Elon Musk, founder of the Tesla electric car company, has bought James Bond’s iconic submarine car from The Spy Who Loved Me for £616,000 ($au 1,135,,000) with the intention of making its movie transformation from car to submarine a reality.

Seven white Lotus Esprits were used to represent a single 007 car as it swerves along cliffs in Sardinia to avoid villains, soars off a pier into the sea, morphs into a submarine, kills bad guys, resurfaces on a crowded beach and turns back into a car.

One of the cars actually functioned as a submarine but its interior was full of water,  underwater motors, batteries, levers, and other control apparatus, rather than the dark upholstery and colorful controls that it appeared to have.

The car was eventually abandoned in a Long Island storage unit, the contents of which were sold in 1989 for about $100. It was then restored and occasionally exhibited before being offered at auction.

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James Bond’s submarine car