IndustryTap reported “James Bond’s ‘Underwater’ Car Sells for Over Half a Million Pounds.” Now we have learned the $866,000 purchase was made by Elon Musk, founder of Tesla Motors, whose intent is to develop a real product based on it. Musk said:
“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. 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.”
Storage Wars Find
The Submarine Lotus was rediscovered by a Long Island contractor who bought a container for $100 without knowing its contents, just like on “Storage Wars.” Having never seen the 007 movie, the contractor was unaware of its potential value. After showing it to friends who had seen the movie, word got out. After it was verified as the original, it was auctioned on RM Auctions.
According to the Ian Flemming Foundation:
“It’s unclear how the car ended up in storage in Long Island, [Doug Redenius, co-founder of the Ian Fleming Foundation] said. The car was used for promoting the movie in 1977, and was in paid storage for 10 years after that. But somehow, the owner of the storage facility—perhaps the Hollywood studio or production company—stopped paying the storage fee.”
The auction listing described the vehicle, believed to have been developed at a cost of $100,000 in 1970, as follows:
“It moves forward via a bank of four propellers, with their electric motors being driven by batteries housed in a water-tight compartment. The articulated fins are adjusted with mechanical levers that are operated by its driver.
Underwater, the Lotus has a turning circle of around 20 feet. Its dive and climb performance is regulated by ballast tanks, and it has been described as “crisply argonautic”.
Contrary to what movie magic suggests, there is no semblance of a road car interior in this Lotus; instead, inside one will find its underwater motors, batteries, levers, and other control apparatus, with only a platform seat for its driver.”
Potential For A Tesla Submersible
Seeing as how oceans cover the vast majority of the earth’s surface and haven’t been fully explored yet, it would seem there is an opportunity for the type of underwater vehicle Musk envisions. In addition, while private industry will soon provide space vehicles for tourists, oceangoing submersibles for tourism and exploration may catch on too.