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.