At $1 Million, James Bond’s Lotus Is Way Overpriced

We’d rather chase a purely unreliable Esprit with an engine.

byMichael Frank| PUBLISHED Jan 4, 2016 7:26 PM
At $1 Million, James Bond’s Lotus Is Way Overpriced

A million bucks for a car that doesn’t run, either above water or below it, let alone on the road, is typically a sucker’s bet. But this James Bond Lotus Esprit S1, listed for $1 million, is a little more pedigreed than most. Usually, an Esprit S1 in very good shape will cost you about the same as a mid-level 2 Series BMW, roughly $35,000, according to Hagerty, which values both mint and not-very-mint Esprits. According to Hagerty, a more blue-collar Esprit will set you back about the same as a clean, four-year-old Corolla: $11,000. Never mind all that. This apparently is one of six built as prop cars for the 1977 James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me, starring Roger Moore at his campiest. Like we said, pedigree.

But before plunking down your hard-earned million, you might want to square a few inconsistencies. The seller says it’s one of six cars, but if it’s the same car that Hot Rod City tried and (apparently) failed to auction in 2014, it’s really one of seven.

And how can a car without an engine, that is apparently only designed to do one party trick (fold its wheels away to turn itself into a submarine that isn’t actually made to submerge), have a listed seven miles on the odometer?

There are further concerns. The ad says Roger Moore “drove” the car, but was his butt actually behind the wheel, or was he merely being fluffed for his next line, or was the car somehow running?

At least when Elon Musk bought one of the so-called Wet Nellie Esprits in 2013, he knew he was being frivolous with his money.

Call us cynical, but we’d rather chase a purely unreliable Esprit with an engine. The Giugiaro design is still head-turning, and even if the 2-liter four (mounted ahead of the rear axle, in the manner of the best supercars) was wholly unreliable, the possibilities for an engine swap are endless. This is the same Lotus that later relied on Toyota for engines, right? And if we’re comparing throwing good money after bad, why not plow $50,000 into a perfectly clean Esprit? Hagerty’s figures show they’ve more than doubled in value since 2006. That’s better than can be said for most assets, let alone a non-running, 39-year-old British movie prop.