Apparently referring to the Jaguar Roadster, Musk calls the car his “first love.”
In an interview with Forbes (conducted while driving in a convertible), Musk says he bought the Jaguar early on in his career because he fancied the car in a book of classic convertibles he got when he was 17.
“I looked through them all and the one I liked the best was the E-Type Jaguar and I said, well, if I can ever afford it, that is the car I am going to get. And so that’s why I bought it.”
The car, he admits, was a headache.
“That was like a bad girlfriend — it kept breaking down on me and caused me all sorts of trouble,” says Musk. “In fact, it broke down on the way back from the dealer.”
But he didn’t give up on it. When he got a $40,000 bonus from a venture capitalist who invested in him early on, he spent $35,000 of it on the car.
The very first car Musk owned and liked was a gas car too — a 1978 BMW 320i, for which he paid $1,400 in 1994 and fixed it up himself, according to Forbes. He had the car for two years and then a wheel fell off when he lent the car to an intern. “I scrapped the car at that point,” Musk says.
He’s also had a McLaren F1, a sports car he wrecked in 2000 when driving with PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.
“Peter said, ‘So what can this do?’ and like probably No. 1 on the list of famous last words, I said, ‘Watch this.’ So I floored it and did a lane change on Sand Hill,” says Musk, referring to the famous Silicon Valley road, during an interview with PandoDaily. “We hit an embankment, like a 45-degree embankment on Sand Hill, which tossed the car into the air like a discus and it kept rotating with about three foot of air clearance.”
Despite the billionaire tech titan’s affection for old and sporty gasoline cars, his vision with Tesla is to help move the world away from fossil fuel energy — a cause he sees as desperately important.
“The point of [building Tesla] was, and remains, accelerating the advent of sustainable energy, so that we can imagine far into the future and life is still good. That’s what ‘sustainable’ means. It’s not some silly, hippy thing — it matters for everyone,” Musk writes in his 2016 “Master Plan” for Tesla on the company’s blog.
“By definition, we must at some point achieve a sustainable energy economy or we will run out of fossil fuels to burn and civilization will collapse. Given that we must get off fossil fuels anyway and that virtually all scientists agree that dramatically increasing atmospheric and oceanic carbon levels is insane, the faster we achieve sustainability, the better.”
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