James Bond’s Lotus Esprit for sale!

4 July, 2013 | by Top Gear

You will probably want to suddenly find many millions of Rands and an ingenious way of restraining an enthusiastic Richard Hammond, because we have some Very Good News: the ACTUAL underwater Lotus Espritused in 007 flick The Spy Who Loved Me is coming up for auction.

We’ll give all you Bond fanboys a moment to calm down.

It is of course, Hammond’s favourite Bond car, and for good reason too; the Esprit is one of the most recognizable Bond motors, second only to the DB5. This one is the actual car used solely for the underwater scenes, and is thus an elaborate submarine dressed up in that lovely Lotus body.

Known as ‘wet nellie’ on the set, it was built by Perry Oceanographic in Florida and driven in the film by retired US Navy SEAL Don Griffin. And he had quite a task – it was powered by motorised propellers through levered steering mechanisms. At the time, we’re told the car cost over R1 m to build – equivalent about R5m today.

After its stint in Bond, it was shipped to New York and kept in a storage facility that was eventually auctioned off ‘blind’. Imagine the surprise then, when the new owners whipped off the blankets from the Lotus and discovered Bond’s submarine. Some squeaking may have occurred.

Naturally, you’ll be wanting a piece of this, not least because it’s a very special bit of kit. We even built one ourselves; it was good enough to avoid losing Richard Hammond to the seas. As mentioned though, bring your big wallet: the DB5 used by Sean Connery in Goldfinger and Thunderball sold for a whopping R44 million a few years back.

It’s being offered by RM Auctions and will go on sale between 8-9 September. A good week for movie cars, right? First we saw Ferris Bueller’s actual Ferrari replica, and now we have James Bond’s actual Lotus submarine. You lot really are spoiled…

Any takers?


Vijay Pattni



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