Well, this is a day that we all knew was coming. Since I got back into 1:18 collecting last year and coupled with a job that pays me well, the day would eventually come where I would get my hands on an AutoArt. I’m happy to say that this is the first one I got of two currently in my collection, and I got it at a crazy steal of a price. I paid $70 in total for this Lotus, a model that goes for easily double that on the used market.
So, why this Lotus? Well, it’s plain and simple: I live, breathe, and bleed James Bond. This particular model is the 1981 Esprit Turbo featured in For Your Eyes Only, Roger Moore’s fifth outing as 007, and the second movie to feature a Lotus as the main James Bond car. This particular Lotus is actually the second one featured in that particular film, as the first one, a white model of the same spec, was blown up by a couple of goons. Shame.
Or is it? I actually prefer this bronze color over the first Esprit’s plain white, as I feel the original mimics the legendary 1977 Esprit S1 submarine featured in The Spy Who Loved Me. Even though this particular car only gets a few minutes of screen time, the bronze color makes it stand out, especially against the stark, white, snowy backgrounds heavily featured in the film.
As Bond cars go in terms of gadgets, not much is known about the Esprits from For Your Eyes Only. The main gadget featured was the “burglar protection:” a self-destruct sequence that initiated if burglars would attempt to break in and loot from the car (hence the downfall of the original white Esprit in the film). Otherwise, as far as we know, the two Esprits are regular turbo models. The bronze one at least had the benefit of a ski attachment on which Bond could mount his Olin Mark VI skis, a feature which is faithfully recreated on this model.
As for the model, it’s really full marks all around. Every detail that could be displayed is done so remarkably. It’s so easy to prep this car to look realistic in most settings, because every minute detail is so properly brought down to this scale. That’s the area in which you can fully justify the price tag usually paid for these AutoArts.
The quality is of course, also top notch, as it’s not a model that I feel could break easily if tampered with (or self-destruct, for movie accuracy). However, there is a certain heft that I feel like this model is missing. When compared with Der Kommissar (the nickname I’ve given to my much beloved Norev Mercedes 450SEL), the Mercedes feels like you’re holding a piece of fine diecast metal. This one is definitely more lightweight. Dare I say...even plastic-y at times.
So, my final thoughts on my first AutoArt? Well, I’ve got to say I’m not exactly sure if this is worth $150, but it’s definitely worth $70. I get rarity factors into the resale price on this particular model, but brand new? I’m not so sure, and I say that as someone who did drop that amount on a brand new AutoArt still in production. I love this model, but I’m not sold on AutoArt as of yet. But perhaps that other model could change my mind...
But as for this Lotus as a whole...let’s say I don’t think I’d be searching out a Citroen 2CV anytime soon if this was around.