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Actors Barbara Bach and Roger Moore, stars of the James Bond film “The Spy Who Loved Me,” with the 1976 Lotus Esprit Image Credit: Supplied

When Elon Musk revealed his Cybertruck in Los Angeles late last month, he didn’t disappoint those who were looking for some drama. If the outrageously polarizing looks of the Tesla pickup truck was not enough, he managed to get even more publicity from the “armor glass” windows being smashed – seemingly a faux pas but believed by many to have been staged by the South African master marketer for added PR!

While the polygonal monstrosity that Musk tried to pass off as a truck has split opinion, the car he claims to have inspired the Cybertruck’s lines is one that’s loved by many. Musk disclosed after the launch that the truck has been "influenced partly" by the James Bond film "The Spy Who Loved Me" in which Bond, played by Roger Moore, drives a Lotus Espirit off a pier into the ocean and the car transforms into a submarine.

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The iconic Bond Submarine Car was bought by Elon Musk for nearly a million dollars Image Credit: Supplied

In fact, Musk made headlines in 2013 when he was identified as the anonymous bidder who bought the modified Esprit used in the movie at a London auction for a whopping $997,000. "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," Musk said after snapping the Lotus up.

However, news has emerged now that a couple from Long Island, New York had picked up the same car back in 1989 for an incredibly low price of $100. In fact, what they bought was an unclaimed storage unit that had been put up on a blind auction, which meant the seller or the buyer did not know what was inside. On opening the unit, they found the 1976 Lotus Esprit buried under some old blankets! The couple, who had never watched a Bond movie, was not immediately aware of the value of the treasure they had struck. As word got around, Doug Redenius, co-founder of the Ian Fleming Foundation contacted the couple, authenticated the car, and put them in touch with RM Sotheby’s who organized an auction in 2013.

Although they were apparently told before the auction that money raised by selling the car could give them an opportunity to live very comfortably for the rest of their lives, the couple wouldn’t have expected their $100 investment to bring in nearly a million dollars!

After buying the car at the auction, Elon Musk had said he would upgrade it with a Tesla electric powertrain and try to make it a real amphibious vehicle. We now wish he had concentrated on doing that rather than drawing inspiration from it to make the angular eyesore called Cybertruck.

Click here to see more images of the Lotus Esprit Submarine Car