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James Bond’s Lotus Esprit Up for Auction

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James Bond’s 007 Lotus Esprit Wet Nelly
Photo Courtesy of RM Auctions

The iconic submarine car—James Bond’s 007 Lotus Esprit—which was bought at a blind auction for $100 was just put up for auction again! This time, the car fetched $966,442 at the Sept. 9th event at RM Auctions in London! The car was authenticated by the Ian Fleming Foundation.

‘Wet Nelly’—the ultimate beach accessory

  • Legendary for Underwater Sequences: Lotus Esprit is unarguably one of the most legendary film cars and rose to fame for its underwater sequences in the 1977 James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me. It also ended a remarkable chase scene featuring actors Roger Moore and Barbara Bach.

  • Built 36 Years Back: Fondly called the ‘Wet Nelly’, this submarine car was built by Perry Oceanographic in Florida for $1,000,000, 36 years back. 

  • The Most Prestigious Bond Car:  The Aston Martin DB5 takes the credit for being the most prestigious car. This car was used by Sean Connery in Goldfinger and Thunderbolt.

  • The “Ultimate Beach Accessory”: A total of seven submarines were used for the shooting of the movie.

  • What's Being Auctioned: The car going up for auction is the only fully-operational variant of the car. In the movie, retired US Navy SEAL, Don Griffin, operated the car.

  • Other Versions: The other versions were used to show the transformation from car to submarine.

The man who struck gold

  • Car Stored in a Storage Unit: After the car was used for shooting the film, it was shipped to Long Island, New York, to be kept in storage unit. The storage facility was paid on a ten year pre-paid rental.

  • Car's Storage Container Auctioned: After the contract expired, the car was sold off in a blind auction. A small businessman based in Long Island bought the contents of the storage container, without knowing what it held. On examining the contents, he discovered a white sports car without wheels and a dented roof.

  • Ian Fleming Authentication for the Car: Since the businessman had not watched any of the James Bond movies, he didn’t know the true worth of his discovery; until the Ian Fleming Foundation authentication came along.

  • The James Bond Obsession: The obsession with James Bond is such that people attach immense value to anything that was used in a Bond movie. Last year saw the sale of the swimming trunks worn by Daniel Craig in Casino Royale. The pistol held by Sean Connery in the movie poster of From Russia with Love was sold in 2010, but the fact remains that the pistol was never used in the entire movie.

If you are considering buying a classic beauty, James Bond-related or not, it's going to be worth the money and effort. Keep it safe and well-maintained with classic car insurance from Classic Auto. Get in touch with us for the best, customizable, insurance options for your collector car today!


About the Author

is Vice President of Classic Automobile Insurance Agency, Inc. Classic Automobile Insurance Agency has been protecting collector, classic and exotics since 1992.

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