Man buys storage unit for $100; Bond car inside goes to Elon Musk for $1 million
Talk about a payday. A man in New York paid roughly $100 for an unclaimed storage unit in 1989. It was a blind auction meaning no one knew what was inside until money exchanged hands. It turns out that what was inside was a 1976 Lotus Esprit Sports car buried under some old blankets.
But this wasn’t just any 1976 Lotus Esprit Sports car. This was one of the cars used in the 1977 James Bond film, “The Spy Who Loved Me”. And it wasn’t just any James Bond cars used in the movie; there were eight 1976 Lotus Esprit Sports cars, but this one was the only one used in the underwater scenes that portrayed the car after it had turned into a submarine.
The man originally put the car on a trailer to haul it home, but truckers on the highway who saw it alerted the man to what he had. After renting a VHS copy of the movie he started to understand just what it was.
According to an article in Autoweek, the car was authenticated by Doug Redenius, co-founder of the Ian Fleming Foundation. After restoring the car, the man displayed it at events before deciding to auction it in 2013. The buyer? None other than Elon Musk who paid nearly $1 million.
Musk said he’d grown up watching the Bond movie.
“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,” Musk said in 2013.
He recently revealed that the Lotus helped inspire the design for Tesla’s new cyber truck.
The original buyer remains anonymous, but he is no doubt enjoying a nice retirement.