Remember the submarine car from The Spy Who Loved Me? Well it’s going up for auction after it was accidentally bought for $100 in a blind storage sale (think Storage Hunters), much to the delight of the buyer! The custom built Lotus Esprit Series 1 from the 1977 James Bond film is going to be sold as part of RM Auction’s London sale in early September.
The car, affectionately nicknamed ‘Wet Nellie’ on set, is a fully operational, self-propelled submarine. It was built by Perry Oceanographic for the 007 film and cost around £65,000 back in 1977, which is probably about £300,000 today. It was originally driven by retired Navy Seal Don Griffin, who operated it using motorised propellers whilst manoeuvring with levered steering mechanisms.
In the film starring Roger Moore as the British spy, James Bond uses it to dive under water and escape a pursuing helicopter before launching a missile from under water to destroy the helicopter hovering above the surface. Pretty cool, huh?
After filming was complete, the submarine car was shipped to the Bahamas and kept in a storage unit for an entire decade. It’s said that when the contract ran out, nobody claimed the contents. The storage container was put up for blind auction in 1989 and bought for only $100.
Apparently the unsuspecting buyers didn’t realise what it was until several days after they won the bid when friends told them it was a Bond car, so they rented the film to find out. Several years later, the buyers were contacted by the co-founder of the Ian Fleming Foundation and the car was authenticated as the real deal.
It is expected to fetch in excess of $1 million at auction according to experts. How much would you pay for this iconic piece of history? Or perhaps if you are a James Bond but don’t quite fancy a submarine car, this 007 number plate is currently for sale and the buyer is open to offers.