In the 1970s, a sporty disco-white car that turned into a submarine was the kind of hybrid required by James Bond. In those pre-computer movie days, filming a submariner car required a real submarine car, which was built for The Spy Who Loved Me but then lost for decades.
Remember when we told you that James Bond's famous Lotus Esprit Submarine from The Spy Who Loved Me is headed to auction soon? It turns out that's only half the story — the truly crazy story is about the guy who found it in a storage container he bought for $100.
CNBC reports that way back in 1989, a contractor in Long Island decided to buy a container for $100 without knowing its contents, Storage Wars style. When he and his brother opened it up, they found "a giant lump" covered in blankets, and underneath that was a white car with no wheels and a dented roof.
Having never seen a Bond movie before, the pair assumed it was just junk at first. But when they loaded the car onto a truck, other people told them what it was, and he went out and rented The Spy Who Loved Me on VHS to learn what he had, the story said.
Some years later, the co-founder of the Ian Fleming Foundation heard rumors about the car's existence and sought out the owner. The car was authenticated to be the real Lotus sub from the film. Several other Esprits were built for filming, reportedly the only one that is an actual working submarine, and is not functional as a road car.
The CNBC story notes that the fellow who found it is a "blue collar" working guy who prefers to stay anonymous. Now that it's headed to auction, it could fetch more than $1 million, which means his life could change quite a bit.
As for how the car got lost for so long, the story says that remains a mystery.
It's unclear how the car ended up in storage in Long Island, [Doug Redenius, co-founder of the Ian Fleming Foundation] said. The car was used for promoting the movie in 1977, and was in paid storage for 10 years after that. But somehow, the owner of the storage facility—perhaps the Hollywood studio or production company—stopped paying the storage fee.
"It just fell through the cracks," he said.
Crazy. You never know what you're gonna find. We can't wait to see who ends up with it when it goes to auction in early September, but remember, Travis already called dibs.