One of James Bond's most unique and iconic cars is going up for auction later this year, marking a new chapter in what's been a long and winding story. The 007 Lotus Esprit 1 Series "Submarine" Car, featured in the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me, will hit the auction block on September 8th in London, RM Auctions announced late last month. The amphibious vehicle was built for the movie's famous underwater scene, and spawned dreams of a future full of aquatic cars. The auction house says it remains fully operational, nearly 40 years after Roger Moore took it under the sea.
Lost and found
Designed by Florida-based Perry Oceanographic, the submarine car was built for about $100,000, equivalent to nearly $500,000 in current dollars. It is the only model built for the scene, and was powered by motorized propellers. The Lotus went into semi-retirement once shooting wrapped in the Bahamas, and spent ten years in a Long Island storage container. When its caretakers failed to make rent payments in 1989, the container was sold — sight unseen — to an anonymous couple. They found the Lotus cloaked by blankets, and positively identified the car soon after.
The submarine car hasn't made many public appearances over the past two decades, though that will soon change. RM Auctions hasn't speculated on the price it may fetch, though if recent history is any indicator, it's likely to reach seven figures; a 1965 Aston Martin DB5 featured in earlier bond films sold for $4.4 million at auction in 2010.