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James Bond's snazzy submarine car (pictures)

Equipped with fins to outfox pursuing foes, this Lotus Esprit sub from "The Spy Who Loved Me" is full of surprises. It just sold for $968,000 at a London auction.

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Tim Hornyak
Crave freelancer Tim Hornyak is the author of "Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots." He has been writing about Japanese culture and technology for a decade. E-mail Tim.
Tim Hornyak
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1 of 6 RM Auctions

The Bond sub

Who wouldn't want a car that doubles as a submarine? This modified Lotus Esprit was made famous in the James Bond film "The Spy Who Loved Me," in which the super spy was seen driving it beneath the waves. It recently sold at a London auction for an impressive $968,000, including fees.

The Lotus Esprit isn't a real car as it lacks tires, but it was sold as a functional "wet submarine," a submersible that fills with water when submerged. Its new owners will need diving gear to pilot it.

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2 of 6 RM Auctions

Storage war

After it was exhibited at auto shows in the 1970s to promote "The Spy Who Loved Me," the car-sub was later put in a Long Island storage locker and forgotten. In 1989, a couple reportedly bought the locker's contents for less than $100 and discovered the unique prop.
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3 of 6 RM Auctions

Have fins, will swim

Several production Lotus Esprits and body shells were used in the filming of "The Spy Who Loved Me." Florida-based Perry Oceanographics modified a body shell with articulated fins, which are controlled by the pilot through mechanical levers.
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4 of 6 RM Auctions

Propeller engine

Battery-driven electric motors in the submersible, known as "Wet Nellie" during production, powered a bank of four propellers. Ballast tanks regulated its dive and climbing maneuvers.
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5 of 6 RM Auctions

The life aquatic with Lotus

Equipped with full scuba gear and backup oxygen, retired U.S. Navy SEAL Don Griffin served as test pilot and driver of the sub, according to RM Auctions. The underwater sequences were filmed in the Bahamas.
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6 of 6 RM Auctions

Licensed to thrill

In the film, the Lotus was equipped with missile launchers, a smoke screen, and mines. A prismatic mirror that came from a tank was mounted on the roof. According to RM Auctions, the air bubbles that are seen coming out of the sub were "actually generated by utilizing a giant cache of Alka-Seltzer tablets."

What would Q say to that?

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