A Storage Wars story to end them all

You’ve probably seen the TV programs Storage Wars and Auction Hunters where buyers bid on storage units in the hope of finding hidden treasure. To make the shows more interesting they nearly always find something of value hidden amongst the piles of useless tat. Funny that.

Anyway, back in 1989 a chap bought a storage container for $100 at an auction in Long Island in the hope that there might be something interesting inside. When he pulled back a cover and discovered a car with no wheels and a dented roof he wasn’t thrilled. The car was none other than the Lotus Esprit submarine car from the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me but the new owner didn’t know that. When he was hauling it home on the back of a truck other motorists let him know what he had and then he started to get excited.

Roll forward 24 years and the anonymous owner decided it was time to cash in. The car sold at RM Auctions in London last month for just over NZ$1,000,000 to a ‘lucky’ phone bidder. Not bad for a car that can’t be driven on the road, although it is said to be a fully operational submarine.

The underwater Esprit was built by a former Navy Seal at a cost of US$100,000 (US$500,000 in today’s money) and piloted by another Ex Navy Seal in the underwater scenes in the movie. There were several Esprits used in the filming of the scene but this was the only fully working one. 

It’s believed that after the filming was completed the production company put the car in a storage container and paid for ten years of storage and then forgot about it. Ah, the 70’s – if you can remember them you probably weren’t there.

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