At the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed, I found myself wondering around the Cartier ‘Style et Luxe’ display. More specifically, I was in the James Bond section, gazing at 007’s finest. And there, among the various Astons, stood that white Lotus Esprit S1.
Everyone knows the scene. Roger Moore coolly emerges from the Mediterranean, tosses a fish from the open window of Hethel’s wedge-shaped supercar, then roars off up the beach, leaving behind a crowd of stunned onlookers.
But at Goodwood, for the first time ever, I was unimpressed, nonplussed and not fussed. Why? Because not seven days earlier I’d been in a white Lotus that dived for real. And then a few hours later I drove it on the road...
I am of course talking about the Rinspeed Squba, the crazy creation of the Swiss equivalent to Q, Rinspeed founder and boss Frank Rinderknecht. The Squba starts life as a Lotus Elise, but then the Toyota engine is junked in favour of some (waterproofed) batteries. Spray in some foam for buoyancy, add some propellers and jets to allow navigation in water and that’s pretty much it. A seemingly simplistic solution.
Oh yes, the air supply. The Squba is open-topped, to make submerging and surfacing simpler, so that means an onboard air supply and mask. So you sit in the Squba, soaked through, stunned that you’re in a car that has just dived beneath the surface of Lake Zurich. It was a surreal, amazing and unforgettable experience and the best – and only – first dive I've ever done.
Ben was the only UK journalist to drive and dive the Squba. Read about his unforgettable experience in the new September 2008 issue of CAR Magazine. For a preview of the magazine click here.
To watch Rinspeed’s video of the Squba, click on the video player below.
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