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Up for auction: James Bond's Lotus submarine

autos Updated: Jun 29, 2013 14:55 IST
AFP
Lotus Esprit Series 1 Submarine Car

Lotus-Esprit-Series-1-Submarine-Car-Photo-AFP

The iconic white Lotus Esprit that transformed from a supercar to a super-submarine will go under the hammer in London this September.

A piece of cinematic and motoring history is set for auction: namely the lotus Esprit Series 1 submarine car, one of the stars of the Roger Moore James Bond film "The Spy Who Loved Me."

The sale, by RM Auctions on September 8-9 in Battersea Park, is expected to draw huge crowds thanks to the provenance of James Bond and the renewed appetite for classic and unique cars. In 2010 RM Auctions oversaw the sale of the film franchise's other iconic car, none other than the Aston Martin DB5 used in "Goldfinger" and "Thunderball" for a scarcely believable £2.9 million ($4,608,500). And bidding is expected to be similarly brisk for the Lotus.

Remarkably, the car, which still features all of its weaponry and which was the only Lotus used in all of the underwater scenes during the making of the 1977 film, was thought to have been lost.

Built by Perry Oceanographic in Florida and driven by retired Navy SEAL Don Griffin during its battle sequences, the car is a fully operational, self-propelled submarine and when shooting wrapped, it was shipped to Long Island, New York where it sat in storage for 10 years. In 1989, the storage unit was put up for ‘blind auction' due to non-payment of rent (the first 10 years had been paid in advance), and for a ‘modest winning bid' a local couple became the new owners of a piece of cinematic history. Since then the vehicle has been authenticated and has been shown at a number of events and museums.

Max Girardo, Managing Director, RM Auctions, Europe, says: "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!"

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