SEAN Connery needn’t go sneaking around any hollowed-out volcanoes.
The boss of Tesla isn’t behind some cartoonish plot to take over the world – but he is taking some fairly obvious inspiration from another carmaker.
As much as the idea of Elon Musk spending his downtime tending to a white cat and thinking up ever more elaborate ways to have undercover agents “taken care of” fits perfectly with his daytime persona of being a rather avantgarde industrialist, his plans this week to launch a compact Tesla within the next two or three years, which would almost certainly go up against Volkswagen’s new ID3, meant that I’ve finally sussed him out.
Largely because he’s managed to get his electric car operation to pretty much exactly where Jaguar was 65 years ago.
The parallels are all there. Tesla started out by tweaking another car company’s big-seller – in this case, by turning the Lotus Elise into a zero emissions sports car – in much the same way that Sir William Lyons, Jaguar’s founder, made his debut with lavishly trimmed Austin Sevens.
Both have gone on to specialise in making high-end saloons that embarrass Porsches and Aston Martins away from the traffic lights, and both have come up with what they proclaim to be the world’s fastest car – in Jaguar’s case, the XK120, but Tesla hasn’t actually got around to making its much-hyped second-generation Roadster yet.
Yes, I know that Tesla hasn’t been anywhere near Le Mans, but being the first company to launch one of its cars into space surely earns them just as many column inches.
Which is why the new compact Tesla fits into this narrative perfectly – it’s the Jaguar Mk2, of course!
If the projected price of $25,000 – just under £20,000 in Queen’s English, or about the same as a new Astra if you speak fluent petrolhead – is on the money then it genuinely has the potential to shake up the market in much the same as the small Jags did back in the Sixties, which paved the way for all the 3-Series and A4s you see on our motorways today.
Of course the Mk2, as much as I love driving them, isn’t the car that most people remember from this period of Jaguar’s illustrious history.
That’d be the E-type – which presumably means that somewhere inside the hollowed-out volcano, Tesla’s crack team of engineers are already thinking up their own Ferrari-pummelling, bargain-priced sports car for the TikTok generation.
You heard it here first…
David Simister is the editor of Classic Car Weekly