At an RM Auction in London last month a mystery buyer shelled out close to $1 million for the Lotus-based submarine from the 1970s-era James Bond film, “The Spy Who Loved Me.” Surprise – it was Elon Musk and he bought it to make it work.
Musk has confirmed plans to actually turn the $989,000 prop into a real, working sub car. And, in case you haven’t already guessed, his goal is to use a Tesla electric drivetrain on the movie memorabilia.
“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 confirmed in an e-mail to newspaper USA Today. “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 Lotus Esprit was driven by Roger Moore, the British actor who followed original James Bond Sean Connery into the 007 role for a number of ‘70s-era thrillers. With the prerequisite Bond girl alongside, the super spy evades an attacking helicopter by plunging his car off a pier. The wheels retract, fins emerge and with the touch of another button, a rocket launches, blasting the chopper from the sky.
Well, in fact, there were several different Lotus sports cars used in the film, each modified for a specific shot, such as deploying the fins. The actual Esprit submarine was a prop body that was operated by a stunt man wearing scuba gear. It was that version sold at the RM auction to Musk.
He also hasn’t said, yet, what his exact plans are – for example, whether it will be able to drive on land and then convert to a true submarine – nor whether he plans to show off the final version by personally driving off a pier.
) - Monday, October 21st, 2013 - filed under Celebrities
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