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Wednesday, 1 August, 2001, 07:04 GMT 08:04 UK
Thunderbirds going, going, gone
James Bond's dune buggy
James Bond's moon buggy did not meet expected price
Two of the original puppets that featured in the cult children's television show Thunderbirds sold at auction for a total of 57,000.

The puppet of Thunderbirds' chauffeur Parker made creator Gerry Anderson 38,000 - a world record for a puppet - and International Rescue astronaut Alan Tracy fetched 19,000.

A copy of Lady Penelope - cast from the original mould - was bought for 16,000, all prices with buyer's premium.

The James Bond buggy, in which Sir Sean Connery careered over a moonscape in 1971's Diamonds Are Forever, did not reach its reserve price and was not sold.

It was expected to fetch up to 200,000 in the auction of rare film and TV items.

Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson with Parker
Anderson: Created Parker for the hit 1960s show
Other highlights of the auction included Dr Evil's costume from the Austin Powers film - sold for 7,500 - and props from Gladiator, Sleepy Hollow and Mission: Impossible.

The sale took place in the London and San Francisco branches of Planet Hollywood simultaneously.

007's dome-topped space age buggy played a key part in the film when Bond jumped into it as he investigated millionaire Willard Whyte's Nevada Desert space centre.

The scene, in which the star was chased by villains, became one of the most famous chase sequences in the Bond films.

But only one buggy was ever built.

Disrepair

It played a key role in marketing the film and was sent around the world to help advertise it.

But after its starring role to plug the film, it fell into disrepair until being found and restored by film fans.

Planet Hollywood, London
The auction took place at two Planet Hollywood's
Since being brought back to its former glory in 1993, it has been on display at the Las Vegas branch of the Planet Hollywood restaurant chain.

It will remain at the restaurant, which has leased the machine until 2003.

The Parker and Lady Penelope puppets were both from Thunderbirds creator Anderson's personal collection.

Mr Anderson said he had "mixed feelings" about the sale, but added: "I don't think about yesterday, I am always thinking about tomorrow.

"The value of the puppets was constantly going up and it was a problem to insure them at home.

"I thought the time had come to get rid of them. I am a little sentimental but I am thinking about the next project."

A model of the Stingray submarine, made in 1963 and used in the series of the same name, was also expected to fetch between 9,000 and 10,000 at the auction.

See also:

15 Jul 01 | Showbiz
Bond buggy under the hammer
11 Jun 01 | Film
James Bond tops motto poll
21 May 01 | TV and Radio
Thunderbirds under the hammer
01 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Old Bonds voted best
19 Nov 99 | Shaken Not Stirred
The James Bond dossier
12 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Dr No bikini for sale
31 Dec 99 | Scotland
Bond, Sir James Bond
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