Remember when we reported the long-lost-but-found-again Lotus Esprit submarine used in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me had sold at auction in London for $966,560 (well, $863,000 plus a 12-percent buyer's premium)? At the time, the buyer's identity remained a mystery, but Jalopnik has reported and confirmed that the man with money to burn is none other than billionaire Elon Musk, CEO of both Tesla Motors and SpaceX. What's even more shocking (maybe not for Musk) is that he wants to install a Tesla electric powertrain in it and make it transform into a road-going car.

The story of the submersible Lotus' journey from movie star to prized possession of the eccentric Musk is remarkable. After filming ended in the '70s, the car was shipped to Long Island, NY and placed in a storage container that was paid in advance by the studio for 10 years. After the money ran out, the contents of the container were sold off Storage Wars-style in 1989 and won by an area couple. It was shown in public on occasion throughout the years, but its value remained a mystery until the gavel fell in London last month. While far from the most valuable Bond car to be auctioned off (that honor goes to the Aston Martin DB5 used in Goldfinger and Thunderball, which sold for $4.6 million at auction in 2010), the Lotus submarine is definitely the most unique.

Also worth noting is that the Lotus sub is more than just a prop. Without the aid of CGI, the film's producers needed an actual submarine that looked like a Lotus Esprit, and so they hired a company called Perry Oceanographic in Florida to build it and hired former US Navy Seal Don Griffin to pilot the sub during the film.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 32 Comments
      mbukukanyau
      • 1 Year Ago
      So, he wants to ruin a classic and iconic vehicle?
        Logan Gaudreau
        • 2 Months Ago
        @mbukukanyau

        oh please. the lotus esprit should be thankful that its even being considered a vehicle that could be transformed from an (admittedly cool classic car) into unique vessel that can traverse the ocean. 

        Logan Gaudreau
        • 2 Months Ago
        @mbukukanyau

        oh please. the lotus esprit should be thankful that its even being considered a vehicle that could be transformed from an (admittedly cool classic car) into unique vessel that can traverse the ocean. 

        frostillicus80
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mbukukanyau
        Go back under your bridge, troll. There is obviiously nothing for you out here.
        Edson
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mbukukanyau
        No. He wants to get if a lot much better!
        m_2012
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mbukukanyau
        It was a turd car used as a prop. Don't give it more credit than it deserves. Bye troll.
        Actionable Mango
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mbukukanyau
        Turning a websub that barely functions in water into a dry sub that functions in both water and on the road is ruining it?
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          @ Actionable Mango Interesting ethical question, I understand your reasoning, but mbukukanyau also has a point. At what point do historical artifacts become sacrosanct ? If with modern technology, we could restore the limbs to the Venus di Milo, should we do so ? Should we finish, unfinished symphonies, 'colourise' black and white movies, (although with the last two we don't destroy the original ). At what point does a work of art become exclusive private property ? What's the ethics of me buying the Mona Lisa, and burning on my BBQ, to emulate my Goth (Vandal) ancestors? I don't know the answers, but it's a legitimate ethical question, for a wet afternoon, in the pub.....
          mbukukanyau
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          Its an iconic historic piece, ever heard of preserving history?
      scott3
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is a movie prop and needs to be put on display somewhere. If Elon wants a Tesla Lotus there are plenty Esprit's around that have blown engines or need more work than they are worth. They would be the smart use if you wanted to make a conversion. If that is all he wanted to do he could have done it for a slight bit less than $1M. Some have more money then Sense.
        KC
        • 1 Year Ago
        @scott3
        Firstly it's his money, secondly had you read the full article you would have known that this is a sub made to look like an Esprit, not the other way around.
        icon149
        • 1 Year Ago
        @scott3
        KC is right, he wants to convert this into a road going electric submarine... aka, just like what the Bond car was suppose to be. He is going to do what the film studio couldn't (or didn't). it would no doubt be cheaper to convert this to a car than convert an old lotus with a blown motor to a sub.
      Robert Fahey
      • 1 Year Ago
      DO IT, ELON.
      groingo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Elon, the great American Dreamer that actually makes dreams come true!
      jeff
      • 1 Year Ago
      This might be the most interesting restoration project on the planet....IMHO...
      marv.shocker
      • 1 Year Ago
      Uh oh...someone's got waaaaaay too much money....
        jeff
        • 1 Year Ago
        @marv.shocker
        Someone is way to envious....
      eselqueso
      • 1 Year Ago
      Being one of a kind is not classifiable- either it is unique or it isn't. As cool as the Lotusmarine is, there is no possibility of it being more unique than something else.
      Johnnie
      • 1 Year Ago
      gee i dunno. fiberglass doesn't react well to open flames :P
        Marcopolo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Johnnie
        @ Johnnie Especially underwater, ...oh,......you didn't really think that through did you, Jonnnie ?
      danfred311
      • 1 Year Ago
      Seems like a waste of time (and big money) to make a silly vehicle when you have the means to do something more significant. But I guess you can pay someone to do the work when you have near unlimited funds. That aside, I'm not sure he has thought it through. It's a fairly significant problem to make a car go under water with a dry cabin. The problem is you have to weigh as much as the displacement. If the car displaces 5 cubic meters it has to weigh 5 ton or it wont go under. That's why when Rinspeed made their submarine car the Squba the cabin gets flooded. What I suppose you could do is reduce the cabin volume to a minimum and design the rest of the body to be flooded. That way you can maybe keep it under 2 ton. The coolest would be a constant cabin pressure but that is likely too hard/dangerous even down to 10 meters where the pressure is an additional 10 ton per m2. The glass would have to be strong. Doing the wheel transformation is a fairly complex mechanism in itself. And you'll need pressure tanks for cabin pressurization as you go down. Doable perhaps but a very significant engineering job. Far more difficult than making any of the Roadster or Model S prototypes. Doable if money is not an object but he really has to mean it for something that complex to be done. And if he wants a constant pressure cabin then it's really going to be difficult. I have my doubts that it will ever be done but it's possible with unlimited funds. Just the balancing for whether you have 1 or 2 people in the car is a complex undertaking. If you just pay some company to do it it might be a 10 million dollar job if they are good. I suppose some of the expertise exists in spacex but do you take those guys off priority work to do a toy...
        jeff
        • 1 Year Ago
        @danfred311
        His money to do what he wants with it... Why in the world would you care ????
      bK
      • 1 Year Ago
      Didnt know this submarine actually works. That explains the price
        jeff
        • 1 Year Ago
        @bK
        It kind of does as a wet submersible (ie you have to use SCUBA to pilot it) Elon plans to make it into a real dry submersible with a read road drive train.... Should be very interesting to see if he can do it....
      Rotation
      • 1 Year Ago
      That's he bought it and is going to re-power it. It's a dog though, unless you ballast properly front and rear, the vehicle doesn't move normally underwater. And this one doesn't seem to (see the movie or otherwise). Maybe he can put extra effort in it to fix that too.
        SteveG
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rotation
        What do you mean move normally? This is a wet sub, the water that floods in is the ballast.
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @SteveG
          Just go watch any of the videos of it including the movie. It floats through the water at the wrong angles, instead of facing forward. The movie uses camera techniques to try to make it look okay. Turns out the makers didn't know dive planes aren't all you need. You need the ability to trim fore and aft with adjustable ballast.
      Technoir
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sounds as if Elon lost a bet, or had a few cans of beer when he said he will convert it. But you never know..
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