lundi 2 septembre 2013

Wet Nellie on sale

Lundi 9 Septembre 2013, RM Auctions, Londres.

Extrait du catalogue de la vente :

  • Used in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me
  • The one and only fully functional Submarine Car
  • One of the most famous movie cars of all time
  • Amazing story of lost and found
  • Never before offered for sale


It is believed that Lotus provided two production “road cars”, plus seven Esprit fibreglass body shells, to the filmmakers. One of those shells was reported to have been split in half to film Roger Moore and Barbara Bach in their separate seats. The remaining six body shells, delivered bare, were used to initiate and consummate filming the underwater scenes. Each of these shells was modified to perform specific functions in the movie. Here is the evolution of Wet Nellie on the screen:

1. Used for the tyre retraction sequence.
2. Used to portray the side fins protruding from the wheel arches whilst the periscope extends.
3. Featured in the below-surface-to-air missile sequence from the rear hatch.
4. Tethered to a powerful air cannon and jettisoned off the pier and into the water below.
5. The spare unit for the above.
6. The one and only fully enclosed shell used to film the functional Submarine Car.

Once filming was complete, the tyre shell (1) and the missile shell (3) were left behind in the Bahamas and given as souvenirs to Roberts Scrap Metal Company, who assisted with the heavy equipment for the shoot. The tyre shell exists today in poor condition in a Florida museum. The fin shell (2) has seemingly disappeared (with its whereabouts unknown), whilst the missile shell (3) is owned by the Ian Fleming Foundation and is proudly on display as part of the on-going 50th Anniversary of James Bond Exhibit at the Beaulieu National Motor Museum. The first of the pier shells (4) was damaged by the air cannon during filming in Sardinia, and it is presumed to have been discarded. The other pier shell (5) may have been unused or used more lightly; in any event, it was later unofficially retrofitted with mock up gadgets and sold in the late 1980s. 

Which leaves the one and only functional Submarine Car (6), which is being offered to the public for the first time ever.

Après sa découverte dans un hangar de New York, Wet Nellie a subi une intense restauration qui respecte presque parfaitement le véhicule. Presque, car les clignotants avant qui encadrent la plaque d'immatriculation ne sont pas du bon modèle, les originaux visibles dans le film (et dans les Esprit de l'époque) étaient de deux couleurs, blancs et oranges.
On note également que la version du film avait le mot 'Lotus' écrit à l'extrémité du capot et qu'il se retrouve ici remplacé par le mot 'Esprit' inscrit sur la trappe entre les deux phares escamotables. Est-ce donc si dur de respecter ce genre de petits détails lors d'une restauration ?

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