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Sunday, July 26, 1998 Published at 05:05 GMT 06:05 UK


28,000 buys Lotus to thrill

Bond's Lotus Esprit converted into a submarine

A sportscar sold at auction may not fire missiles like it did in the 1976 James Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me, but its fame was enough to propel the sale price to 28,000.

The BBC's Ishbel Matheson: Much sadness that Lotus collection had to be broken up
The Lotus Esprit went under the hammer in a unique sale of 100 classic cars at Silverstone, Northamptonshire, on Saturday evening.

The Malaysian company Proton, which now owns Lotus, said it was selling the firm's cars off because it has no room for them.

In the 007 film, starring Roger Moore, the Esprit was equipped with missiles in the back hatch and a self-exploding alarm. It could also turn into a submarine complete with periscope and radar.

Listen to the fast and furious bidding at the Lotus auction
Another Lotus Esprit which starred in 'For Your Eyes Only' fetched 22,000 at the auction.

Both Lotuses were bought by Peter Nelson, who owns a classic car museum in Cumbria.

His museum houses the largest collection of Bond vehicles in the world, including Aston Martins from The Living Daylights and Goldeneye.

Mr Nelson also owns the underwater version of the Lotus used in The Spy Who Loved Me.

"I wanted to make sure that no one else got these cars," said Mr Nelson at the auction. "They went for quite a bit less than I anticipated. I would have valued them at about 50,000 each."

A spokesman for the auctioneers said the sale had fetched nearly 3.5m.

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