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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.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Earlier today we brought you the scoop that Elon Musk was the secret buyer of the Bond Lotus submarine
With the $966,560 sale ($863,000 plus a 12-percent buyer's premium) of the white 1977 Lotus Esprit S1 submarine used in the 1977 James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, we now know "the Roger Moore discount."
Recall that Sean Connery's silver 1964 Goldfinger Aston Martin DB5 was sold by RM Auctions in London in 2010 for $4.6 million. Three years later, the same auction company in the same city has sold the aforementioned Lotus for just under $1 million.
An unscientific poll of those in the room showed that people preferred Sean Connery's Bond to Roger Moore's by a rate of four to one. And thus it translated into the bidding for their respective cars. No word on the identity of the buyer or his plans for what is, in fact, a working submarine.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Sure, the Aston Martin DB5
It took 1.5 years, but a DRB-Hicom managing director told Malaysia's Business Times that the company has "cleaned up" the situation at Lotus from its finances to its marketing and image. The clean-up job we're most interested in, the product portfolio, will be demonstrated by financial investment in a three-year program of "variants based on existing products - variants with improved technology, improved performance."
You'll notice mention of the word "variants" three times but no mention of the phrase "new models." We knew that with the death of the five-new-model turnaround plan dreamed up by ex-Lotus CEO Dany Bahar DRB-Hicom said there'd only be three distinct lines - which is the current number - but during Lotus' trouble-plagued 2012 it sold just 80 cars all year, and for a tense spell it really wasn't clear if DRB-Hicom would commit to even keeping Lotus alive, much less investing in it.
It's not clear how much is being put into in the three-year program of offshoot models like the 345-horsepower Exige S Roadster (pictured), but it might be fair to say this is where Lotus' revival really begins, and does so with baby steps. Autocar reports that DRB-Hicom has already put 100 million pounds into the English carmaker, and as its issues were worked through Lotus has sold almost as many cars in the first five months of this year as it did all of last. That has not only convinced the Malaysian minders to throw more money its way, but the UK's business secretary has also approved a 10-million-pound investment into Lotus through the Regional Growth Facility program.
However, with the Evora and Elise the only other models to earn the "Definites" tag this could put us another three years away from the return of the Esprit. Last we heard it was ready save for a management sign-off, but it goes into reverse - again - to an underground garage called "nebulosity."Permalink | Email this | Comments
Remember when Lotus revealed an ambitious plan to release five all-new models