Billionaire Elon Musk, whose projects such as the solar-powered Hyperloop train system and the vertical take off and vertical landing rocket Grasshopper of SpaceX continue to fascinate people, plans to build a car that transforms into a submarine. It's no ordinary car though, it's the Lotus Esprit 'submarine car' prop from the James Bond flick "The Spy Who Loved Me."
Musk wants to convert the Lotus Esprit from the classic 007 movie into a real car submarine just like how it was used in the film. The said vehicle that earned the monicker "Wet Nell" crossed the auction block last month in London and was sold to a mystery buyer for $866,000.
Automotive blog Jalopnik was first to report that Musk placed a bid for $866,000 for the said Lotus sports car. It was only one of the eight vehicles used for the 1977 James Bond release. The car is not drivable anymore but has still retained its submarine functionality. This means that the driver needs to wear a wetsuit and have an oxygen support because the cabin fills up with water. The vehicle was recovered in a storage container that was bought by a buyer for just $100 in Long Island. RM Auctions restored the car and placed it for bidding.
A spokesperson for Tesla Motors has confirmed that the company's CEO was the 'secret buyer' who had bought the vehicle, following a fierce bidding.
"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 said in a statement.
"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," he added.
In the James Bond film, the wheels of the sports car retracted as fins extended as the transformed into a submarine. Of course, it came with the coolest weapons and had its own missile launcher that can bring down the enemy's helicopter.
While it is not clear how Musk will transform the Lotus car-sub, but one thing is certain - the man who bought it surely knows how to think beyond the ordinary.