James Bond’s Lotus Esprit submarine, bought for $100 and sold for almost a million to Elon Musk

Elon Musk has never hidden that the angular design of the Cybertruck was partly inspired by the incredible underwater Lotus Esprit used by James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me. We know less about the little story that allowed the boss of Tesla to buy this vehicle like no other.

In 1989, a couple from Long Island, New York, bought a storage space for $100, the contents of which they did not know. Surprise, inside is a funny contraption resembling a cross between a car and a submarine. Having never seen a James Bond, the new owners do not make the connection with the Lotus Esprit of The Spy Who Loved Me

Big surprise in the container

The couple leaves with the machine on their trailer, probably to sell spare parts. It is on the road there that they end up knowing the end of the story. Truck drivers, having seen the funny convoy pass, quickly identified the vehicle and talked about it on the CB!

The owners are not collectors, and housing a submarine is totally impractical. So they asked a restorer to repair what could be repaired to expose it from time to time. It was in 2013 that they decided to sell the vehicle at auction, with the help of Sotheby’s. This is where Elon Musk comes in: he buys the modified Lotus Esprit for $997,000!

I was disappointed to learn [que la voiture] could not transform “, he said some time later. ” I’ll update her with a Tesla motor and try to transform her for real “. This project, like a few others for Elon Musk, has not yet materialized but who knows, maybe a future Tesla will also be amphibious.

For The Spy Who Loved Me released in 1977, the production of the film had modified an Esprit by removing its wheels, completely changing the underbody, and making it so that it could really go underwater with four battery-powered turbines. There is enough room inside for a diver to control it! A modification that cost $100,000 at the time.

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