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Lotus Esprit submarine from The Spy Who Loved Me up for auction

 Lotus Esprit submarine from The Spy Who Loved Me up for auction
Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me 28.6.2013

Goes under the hammer in September

The Lotus Esprit submarine that starred in The Spy Who Loved Me will be going under the hammer at RM Auctions' London auction in September.

Dubbed "Wet Nellie," the car was built by Florida-based Perry Oceanographic for a reported cost in excess of $100,000 (€76,870/ £65,755) - roughly $500,000 (€384,350 / £328,775) in today's money. It was a fully functional submarine that was used for underwater shots during filming.

After production wrapped up, the car was shipped to New York where it was put into storage for a decade. In 1989, the contents of the storage unit were sold at a blind auction to cover delinquent rent. A local couple submitted a "modest" bid and were surprised to discover they won a classic movie car.

According to RM Auctions' European Managing Director Max Girardo, "We have a great track record in selling incredible and iconic movie cars, and this particular Lotus is certainly up there amongst the most famous cars of all time. Over the years, millions of moviegoers have stared in awe as the Lotus transformed itself into a submarine, and now, perhaps one of them will have an opportunity to own it."

Source: RM Auctions

BOND CAR SURFACES! ICONIC 007 LOTUS ESPRIT ‘SUBMARINE’ CAR TO GO UNDER THE HAMMER AT RM’S FORTHCOMING LONDON SALE

  • RM Auctions lifts the gavel on the one and only functional submarine car, used in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me,at its eagerly awaited central London sale, 8–9 September
  • Fully functioning submarine car was designed and fitted to propel underwater
  • The actual car seen, on screen, driving underwater; one of the most famous movie cars of all time
  • Never before offered for sale
  • Amazing story of ‘lost and found’

LONDON (at a top secret location) 28 June, 2013 – “Pay attention, 007, RM Auctions is about to sell one of my most ingenious creations and we wouldn’t want it to fall into enemy hands”. Well, ‘Q’ might be a little concerned that his incredible Lotus Esprit Series 1 ‘Submarine’ Car is due to be sold at auction, but for millions of movie fans out there, the appearance of this iconic Bond car on the open market represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

No Bond car has ever done anything as outrageous as transform itself into a submarine. Used to incredible effect in the film The Spy Who Loved Me, starring Roger Moore, the white Lotus commonly tops the polls when generations of movie fans are asked to vote on their favourite film cars of all time. Like all the best Bond cars, the Lotus was a veritable war chest of weaponry and gadgetry, all designed to fox and foil the enemy, whilst also helping Bond to another hard-won victory for Queen and country.

The vehicle to be offered by RM Auctions at its forthcoming London sale, 8-9 September, in Battersea Park, is the one and only fully functioning car especially designed and built for the famous underwater sequence seen on screen in the 1977 film. Abundantly authenticated, and known as ‘Wet Nellie’ on the set, it was developed from one of six Esprit body shells used in the making of the film. As the only car to be built into a fully operational, self-propelled ‘submarine’, by Perry Oceanographic, based in Riviera Beach, Florida, it is the vehicle which claimed the most screen time in the film. The driver of the car was Don Griffin, a retired U.S. Navy SEAL and test pilot for Perry, who operated the vehicle utilising its motorised propellers while manoeuvring with levered steering mechanisms. At the time, the car was said to have cost over $100,000 to create (equivalent to nearly a half million dollars today).

Subsequent to filming the underwater scenes in the Bahamas, the vehicle was shipped to Long Island, NY, where it was kept in an unassuming storage unit on a ten year rental, paid in advance. Fate later intervened when, in 1989, the then rent delinquent unit was put up ‘blind’ for public auction. A modest winning bid from an area couple brought surprise and wonder when the blankets were removed to reveal the iconic 007 ‘Submarine’ Car. After positive authentication, the Lotus was shown occasionally – including a stint at the Petersen Automotive Museum – but mostly kept closely under wraps, until now.

Max Girardo, Managing Director, RM Auctions, Europe, says: “We have a great track record in selling incredible and iconic movie cars, and this particular Lotus is certainly up there amongst the most famous cars of all time. Over the years, millions of moviegoers have stared in awe as the Lotus transformed itself into a submarine, and now, perhaps one of them will have an opportunity to own it. Her Majesty’s Secret Service aside, it surely is the ultimate beach accessory!"

RM Auctions sold “the most famous car in the world”, the Aston Martin DB5 used by Sean Connery in the enormously popular Goldfinger and Thunderball movies, for an incredible £2.9 million during its 2010 London sale.

For further information on RM Auctions’ forthcoming London sale, or to view a frequently updated list of entries, visit rmauctions.com or contact RM’s London office at +44 (0) 20 7851 7070.

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Comments (7)

 air_cooled air_cooled
Good riddance
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June 30, 2013 2:45 pm
 bavorak bavorak
Weren't the shots under the water filmed with a smaller replica of this car?
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June 29, 2013 11:47 am
 CraigSussman CraigSussman
The hot bad girl flying the helicopter he shot down with this car was a pitty :-) This is one of the best Bond cars ever.
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June 28, 2013 10:31 pm
 dcars62 dcars62
I liked the Aston Martin with the rockets and cutter hubs.
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June 28, 2013 8:46 pm
 ifudge ifudge
The single best Bond gadget of all time bar none.
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June 28, 2013 6:07 pm