Forget About No Time To Die, Check Out These Rad James Bond Cars Instead
Although James Bond movies typically go together like winter and January, the upcoming No Time To Die installment has made a lot of gearheads happy. You could attribute that to the power of social media and car brands wanting as much exposure as possible, but it’s surely nice that so much car content has been generated by the latest 007 movie.
Daniel Craig’s last ride as James Bond will see some Land Rover Defenders bouncing off rough terrain, crashing, and then bouncing some more. It also motivated Top Gear to go out and drive some of the best Bond cars to feature on the big screen.
Jay Leno’s Garage Gives Some Love to the 1966 Lotus (Ford) Cortina
The Lotus Cortina, or Ford Cortina Lotus as it has also become known, is the street-going version of the Group 2 touring car that became one of the most famous and successful models of its kind in the ’60s, routinely hitting above its weight and beating Mustangs, Falcons and even the odd Ford Galaxie in the British Saloon Car Championship, the European Touring Car Championship and beyond. Originally, only 1,000 Cortinas were built to meet homologation needs, and the car in the video is a genuine one.
The original Lotus Cortina, based on the Mark 1 Consul Cortina, was launched in 1963 and received comprehensive modifications by Lotus with its beating heart being a 1.5-liter twin-cam four-cylinder engine designed by Harry Mundy. The example shown in this episode of Jay Leno’s Garage has been painstakingly restored to better-than-new condition by Jim Hall, Leno’s chief fabricator, after spending three decades neglected at the mercy of the elements.
Lotus Super Seven Takes The Spotlight In New Petrolicious Episode: Video
In a day and age wherein cars have become awash in technology, there’s something to be said for a classic road-going sports car that still catches people’s attention despite being more than 50 years old. I’m talking about the 1963 Lotus Super Seven Series II, a sports car so unpretentious it flies against everything we associate with the modern day sports car. You really need to look at it to understand how pure and simple it is. That’s also a big reason why Lotus Seven owner Geoff Wise loves his car so much.
In the latest episode of Petrolicious, Wise talks about his love affair with his Lotus Seven and how he came to own this beauty of a sports car. See, unlike most people who get featured on Petrolicious, Wise didn’t set out to build his Lotus Super Seven from the ground-up. On the contrary, he actually bought the car and disassembled it before converting it to be more of a road car. He did add some modern tech to complement the car’s bored and stroked 1.7-liter four-cylinder, which he claims makes 120 horsepower. It’s not the fastest car in the world by any means, but with the car weighing just over 1,000 pounds, those 120 horses makes it seem like it is.
This is a labor of love in every sense of the phrase and Wise feels vindicated knowing that his Super Seven gets plenty of attention wherever he goes. He says that adults admire it, but it’s really the kids that get a real kick out of the car. It’s hard not to imagine why it gets the attention it does, especially when you see it in the company of today’s cars. There aren’t a lot of things more gravitating than seeing a sports car from the 60’s run so smoothly, as if reminding us that there was a time when people loved to drive these cars, not because of the technology they had, but because it was just fun to do it. Looking at Wise’s face when he talks about his Super Seven, it’s easy to see why he loves his car so much.
Usually, when you think about Lotus founder Colin Chapman, the first thing that comes to mind is innovation. It’s easy to see why as that was the business Chapman was in, the brilliant designer always looking for ways to improve his cars’ performance – usually at the cost of reliability and even safety. This philosophy was carried over when Chapman decided he should start building road cars. The first one, named the Elite (Type 14), was a small but competent two-seater which was, sadly, pulled down by certain choices made in the design department, which meant that the overall quality of the car was not quite deserving of the its own name.
It’s obvious that when you employ a number of innovations into a new product, for example the glass-reinforced-plastic monocoque, it’s bound to take off the ground somewhat harder. The trouble is that some of the Elite’s flaws carried on all the way towards the end of production which ceased in 1963. At that time, little over 1,000 had been produced, but Lotus saw the potential of dropping the GRP monocoque design and returning to a more traditional body-on-chassis construction for the Elite’s follow-up, the Elan. That marked the end of the original Elite’s lifespan but the name would be later revived, although its use for a 2+2 grand tourer always struck as somewhat peculiar.
Away from the road, the Elites featured prominently in circuit racing, both at club and professional level. This comes as no surprise considering that Lotus was heavily involved in racing and used certain Formula 2 components in the building process of the Elite. The car was so good in fact that it won its class at Le Mans no fewer than six times, adding to countless other victories all across the world.
Continue reading to learn more about the Lotus Elite.