Elon Musk’s First Car Was a BMW That Cost Him Only $1,400

by Gabrielle DeSantis

Tesla has surpassed big-name companies like Facebook in growth. And to date, the EV maker is valued at around $800 billion and is still growing. It’s pretty obvious the CEO, Elon Musk, knows his vehicles. But you can’t help but wonder which cars he’s owned over the years. 

In an interview with Forbes, Musk revealed his first vehicle and a few others he purchased on the way. 

Elon Musk’s claim to fame

Elon Musk has made a name for himself by carving a spot in the automotive world for all-electric vehicles. Though he didn’t found Tesla, he put forth a large sum of the money to establish the brand and get its name on the map. He would go on to create some of the most innovative EVs. 

Musk started with his own company, Zip2, after trying to get a job at Netscape, Tech Times reported. He realized he was too shy to talk to other people to clinch the deal in interviews. With no job prospects, he entered the internet world with a website software company he co-owned with his brother. Later, it would become known as PayPal.

Eventually, he found his way to designing Tesla’s first vehicle, the Roadster, in 2008. A decade later, he sent one of these cars into space by strapping it to the SpaceX Falcon Heavy. It’s still orbiting the sun, which experts say it will probably continue doing for the next few million years with a dummy nicknamed “Starman” at the wheel.

Elon Musk’s first 2 car purchases

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In 1994, Musk purchased his first car, a 1978 BMW 320i that cost him $1,400. He fixed it up to be a pretty nice-looking vehicle, which he drove for two years. One day, a Zip2 intern was driving it when a wheel fell off the car. At that point, Musk junked it. 

When he got his initial Zip2 bonus of $40,000, he went car shopping. This time, he set his sights on the one car he always wanted, a Jaguar E-Type. He bought a 1967 model for $35,000. The car was a dream come true, but not for long.

Musk called it a “bad girlfriend” because it gave him lots of trouble. He said it kept breaking down and always needed repairs. The first time it gave him grief was when he drove it home from the dealer, he told Forbes. 

What other vehicles has he owned?

Musk made his next car purchase after he sold Zip2. He bought a McLaren F1, which looked like something out of a sci-fi movie. Musk kept the vehicle for several years and put 11,000 miles on it. He used it as his daily driver until he gave his buddy Peter Thiel a ride in it and tried to show off. The car hit an embankment and rolled over, totaling it. He didn’t have it insured. 

The most interesting car Musk owned was the Lotus Esprit Submarine, used in the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me. He spent $920,000 on it at an auction but was disappointed to see it didn’t transform into a submarine as it had in the movie. So he decided that someday he would use the Tesla electric powertrain and get the Esprit to work as a submarine in the water.

Elon Musk has owned a few other vehicles over the years. He has also driven Model S and Model 3 Performance cars, a Model X, and the new Cybertruck, which isn’t slated to come out until 2022.

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