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Tesla boss buys James Bond’s Lotus Esprit submarine, wants to make it electric

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk was the mystery buyer of the Lotus Esprit submarine from the 1977 James Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me, according to Jalopnik.

The founder of PayPal, SpaceX and electric car firm Tesla bought the legendary Lotus, driven by Sir Roger Moore, at an auction in London for a cool £550,000 ─ much less than the estimated price of between £650,000 and £950,000.

Reports say Elon Musk, who was using a telephone bidder, was in a bidding war with an unnamed woman over the fully operational vehicle. Mr Musk’s notoriously deep pockets secured him the prize.

As you would expect, Elon has big plans for the 007 Lotus. In fact, Musk wants to install an electric Tesla engine and make it road-legal.

After filming in the 1970s, the modified Lotus Esprit was said to have gone on display at a number of car shows before being shipped to Long Island in New York, where it spent the next decade in a storage container. After the money ran out to store it, the contents were sold off as a blind lot at auction.

In a time when CGI was still in its infancy, the creators of James Bond had to actually build the submarine. It enlisted the help of Florida-based company Perry Oceanographic to create it, while former US Navy Seal Don Griffin had the job of steering it through the deep blue of the Bahamas.

While the selling price was lower than expected, half a million is still a lot of money. Yet it’s a far cry from the £3 million asking price for one of the four original Aston Martin DB5s used in Goldfinger and Thunderball that went on sale in February of this year.

Image: RM Auctions

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