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Far Out Tech

He's at It Again: Elon Musk Buys James Bond's Submarine and Has Big Plans for It

He's at It Again: Elon Musk Buys James Bond's Submarine and Has Big Plans for It
Image credit: Tim Scott/RM Auctions

Far Out Tech

It seems like every other day we read about some far-out, new technology that makes us scratch our heads and say, "What the heck?" In this series, we'll take a look at all types of crazy new gadgets, apps and other technologies -- and the entrepreneurs dreaming them up.

Space travel. High-performance electric cars. A super-fast "hyperloop" commuter train. Elon Musk is increasingly known for his far-out tech dreams. And he's at it again.

This time, Musk is pushing the boundaries of travel by visiting the past. Last month, he purchased a car-turned-submarine from the 1977 James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me for just shy of $1 million. Musk says he plans to drop a Tesla engine inside the vehicle and turn it into a submarine that converts into a drivable car.

Modeled after a vintage Lotus Espirit sports car, Musk's newest toy is one of several props used to shoot scenes in The Spy Who Loved Me which depict 007 driving his own Espirit off of a pier before the car reveals hidden fins and propellers, turning itself into a submarine.

Although the vehicle is a working submarine, it's what's known as a "wet submarine," meaning the interior fills with water, requiring the pilot to breathe from an oxygen tank. In the film, however, Bond, played by actor Roger Moore, is dry as a whistle. Those shots were filmed on a separate set.

"I was disappointed to learn that it can't actually transform," Musk says in a statement from Tesla. "What I'm going to do is upgrade it with a Tesla electric powertrain and try to make it transform for real."

Another downer: the fins and propellers don't retract. Oh, and it doesn't come with wheels. But with Musk's imagination and resources, perhaps all of that could change.

With his automotive company Tesla, which manufactures all-electric vehicles, and blueprints for the revolutionary Hyperloop project, which would supposedly be able to transport people and goods between Los Angeles and San Francisco in 30 minutes, it's apparent that Musk is obsessed with revolutionizing the way we move.

We might be piloting our own electric-powered submarines between New York and London before we even know it.

What crazy apps and gadgets have you come across lately? Let us know by emailing us at or by telling us in the comments below.

Benjamin Kabin is a Brooklyn-based technology journalist who specializes in security, startups, venture capital and social media.

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