The white Lotus Esprit amphibious sports car appears in a still from The Spy Who Loved Me.

Elon Musk is now the proud owner of James Bond's submarine car

Musk says he will install a Tesla drivetrain in the sub car, and 'try to make it transform for real.' 

In the 1977 flick "The Spy Who Loved Me," James Bond takes a comely young KGB agent on a spin in a sporty looking Lotus sports cars. It is one of the most iconic images in any Bond film: pursued by Jaws' henchmen, Bond steers the Lotus off a dock, and into the water, where the car promptly turns into a submarine. 

But after production on the movie concluded, the vehicle, which was built by Florida-based Perry Oceanographic, was mostly forgotten. According to, the car was shipped first to a storage unit on Long Island, where it remained for ten years, until the storage account became delinquent, and a local couple acquired the car in a blind auction. For the next couple decades, the Lotus remained mostly out of the spotlight. 

And now it belongs to serial entrepreneur – and space flight pioneer – Elon Musk. After Jalopnik reported that Musk had purchased the car for $866K at an auction in London, Musk confirmed the details of the deal to several outlets. "I was disappointed to learn that it can't actually transform," Mr. Musk said in a statement obtained by CNN. "What I'm going to do is upgrade it with a Tesla electric powertrain and try to make it transform for real."

All of this makes a certain amount of sense. After all, Musk was reportedly the inspiration for Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal of Tony Stark – a deep-pocketed billionaire with an affinity for scientific experimentation and some quirky pastimes. Rocket ships? Sure. A colony on Mars? Let's try it. Working submarine cars? Why not? 

In fact, before this whole underwater transformer car thing, Musk was soaking up the spotlight with his plans for a Hyperloop, a so-called "fifth mode of transportation" that would zip people from Los Angeles to San Francisco – a distance of almost 400 miles – in 30 minutes. 

"It would cost you much less than an air ticket – than any other mode of transport," Musk said in July. "I think we could actually make it self-powering if you put solar panels on it, you generate more power than you would consume in the system. There's a way to store the power so it would run 24/7 without using batteries. Yes, this is possible, absolutely."

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Elon Musk is now the proud owner of James Bond's submarine car
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today