Even though his Telsa Motor Company got a some bad publicity recently when one of their Model S electric cars caught fire, entrepreneur and billionaire Elon Musk is never one to look back, always moving forward with one project or seven others. Now that he’s got cars, the SpaceX program, and a potential Hyperloop transport system within his grasp, there are only so many forms of travel left for Musk to get involved with. However, his latest headline-garnering purchase certainly proves he’ll keep looking. A recent auction in London saw a Lotus sports car, the submarine vehicle used in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, sell for a cool $920,167. While the buyer was initially kept secret, it was eventually revealed to be Musk, who next plans on become an internationally revered secret agent for Her Majesty. Or maybe he’s just interested in turning the submarine car into a Tesla-developed reality. Both of those options sound equally ridiculous, though only the latter is true.
After having his buyer identity outed by the auto-website Jalopnik, Musk released a statement through Tesla that extends my beliefs that Musk is one of the coolest guys on the planet.
“It was amazing as a little kid in South Africa to watch James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me drive his Lotus Esprit off a pier, press a button and have it transform into a submarine underwater,” Musk stated. “I was disappointed to learn that it can’t actually transform. What I’m going to do is upgrade it with a Tesla electric powertrain and try to make it transform for real.” I assume he then hopped onto the back of the new Tesla Griffin and flew away.
The vehicle used for the film wasn’t at all what you might think. The compartment that Roger Moore and Barbara Bach are seated in was part of a set, while the car itself is called a “wet submarine,” which will still fill with water, so the driver has to wear a wetsuit and breathing tank. You might as well just go swimming.
This isn’t the first time Tesla Motors has used a Lotus vehicle as inspiration, as their Roadster is based on the Lotus Elise. But the Elise wasn’t capable of transitioning from land to water, so it’s kind of a failure at life, really.
While we can’t wait for more airborne modes of transport like jetpacks, nothing sounds more interesting than seeing what Musk can do with submerged travel. Maybe he and James Cameron can work on it together.
Below you’ll find the original scene with Bond going deep (before “going deep,” if you catch my drift), followed by a recreated Bond submarine car from the Top Gear guys.