Licensed to upgrade: Elon Musk buys Bond car and plans to turn it electric
Let's be honest: if you were a tech billionaire, the first thing you'd buy would be James Bond's gadget-laden car.
Elon Musk has just fulfilled everyone's secret Alan Partridge-esque fantasy by picking up the Lotus Esprit featured in 1977 James Bond epic The Spy Who Loved Me. The car has an amazing history, having been found in a storage locker by one lucky punter who bought the locker for US$100. And now SpaceX, Paypal and Tesla boffin Musk has paid US$866,000 for the secret agent's car.
The car, bought through RM Auctions by a bidder who initially wanted to remain anonymous, was driven by Roger Moore in the 007 classic – famously taking to the waves as a submersible.
Now, the secret buyer has been unmasked as Elon Musk.
"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," said Musk.
"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."
The car was found in Long Island by a contractor who bought an old storage locker for US$100. In one corner was an object under a blanket - the Bond car. However, the buyer had no idea what it was - and it was only when he rented a VHS copy of the film (this was 1989, remember) he realised.
"They really didn't know what it was at first," said Doug Redenius, co-founder of the Ian Fleming Foundation, which authenticated the car. "They had no idea how valuable their discovery was."