Bond’s ‘Submarine’ Lotus surfaces – and goes on sale with RM Auctions

Imagine putting in a modest bid on the unknown contents of a simple storage unit, unopened for 10 years (since the storage rental was last paid). Your ‘blind’ bid wins, the unit is opened, and inside you find… the famous Lotus Esprit ‘Submarine’ car from the Bond film, 'The Spy Who Loved Me'...

Believe it or not, this is what happened to a couple from Long Island, NY, in 1989. After Bond’s (in this case Roger Moore) Submarine car had been used for underwater filming in the Bahamas, it was shipped to Long Island and a 10-year storage rental paid upfront. When that expired, and no one stepped forward to renew it, the contents of the unit were put up for ‘blind’ auction.

This is surely the most outlandish of all Bond cars, a fully operational, self-propelled, underwater Lotus Esprit Series 1. While six Esprit bodyshells were used in the making of the film, this one – according to RM Auctions – was the only fully functioning underwater version, and hence was used in the 1977 film’s famous underwater sequences. On set, it was known by the less-than-elegant name of ‘Wet Nellie’.

It’s now up for sale by RM, at its 8-9 September Battersea Park auction in London. RM Auctions reported (from a top-secret location) that they “wouldn’t want it to fall into enemy hands” – so pay attention, 007 fans, this is your chance to support Her Majesty’s Secret Service and avert a potential crisis.

Photos: RM Auctions