Man paid less than £100 for mystery container which had £1 million James Bond submarine car inside
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Over 30 years ago, a Long Island contractor bought the contents of a mystery storage container and ended up discovering one of the most famous cars in film history.
In 1989, an American man reportedly paid less than $100 (£78.44) for the shipping container and decided to open it up with his brother.
Once inside, the siblings discovered a ‘giant lump covered in blankets’ and proceeded to take a proper look at the goods.
What they found under the covers was a wheelless white sports car with a dented roof.
Upon getting the vehicle authenticated, the brothers were surprised to discover that the vehicle was the famous James Bond submarine car from The Spy Who Loved Me.
The 1977 film starred Roger Moore and Barbara Bach and saw the former driving the car during a mountaintop chase before plunging into the ocean below.
When in the water, the car’s wheels contracted and it became a streamlined submarine — pretty cool, right?
The car - described on-set as ‘Wet Nellie’ - was thought to have cost more than $100,000 (£78,400) to build in the 1970s.
According to a 2013 article by NBC News, the Lotus Esprit in question was taken to Doug Redenius, the co-founder of the Ian Fleming Foundation.
“They really didn’t know what it was at first,” said Redenius. “They had no idea how valuable their discovery was.”
The foundation's co-founder said that the submarine car is ‘one of the most famous James Bond cars ever’ and that there were actually eight Lotus Espirits used during the 007 flick.
According to Redenius, at least two cars were used to shoot the chase scene, three were used to capture underwater shots, and another was deployed for travelling submarine footage.
Some 24 years after the Lotus Esprit was rediscovered in the shipping container it headed to the auction block.
It’s reported that he bought the car for $997,000 (£616,000) in September 2013.
While he initially purchased the Lotus Espirit as an anonymous buyer, he later put out a statement regarding the iconic James Bond car.
He said: “It was amazing as a little kid in South Africa to watch James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me drive his Lotus Espirit off a pier, press a button and have it transform into a submarine underwater.
“I was disappointed to learn that it can’t actually transform. What I’m going to do is upgrade it with a Tesla electric powertrain and try to make it transform for real.”