Underwater Bond car sells for HK$6.7m, below estimate

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 September, 2013, 2:58am

The submarine car used in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me has sold for £550,000 (HK$6.7 million) at auction, which was less than expected.

The white Lotus Esprit, which transformed into a submarine during a sequence in the 1977 movie starring Roger Moore as 007, had been expected to sell on for between £650,000 and £950,000, said RM Auctions.

Bidding started at £100,000 in the auction, which was shown live on the internet.

Known as "Wet Nellie" on the set of the film, the fully operational submarine car was among the contents of a storage unit in Long Island, New York.

The prop had been bought by an unidentified US couple at an auction in Long Island, New York, in 1989 and this time went to a telephone buyer, outgunning a lone bidder in the room at Battersea Park in London.

Although six Esprit body shells were used in filming, only one was converted into a submarine car, RM Auctions said.

The car was made for the scene in which Bond evades gunfire from an overhead helicopter by plunging into the water, accompanied by nervous "Bond girl" Barbara Bach in the passenger seat.

RM Managing Director Max Girardo said: "We have a great track record in selling incredible and iconic movie cars, and this particular Lotus is certainly up there amongst the most famous cars of all time."

The auction house previously sold the Aston Martin DB5 used by Sean Connery as Bond in Goldfinger and Thunderball for £2.9 million in 2010.

The most expensive item sold at Monday's auction was a Maserati 250S with coachwork by the Italian body shop Fantuzzi.

One of just four of its type, and previously raced by the US driver Carroll Shelby, it sold for £2.1 million with fees against a low estimate of £2.5 million.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse