The iconic Lotus submarine car used by James Bond in ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ has fetched a massive £629,000 at auction.
Made famous in a scene where Roger Moore drives the Lotus Esprit (also known as ‘Wet Nellie’) off a jetty to escape a helicopter, the car’s party trick was its ability to drive underwater – taking the Moore era movies to new depths of silliness. You can watch the scene above.
However the movie model sold at auction on Monday night, and the only one in the world, isn’t a car at all - it’s a working submarine. Makes it a little more interesting, doesn’t it?
A bidding war reportedly broke out at the RM Auctions event between a telephone caller and a lady in the room, after an opening offer of £100,000. The victorious (and anonymous) telephone bidder paid a total of £629,000, including sale premiums, for the submarine.
Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans, who owns the ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ car and has been seen in a 'Goldfinger’ style Aston Martin, was among those who attended the sale.
The prop, which cost more than $50,000 to make in 1977, was actually operated by retired Navy Seal Don Griffin in the movie. Normal road models were used for scenes shot above sea level.
The sale represents a huge profit for the seller, who discovered the then lost car in a disused storage unit after paying just $100 in a blind auction back in 1989.
It’s not the first time RM Auctions have handled one of Bond’s company cars – in 2010 they sold the spy's iconic Aston Martin DB5 from ‘Goldfinger’ for a giant £2.9 million.