Elon Musk evokes Blofeld (and Dr. Evil) on Twitter

Elon Musk photo on Twitter on April 29.

Elon Musk photo on Twitter on April 30.

Elon Musk, the electric-car and rocket magnate, is having a little fun on Twitter. The photo for his Twitter feed features a photo that evokes Ernst Stavro Blofeld from the early James Bond movies — or Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers films, depending your preference. No telling how long it has been there.

In the photo, Musk (or perhaps a double, who knows?) is holding a toy white cat. He also is crooking his pinkie finger like Dr. Evil.

Musk has an affinity for Bond. The billionaire was identified in 2013 as the successful bidder for Wet Nellie, the submarine car from The Spy Who Loved Me.

Meanwhile, this is Musk’s most recent Twitter posting teasing some new venture:

Don Griffin, designer of Wet Nellie, dies

"Wet Nellie" from The Spy Who Loved Me

“Wet Nellie” from The Spy Who Loved Me

Don Griffin, who helped design and pilot “Wet Nellie,” the underwater car in The Spy Who Loved Me, died last month at age 87, according to THIS OBITUARY

Here’s an excerpt:

Don’s tour of life is leading him to his next adventure. He was a man of many interests and talents. From his early days as a Navy Frogman to an instructor for UDT(Seal) till he continued on with his service at Perry Oceanographic (later Lockheed Martin). At that time he helped to design and Pilot the Lotus submarine in the movie ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’. He loved photography especially underwater photography and was nicknamed ‘Frogtographer’.

Wet Nellie’s exploits were one of the highlights of 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me, the first 007 film after the breakup between Bond producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman.

As portrayed in the film, Bond drives a Lotus car with Russian Agent XXX (Barbara Bach) accompanying him. When the Lotus comes under attack, Bond drives the car off a dock after which it converts into a submarine. In reality, a number of vehicles were used. Regardless, audiences got a blast of watching Wet Nellie in operation.

Here’s how The Independent newspaper described the car (and Griffin’s contribution to its operation) in a 2013 story:

The vehicle was developed from one of six Esprit body shells used during the making of The Spy Who Loved Me. The Lotus was driven by retired Navy Seal Don Griffin, who operated it using motorized propellers while manoeuvring with levered steering mechanisms.

The version of Wet Nellie that actually traveled underwater was acquired at auction by billionaire Elon Musk.

A shoutout to Doug Redenius, who posted about Griffin’s death on Facebook.

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.”

Wet Nellie auctioned for less than projected

"Wet Nellie" from The Spy Who Loved Me

“Wet Nellie” from The Spy Who Loved Me

“Wet Nellie,” the submarine car from 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me, was auctioned on Sept. 9 but for less than some estimates before the sale.

The car fetched 550,000 British pounds (about $863,000), according to 007 fan sites such as BOND LIFESTYLE and THE JAMES BOND DOSSIER that monitored the auction online.

While not cheap, there had been projections Wet Nellie would go for 650,000 and 950,000 pounds. Not everyone was that bullish. There were low estimates that the vehicle bring a selling price of 500,000 pounds.

The result reinforces the only rule: an object, whether it’s an old comic book or something as elaborate as Wet Nellie, is worth what somebody is willing to pay for it.

The car that was auctioned was the one that function underwater, with frogmen in wet suits piloting the craft.

UPDATE: Robert Frank of CNBC TOOK A GUESS IN A POST ON NBC.COM why the auction price came up short. Here’s an excerpt

It’s unclear why the price was soft, given the boom in collectible cars and its status as an especially famous car from the silver screen. But auction experts said that because the Lotus was not a functional car, it may not have been as attractive to buyers. Although equipped with fins and propellers, it did not have wheels.

Wet Nellie (well, one of them) goes up for auction

"Wet Nellie" from The Spy Who Loved Me

“Wet Nellie” from The Spy Who Loved Me

“Wet Nellie,” the submarine car from 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me, is coming up for auction, according to THE HEMMINGS DAILY WEB SITE.

There was no single submarine car, as noted in the documentary Inside The Spy Who Loved Me. One of the cars did function underwater, albeit with occupants with scuba equipment. Here’s an excerpt from the Hemmings Web site:

Of the eight white Lotus Esprits used in the filming of the 1977 James Bond flick The Spy Who Loved Me, none actually completely transformed from canyon-carving sports car to missile-launching submersible, as depicted in the film. One, however, was actually built as a (barely) functioning submarine, and that underwater prop will soon head to auction, potentially trading hands for the first time since it was unearthed in a storage locker in 1989.

Constructed by Perry Oceanographic, the Lotus-themed submarine was said to have cost producers over $100,000 to build. During the movie, Don Griffin, a retired Navy SEAL who served as Perry Oceanographic’s test pilot on all new underwater craft, piloted the submarine, which the filming crew affectionately dubbed “Wet Nellie.” The craft was a “wet” submarine, meaning that Griffin utilized SCUBA gear during the chase scene sequences.

The “Wet Nellie” name stemmed from 1967’s You Only Live Twice, which featured a gimmicked-up mini-helicopter dubbed “Little Nellie.”

Wet Nellie is scheduled to be auctioned in early September. For more details, you can CLICK HERE.

JULY 2012 POST: THE SPY WHO LOVED ME’S 35TH ANNIVERSARY: LICENSE RENEWED