Elon Musk buys James Bond 'Lotus sub', plans to make it work for real

By on October 18, 2013, 12:30 PM
tesla, electric car, elon musk, tesla roadster, lotus elise, lotus, 007, james bond, lotus sub, lotus esprit

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk recently came forward as the ‘mystery’ buyer in a recent auction for a piece of James Bond movie history – the Bond Lotus submarine from The Spy Who Loved Me. Such a revelation wouldn’t typically be newsworthy except for the fact that Musk is planning to retrofit the vehicle with a Tesla electric powertrain and try to make it transform from a car to a submarine as was depicted in the film.

As the story goes, the one-off vehicle (several were made for the film but this was the only one that was a true underwater sub) vanished following production of the film, only to resurface more than 10 years later in a storage locker in Long Island. A man purchased the locker blindly for $100 in 1989 and found the Lotus sub inside. It wasn’t until someone else pointed out what it was that he realized he had something valuable on his hands.

The vehicle was restored and ultimately went up for auction through RM Auctions where bidding came down to a battle between two collectors. Musk ultimately won the bidding war and paid $866,000 for the piece of Bond history.

It may seem like an odd fit but Musk is quite familiar with the Lotus brand. After all, the very first Tesla car, the Roadster, was based on a Lotus Elise. In a release on the matter, Musk said it was amazing to watch the scene in the film as a kid where Bond drove his Lotus Esprit off a pier then pressed a button to make it transform into a submarine.

Now he has the opportunity to bring that movie magic to life.




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Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

I guess Elon Musk does not watch Top Gear as much as I do, perhaps some bad vibes between them?

Nahhh, how could that be?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfOwSTXP-3o

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Well Per, What Top Gear did was brilliant on a low budget. It's one of their few ambitions project that wasn't total rubbish =)

Elon, having spent $860K on a Lotus, gives me the suspicion that he just might spend upwards of a few hundred thousand more to get it fully submersible and functioning as depicted in the movie. (Missile launcher withstanding.) With an electric Tesla drive system, it would be a good experiment for Tesla in waterproofing their systems. Wouldn't it be natural that anyone in auto manufacturing and space exploration would be down for a little robotic transformation and underwater exploration too.

I still think that the most shocking transformation in this vehicle is that when the car hits the water it becomes an entirely different vehicle with louvered windows and a fiberglass hull. That's going to be hard to duplicate in a single vehicle outside of film

Tygerstrike said:

Hey when you have the level of cash ppl like Tesla have you get to live out some of your childhood fantasies. The fact that he can afford it is nothing in the fact that he can do it. I know when I was a kid the thought of a car transforming into a sub was SUPER COOL!!! Now that we are grown up and have responsabilites a project like this sounds funny. But ask the adult in you to remember what it was like to be a kid and then look at this project.

I think he should do it then have a giant press release where he re enacts the scene from Bond. Lets not hate on the guy for having money and doing projects like this. Lets just sit back and watch his project as it goes forward. I mean.....its SO cool.

Car...sub....Car....sub.

Kneep said:

THIS would sell huge on Vancouver Island / Mainland, we have some of the most busiest ferry terminals in the world (Victoria to Vancouver) I could see these being a huge hit here! Our Ferry Fares are incredibly high, so if something like this could be done and cut cost we'd be laughing ! ! !

psycros psycros said:

Well Per, What Top Gear did was brilliant on a low budget. It's one of their few ambitions project that wasn't total rubbish =)

Elon, having spent $860K on a Lotus, gives me the suspicion that he just might spend upwards of a few hundred thousand more to get it fully submersible and functioning as depicted in the movie. (Missile launcher withstanding.) With an electric Tesla drive system, it would be a good experiment for Tesla in waterproofing their systems. Wouldn't it be natural that anyone in auto manufacturing and space exploration would be down for a little robotic transformation and underwater exploration too.

I still think that the most shocking transformation in this vehicle is that when the car hits the water it becomes an entirely different vehicle with louvered windows and a fiberglass hull. That's going to be hard to duplicate in a single vehicle outside of film

Could be that it was always a fiberglass "hull"..those were coming into vogue on high-performance sportscars in the late 70's as I recall. And even if that particular Lotus did use sheet metal, its totally believable that a 007 version would be made of a different material. Chances are nobody would notice.

Lurker101 said:

I guess Elon Musk does not watch Top Gear as much as I do, perhaps some bad vibes between them?

Nahhh, how could that be?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfOwSTXP-3o

My immediate thought, just from the title was, "didn't Hammond do this on Top Gear?".

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