James Bond Submarine Car to Be Auctioned, May Fetch $1M

Image: James Bond Submarine Car to Be Auctioned, May Fetch $1M

Friday, 26 Jul 2013 08:52 AM

By Megan Anderle

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A Long Island contractor’s $100 impulse purchase of a storage container that ended up having the famed James Bond submarine car from 1989 could net more than $1 million.

The contractor, who purchased the container without knowing what was inside, was shocked to find the white sports car in 1989 with no wheels and a dented roof from “The Spy Who Loved Me,” according to CNBC.

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"They really didn't know what it was at first," said Doug Redenius, co-founder of the Ian Fleming Foundation, which authenticated the car. "They had no idea how valuable their discovery was."

Fast forward 36 years -- 007's underwater Lotus Esprit is headed to the auction block. RM Auctions will sell it Sept. 9 in London.

"It's one of the most famous James Bond cars ever," Renedius said. "There is a lot of interest."

Plenty of James Bond cars have sold over the years. A coveted 1964 Aston Martin DB5 that was used in "Goldfinger" and other films sold in 2010 for $4.6 million. Another DB5, which was used to promote the films, is also currently on the market for $4.69 million, according to CNBC.

But the submarine car, which was nicknamed "Wet Nelly" during filming, is regarded as the most famous Bond vehicle next to the Aston Martin. The car helped Roger Moore and actress Barbara Bach escape a helicopter by jumping off a pier and onto the vehicle, which turned into a submarine.

Eight different versions of the Lotus Esprit were actually used in "The Spy Who Loved Me."
At least two cars were used for the chase and pier jump. Three other cars were used for the underwater shots—one version was used for the retracting wheels shot, another used for the fins popping out, and a third used for the traveling submarine shots, according to CNBC.

It is the third car, which is not functional as a road car, that RM Auctions is selling.

It is unclear how the car ended up in a storage facility where the owner found it.

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The owner of the car prefers to remain anonymous. But Redenius said the owner is a "blue collar guy" who makes a “very modest living” through his business that rents construction tools. The sale, Redenius said, will change his life.

"I told him, I said 'Come September 9th, be prepared for your life and your wife and your children—your life is going to change dramatically,’” Redenius said.

Related stories:

Bond Girl Casting: Penelope Cruz Reportedly Starring in Next 007 Film
Pierce Brosnan Daughter Dies of Ovarian Cancer, Like Her Mother

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