James Bond submarine car to auction in London

The weapon-laden Lotus Esprit submarine car that was used in the 1977 James Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me, is to cross the block as part of RM Auctions' September 8-9 Battersea Park sale in London.

James Bond submarine car
The submarine car is to auction without a reserve

In 2010, RM Auctions sold perhaps the most famous car in the world - the Aston Martin DB5 used by Sean Connery in both Goldfinger and Thunderball - for an impressive �2.9m ($4.4).

The submarine car is an equally exciting prospect, being the only underwater-equipped automobile in the history of the Bond franchise.

Known onset as "Wet Nellie", the car cost the equivalent of $1m to build.

Following the film's release, Wet Nellie was transported to Long Island from the Bahamas (where filming of the underwater scenes had taken place). Here, she was secreted in a storage unit for just over a decade, fees for 10 years having been paid in advance.

In 1989, the pre-payment expired, and the content of the unit was included in a "blind" public auction.

A local couple bid a modest amount - and won one of the most famous cars in film history.

The car, which was previously on temporary display at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, has since been fully authenticated.

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.

"Over the years, millions of movie goers 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. Her Majesty's Secret Service aside, it surely is the ultimate beach accessory!"

Interest in Bond memorabilia remains intense. James Bond's Breitling wristwatch, which was discovered at a car boot sale in the UK and purchased for a mere �25, far exceeded its estimate at Christie's Pop Culture auction earlier this month, bringing �103,875 ($160,383) - a 73% increase on its �60,000 high valuation.

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