Man who bought storage container contents blind for $100 and discovered James Bond’s submarine car from The Spy Who Loved Me prepares to sell it for $1m
- Submarine car abandoned in storage bought for just $100 in blind auction
- Now owner is selling car at auction where it is expected to fetch $1million
- Lotus Esprit featured in 1977 Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me
By Rosie Taylor Daily Mail PUBLISHED: 25 July 2013
When a small business owner bought a storage container in a blind auction for $100 he hoped he might be able to double or even triple his money by selling its contents.
But inside he discovered one the world’s most legendary film cars – and is now set to make at least 10,000 times what he paid for the container.
James Bond’s Lotus Esprit submarine car, which featured in the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me, is going up for auction in London where it is expected to reach $1million.
Its owner, who has chosen to stay anonymous, found the car after buying the storage container in Long Island in 1989.
It is believed the Lotus was left in storage by the production company which paid for the container for 10 years. But when the payment ran out and nobody came to collect it, it was put up for sale.
The man who bought it owns a ‘very modest’ living through his business which rents out construction tools.
He did not recognise the car, which is not roadworthy, for what it was as he had reportedly never seen a Bond film at the time.
When he pulled the covers off the car and found it had no wheels and a dented roof, he was less then thrilled with his buy.
Back home he rented The Spy Who Loved Me on video, and realised how valuable his find was.
The Lotus was nicknamed ‘Wet Nellie’ during filming and was built by a former Navy SEAL at a cost of around $100,000 – the equivalent to $500,000 today.
Although Roger Moore starred as Bond in the film, the submarine car was driven by retired Navy SEAL Don Griffin during underwater filming.
There were actually several different Lotus’s used to film the sequence where Roger Moore and Barbara Bach escape the enemy by driving off a pier into the sea.
The car up for sale is the only one that worked as a self-propelled submarine.
Since its discovery the car has been exhibited from time to time but largely kept with its private owner.
Now it will go under the hammer at RM Auctions in London on September 9, after James Bond expert Doug Redenius tracked down its owner and confirmed the Lotus’s authencity.
He told CNBC that he had told the owner to expect his fortunes to change ‘dramatically’.
He said: ‘I said “Come September 9th, be prepared for your life and your wife and your children—your life is going to change dramatically.” And he said “well, how so” and I said “First of all, you’re going to go down in history as the guy who found the James Bond car. But then if it sells for what we’re hoping, that money will give you an opportunity to live very comfortably for the rest of your life.”‘
Max Girardo, managing director of RM Auctions Europe, said: ‘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.’
The 1964 Aston Martin DB5 driven by Sean Connery in Goldfinger and Thunderball was sold by RM Auctions for $4.4million in 2010.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2377496/Man-bought-James-Bonds-submarine-car-The-Spy-Who-Loved-Me-blind-auction-100-sell-1m.html#ixzz2a3qqFWOE
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