James Bond Submarine Car Sells for Nearly $1 Million

Submarine Car The Spy Who Loved Me - H 2013
Courtesy of Everett Collection

Submarine Car The Spy Who Loved Me - H 2013

The Lotus Esprit, one of several used in 1977's "The Spy Who Loved Me," was discovered "Storage Wars"-style in a Long Island container.

The Lotus Esprit featured in the underwater sequence in the James Bond classic The Spy Who Loved Me sold at auction in London on Monday for just under $1 million.

The car was one of eight Esprits used in the 1977 movie. Although it cannot be driven, it was designed to be fully submersible and apparently is still operational.

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Although the car sold for just under its $990,000 guidance, it was the subject of a pitched bidding war between two buyers that made for a dramatic scene at the RM Auctions house in London, the Daily Mail reported.

The car was discovered covered in blankets in 1989 by a Long Island building contractor in a storage container purchased for $100.

According to CNBC, the Ian Fleming Foundation later authenticated the car as the vehicle used in The Spy Who Loved Me. It had been placed in storage after the film was released and remained there for 10 years until the storage fee was forfeited. The contractor who purchased the container at first had no idea that the car was the same one used in the Bond movie.

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In The Spy Who Loved Me, Roger Moore, as 007, under pursuit from a helicopter, drives the car off the end of a pier into the sea. The Lotus retracts its wheels, sprouts stabilizers and rudders, and skims just below the water's surface.

"I believe it's time we've said goodbye to an uninvited guest," Moore tells the nonplussed Barbara Bach, riding shotgun. Moore presses a button on the dashboard and a missile streaks from the car, destroying the helicopter.

This was the first time the Esprit had been offered for sale since its discovery. The 1964 Aston Martin DB5 used in Goldfinger and Thunderball sold for $4.6 million in 2010.