James Bond's submarine Lotus Esprit car sold at auction
A submarine car used in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me has been sold for £550,000.The Lotus Esprit sold for less than the guide price despite a bidding war between a woman in the auction room and a telephone bidder who took the prized collector's piece.
The car, said to be fully operational, was used in the underwater scene of the 1977 film starring Roger Moore as 007.After filming it toured various car shows before being stored in New York.
It was sold at RM Auctions in Battersea, south-west London, for less than the estimated price of between £650,000 and £950,000.
In had previously been auctioned as a blind lot in 1989.Peter Haynes, from the auction house, said: "Bearing in mind it is not a car that can be driven on the road, the price just goes to prove the draw that all Bond-related memorabilia has.
Bond's Lotus submarine up for sale at RM
Buy an Esprit Sub
The Lotus Esprit that starred in the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me is to be sold at RM’s Battersea Park sale on 8-9 September. It took part in one of the world’s most famous car chases, foiling two road-going baddies, before driving off a pier, transforming into a submarine and destroying a helicopter gunship with a surface-to-air missile. The car then emerged from the sea on to a busy beach leaving holidaymakers speechless. The car offered by RM was one of six Esprit bodyshells used during filming but the only functional submersible, which was piloted by retired Navy Seal Don Griffin in the underwater scenes.
Dubbed ‘Wet Nellie’, it was rumoured to have cost Perry Oceanographic, which built it, the equivalent of $250,000 in 1977. With filming complete, the car was moved to an unassuming storage building in New York under a 10-year lease that was paid in advance. It stayed there until 1989, when the unit’s contents were auctioned blind to members of the public. A local couple’s modest bid won the contents and the Esprit was discovered hidden under a blanket.
Now positively indentified, the car has been on show at various locations including the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. The last Bond car sold by RM – the Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger – netted the Canadian auction house £2.9million in 2010.
More info at www.rmauctions.com or contact RM's London office on 0207 851 7070