Elon Musk has a ‘Project Goldfinger’

Elon Musk photo on Twitter on April 29.

Elon Musk’s one time Twitter photo.

Elon Musk, who builds electric cars and launches rockets, has a thing for James Bond.

In 2013, Musk bought the submarine car from The Spy Who Loved Me. For a time, he had a picture of himself on Twitter evoking Ernst Stavro Blofeld (and Dr. Evil).

This week, according to the Jalopnik website, there’s part of his Fremont, California, plant that builds electric cars with a sign reading, “Top Secret: Project Goldfinger.”

Here’s an excerpt from the story by Jalopnik’s Michael Ballaban:

It’s a bit of a mystery as to what it is. The paper sign was attached to a temporary wall sealing off an area from prying eyes near a stamping section of the factory, and everyone I asked didn’t know what I was talking about.

Tesla spokespeople had no idea, Tesla employees had no idea, even Elon Musk himself claimed to have no clue as to what I was talking about when I asked him at a press conference. He laughed, dismissed it as “probably a joke,” and moved on.

It should be noted that Auric Goldfinger gave the code name “Operation: Grand Slam” to his plan to steal gold from Fort Knox (as in Ian Fleming’s novel) or to explode an atomic bomb there (as in the 1964 movie).

Anyway, Ballaban writes he’s been told Musk uses Bond-related names for project updates. Musk does have a lot of his plate. Tesla Motors Inc., the electric-car company that Musk runs, is in the midst of expanding its lineup. And SpaceX, another Musk company, always is busy.

Elon Musk identified as buyer of 007 submarine car

"Wet Nellie" from The Spy Who Loved Me

“Wet Nellie” from The Spy Who Loved Me

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors Inc., the maker of luxury electric cars, has been identified as the buyer of the submarine car from The Spy Who Loved Me, by the JALOPNIK Web site.

As we POSTED BEFORE, Wet Nellie, the one car that actually operated underway in the 1977 007 film, was purchased for 550,000 British pounds in early September, or about $863,000 at that time. The purchaser, though, wasn’t disclosed.

Jalopnik, in a FOLLOW-UP POST tonight said Musk revealed his plans for the car. An excerpt of what Jalopnik says is a Musk statement “via Tesla’s PR”:

“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 has said nothing on his Twitter account where he sometimes makes public statements.

For the uninitiated, the car that Musk bought was the one Lotus that operated underwater but its operators had to wear scuba equipment to do so. It remains to be seen what Musk — who has been compared to Tony Stark, the hero of Iron Man — will do.

(UPDATE Oct. 18): The comments to the follow-up Jalopnik post are mixed.

“Come on dude, just no. Not to the original,” one respondent wrote. “The Esprit is a pretty simple two-piece fiberglass shell, and I’m sure you can make a mould based on the real thing with no problem. Use that for your submarine, and leave the real thing alone. I say this as a Lotus Esprit owner, a Bond fan, and an all-around car guy.”

Another commenter expressed skepticism. “Next up, Musk buys the original DeLorean to build a time machine.”