'Wet Nellie' - The underwater Lotus

Words: Scott Blackburn

Composed to: Metallica - Kill 'Em All


Have you ever been chased around Sardinia by a man in a Ford with a gun? Well Q-Branch has just the car for you. It's British, made of fibreglass and has a fondness for water, it's 'Wet Nellie'. It's actually a 1976 Lotus Esprit S1 with its unique Q-Branch adaptations, like its DB5 cousin only more '70s and waterborne.


The base Esprit has a steel backbone chassis and a fibreglass body: the '70s version of carbon fibre. Under the bonnet is the 2L Lotus 907 4-cylinder engine, making 160bph and taking the engine-powered kayak all the way up to a quoted 138mph. The name 'Wet Nellie' comes from the autogyro previously used by Mr. Bond which was affectionately named 'Little Nellie'.

After Q-Branch got their hands on the S1 though it was a bit more tooled-up to say the least. The main feature of the adapted Lotus was of course the fact that it could turn into a two-person submersible at the touch of a button, with fins appearing out of the wheel arches and the tail. Once underwater it could be piloted like any submarine. You can only hope Q-Branch also made it so that it didn't break every 5 minutes like a regular Lotus, I wouldn't want to be underwater and have to call the AA and try and explain.   


Aside from the whole submarine thing the Lotus could also spray wet cement out of its back end at pursuers when on land. When it was submerged however the list of gadgets grew even more. The Esprit had surface-to-air missiles, mines, and torpedoes and could also dispense a black dye slick into the water like a giant plastic octopus and blind pursuers once again.


All of these Q-Branch adaptations make the modified Lotus Esprit S1 a force to be reckoned with on land and especially underwater, which is particularly handy when you're being pursued on an island surrounded by water. So if you’re ever being chased around Sardinia by an angry man in a Ford, never forget, Q-Branch has just the thing for you, and it's pointy, white and loaded with explosives.