy, well-born socialite, who wouldn’t be caught dead in one.)

        Sheena Easton’s rendition of the theme still chokes me up.

        Like 0
  9. Marauder

    Lotus twin cam engine…check those belts and tensioners on a regular basis!

    Like 0
  10. Victor Anderson

    I’ve always liked these cars — but for the $ they get now ..better off with a Lotus Elise :)

    Like 0

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