The so called “007 Submarine Car” is actually an adapted Lotus Esprit, which featured in the 1977 James Bond movie “The Spy Who Loved Me.”
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, bought the car prop at a London auction in September for $ 989,000. He plans to convert it into a real car that transforms into a submarine. It will be propelled by a Tesla electric powerplant.
Musk, a billionaire and also CEO of rocket maker SpaceX, said in an email reply to USA Today:
“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.”
The movie prop was never a true “submarine car.” It was actually a car body that was driven by a stunt man with scuba gear.
In the movie, Roger Moore was seen driving an Lotus Esprit sports car along a road when it is attacked by woman in a helicopter. In order to escape, Moore drives the car off a pier.
The car’s wheels then retract, the fins extend, and the car becomes a submarine.
Several Lotus vehicles were used in the movie, each fulfilling a different role. One had the job of only showing the wheels retracting, while another was used to show the launching of the surface-to-air missile that Bond fired at the pursuing helicopter.
As of now, it’s unclear how far Musk will take his conversion. Will he seal the vehicle completely so that it can actually be driven? Or will it continue to be driven only by divers with scuba breathing gear.
Either way, the “007 Submarine Car” will have a new lease of life after over 25 years in storage.