Whats Elon Musk favorite car?
What Kind of Car Does Elon Musk Drive?
Ever wondered if Tesla founder Elon Musk actually drives a Tesla? Turns out he drives three, along with a garage full of other classics.
Written by Andrea Barrett
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Updated on Mar 23, 2023 published date: Apr 13, 2022
Table of Contents
- 1978 BMW 320i
- 1997 McLaren F1
- 2012 Porsche 911 Turbo
- 2019 Tesla Model S Performance
- 2020 Tesla Cybertruck
- 2008 Tesla Roadster
- How to tackle car insurance shopping (and save money!)
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Engineer, entrepreneur, innovator, and Tesla founder Elon Musk doesn’t just have a garage full of electric cars, he’s actually got quite the collection of classics—ranging from a 1978 BMW 320i to a 1978 McLaren F1. But there’s also a newer lineup including a 2012 Porsche 911 Turbo and, of course, the 2020 Tesla Cybertruck.
As the CEO of Tesla, you’d probably guess Elon Musk owns a massive collection of top-of-the-line electric cars, but the million-dollar McLaren F1 that sits in his garage proves otherwise. Despite owning the biggest electric car company in the world, it’s not all electric for this tech genius. Worth over $260 billion, there’s no car that’s off-limits for Musk.
If you’re ready to step into the garage of the world’s richest man, we’ve got the scoop on Elon Musk’s cars.
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1978 BMW 320i
Starting price : $9,315
Engine: 2.0L 4-cylinder
The classic 1978
may not be the fanciest car on the market or the one you pegged Elon Musk to drive, but a first car is one to remember . Although the BMW wasn’t quite the status symbol it is today, this model was one of the first iterations of the BMW 3 Series .
It’s equipped with a continuous port injection system (Bosch K-Jetronic) as opposed to a carburetor and hits 0 to 60 mph in just over 10 seconds —not bad for an original BMW. And if you’re looking to hit the ground running, you can reach a maximum speed of 112 mph .
After purchasing it in 1994 and fixing it up himself , Musk had his BMW 320i for just two years before the wheels fell off during a drive.
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1997 McLaren F1
Starting price: $1,000,000
Engine: 6.1L V12
If you’ve ever dreamed about owning one of these supercars, Elon Musk can tell you what a thrill it is. His 1997 McLaren F1 was a gift to himself when he sold his company, Zip2. It was a toss-up between buying a house or buying a $1 million car—and obviously, the car won.
Although this piece of art is no longer in production—there were only 106 ever manufactured—it’s one of the best cars ever made. Some car enthusiasts would even say it’s the greatest supercar in history.
With a top speed of roughly 240 mph and a 0 to 60 of just 3.2 seconds , this 6.1L V12 powerhouse delivers over 620 horsepower . And if that wasn’t enough, the engine is lined with gold and the throttle pedal is platinum.
However, Musk’s silver supercar became a thing of the past when he crashed it in 2000 while taking PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel for a drive. Neither passenger was hurt, but the car sustained some pretty hefty damage.
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2012 Porsche 911 Turbo
Starting price: $138,450
Engine: 3.8L turbocharged V6
With breathtaking performance and classically good looks , the Porsche 911 Turbo is a showstopper. It’s one of the most iconic and legendary sports cars around, and Elon Musk is enamored with it. The 2012 911 Turbo is the seventh generation of sports cars and perhaps one of the most luxurious and practical vehicles in its performance class.
With all-wheel drive and a twin-clutch automatic transmission, the 911 Turbo boasts a powerful 500-horsepower engine that goes from 0 to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds . Despite its grace and speed, there was one small factor Musk couldn’t escape—its gas-guzzling engine.
When Musk met engineer JB Straubel in 2003, the idea of battery-powered cars was front and center in Musk’s mind. When he couldn’t buy Straubel’s prototype e-car, Musk asked him to put a lithium-ion pack in his 911 and make it electric. Although it didn’t happen, this was Musk’s first connection with a couple of guys who had an electric car startup by the name of Tesla.
Need we say more?
2019 Tesla Model S Performance
Starting price: $76,200
Engine: Twin-turbo V8
Of his massive car collection, the
Tesla Model S
is the one Musk drives most often. Considering the Model S is the most comfortable and accommodating of the entire Tesla lineup, that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. This was also the model on which Musk introduced Ludicrous mode —a power boost that gives equipped Tesla’s a turbocharge. This feature was inspired by his Hamann-tuned BMW M5.
The 2019 Tesla Model S Performance is a ferocious and efficient turbocharged beast that can hit 0 to 60 mph in just 2.4 seconds , competing with some of the fastest cars ever produced. As with most Teslas, there’s no shortage of tech features available in the Model S, from semi-autonomous driving mode and a remote-control driving feature to one of the largest infotainment screens in any car on the market.
The base Model 3 is equipped with a battery that can deliver a 270-mile driving range. But if you select the Long Range model, you can boost that up to 335 miles. That said, these models were designed with a greater focus on acceleration time rather than range, and for a mere $15,000, you can unlock the car’s Ludicrous Mode.
Why wouldn’t Elon want to drive this supercharged bad boy around town?
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2020 Tesla Cybertruck
Starting price: $29,900
Engine: Single, dual, or triple-motor lithium-ion battery
Looking somewhat like a cross between a tank and a child’s toy, this ultra-modern, alien-like vehicle is capable of competing with all the top-selling pickups. Although Musk believes it’s the best car produced, he was worried that his trapezoid-shaped truck would flop—but he didn’t care. Its sharp-edged exterio r is made from scratch- and dent-resistant stainless steel and gives this truck a seriously edgy and tough appearance.
Equipped with all-wheel drive, the Cybertruck can tow up to 14,000 pounds and gets an estimated driving range of approximately 500 miles . It’s available in three configurations, each based on the number of engines it has.
Tesla claims the single-motor Cybertruck can hit 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, maxing out at a top speed of 110 mph . The dual-motor Cybertruck can reach 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds with a top speed of 120 mph , while the ultimate performance three-motor model can blast you from 0 to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds, reaching a maximum speed of 130 mph .
2008 Tesla Roadster
Starting price: $200,000
Engine: Lithium-ion battery
No Elon Musk car collection would be complete without the Tesla Roadster —the first car ever rolled out by the iconic electric car company. The Roadster was released in 2008 . With its ultra-powerful electric engine, it could reach 0 to 60 in just 3.7 seconds at a top speed of 124 mph . And you could drive up to 245 miles on a single charge.
But here’s why this car is so special: In 2018, Musk’s 2008 Roadster was launched into space aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.
Based on the Lotus Elise chassis and fitted with lithium-ion batteries, the amazingly sleek and sexy Roadster was the first to orbit the sun and can currently be found drifting somewhere beyond Mars further into the great unknown.
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How to tackle car insurance shopping (and save money!)
If you’re looking to have a car collection like Elon Musk, you better have a paycheck like him, too. Whether it’s the $1 million McLaren that he crashed like it was nothing or his high-performance electric daily driver, we can all agree that Musk has a pretty sweet group in his garage.
But if you’re like most people and in a different income bracket, perhaps you can save up for your dream car by spending less on other car expenses today. Start with your
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The Most Expensive Car In Elon Musk’s Collection
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk started his path to billionaire stardom at an early age. Born Elon Reeves Musk on June 28, 1971, in Pretoria, South Africa, the young Elon created a video game at age 12 and later sold it to a computer magazine. He founded Zip2 in 1995 and sold the company to Compaq for a whopping $307 million in 1999 (per Brittanica). Musk used his newfound capital to establish X.com, a company that later became PayPal. In 2002, online retail giant eBay acquired Paypal for $1.5 billion.
Long fascinated with humans becoming an interplanetary species, Musk founded SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies) in 2002 to make more affordable and reusable space rockets. He joined Tesla in 2004 after providing more than $6 million in Series A funding, and the American EV maker is now the undisputed king of electric cars with a $1 trillion valuation despite making up less than 1% of global car sales (BBC). Forbes claims Elon Musk is the world’s richest man with a staggering $255.1 billion net worth as of this writing, more than enough to acquire the rarest and most expensive cars known to humanity.
Elon Musk’s Car Collection
It’s not unusual for a billionaire to gather a mouthwatering collection of exotic and uber-expensive cars. Despite his penchant for modern electric vehicles, Musk is also the proud owner of a 1920 Ford Model T and a 1967 Jaguar E-Type Roadster, two excellent choices to jumpstart a vintage auto collection. The Jag E-Type is regarded by many as the most beautiful car ever made, while the Ford Model T will forever go down in history as the car that put Americans on wheels.
Musk’s affinity for Ford’s classic didn’t win him any fans over in Detroit, however. Back in 2013, when Tesla was preparing to launch a more affordable electric car, it apparently first wanted to call it the Model E. Unfortunately for those plans, Ford already held the Model E trademark and refused to hand it over. Instead, Tesla branded its EV as the Model 3 and, while it may not have had the name Musk hoped for, it certainly hasn’t been held back in the sales charts. In fact, demand for the Model 3 undoubtedly helped cement Tesla’s reputation as the de-facto heavyweight in electric vehicles.
As the CEO of Tesla, Musk unsurprisingly has a first-gen Tesla Roadster, Model S, and Cybertruck in his growing fleet (per Hot Cars). However, you’ll be surprised to discover that Elon’s first car was a first-generation BMW E21 320i, but a Zip2 intern crashed the car and rendered it obsolete (per Motorious). He bought his next Bimmer in 2006, a Hamann BMW M5 E60 sedan, a four-door rocket ship with four wheels packing a 603-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 under the hood. Rounding up the list of German cars in Elon’s collection is a 2012 Porsche 911 Turbo, a car that he claims is among his favorites.
What is the most expensive car in Elon Musk’s collection?
According to Business Insider, Elon Musk bought a McLaren F1 to celebrate eBay’s acquisition of PayPal. Musk became a rising star in Silicon Valley and needed a new ride to profess his growing bank account, and the McLaren F1 fit that bill perfectly. It was formerly the world’s fastest road-legal car when it reached an unbelievable 231 mph in 1993 at the Nardo test track (per Autozine). Moreover, it hits 0 to 60 mph from a standstill in 3.2 seconds and 0 to 100 mph in 6.3 seconds.
It also happens that the McLaren F1 is one of the rarest vehicles on Earth, with only 106 units built from 1992 to 1998. Out of the 106, only 64 were road-legal variants. It’s also among the most expensive vintage sports cars money can buy. In 2021, a particular McLaren F1 underwent the hammer at a Pebble Beach Gooding & Company auction for $20.5 million. Unfortunately, Musk hit a barrier while driving his McLaren F1, where it launched in the air and spun multiple times before landing back on the pavement (per The Drive). The car was declared a write-off and had no insurance during the accident. Musk later sold the car for a profit.
The most expensive car currently in Elon’s collection, then, is a Lotus Esprit, according to Automobile Informer. He paid $920,000 for his Lotus at auction, but we’re not talking about an ordinary Esprit — it’s the submarine car that starred in the 1977 James Bond hit «The Spy Who Loved Me.» Musk was initially disappointed to learn the submarine does not transform into a car like in the movie. Still, he has plans to upgrade it to a Tesla electric powertrain and make it amphibious in real-time.
A McLaren F1 That Elon Musk Called ‘The Best Car Ever’ Is Up For Grabs
The coveted 1998 McLaren F1 could fetch more than $20 million at auction.
Aug 10, 2022
A hidden away example of a McLaren F1—what some call the greatest supercar of the 1990s—is headed to an RM Sotheby’s auction block, where it will rear its engine head for the first time in over a decade.
The F1’s accolades are numerous. It was the first road car built with active aerodynamics—a staple of today’s hypercars. It was the most expensive new car ever built, with a price tag north of $1 million. It won 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995—its first outing at the heralded endurance race.
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And as RM Sotheby’s points out, the F1 is still the world’s fastest naturally aspirated road car, with 627 horsepower from a 6.1-liter BMW V12 capable of pushing the wheeled missile to 242.8 mph.
Despite its nonrenewable fuel source, Tesla CEO Elon Musk once tweeted that the F1 is the “best car ever” after revealing that he chose the car over a Palo Alto house following the sale of his first company in 1999.
“When my 1st company got bought, I had to decide between buying a house in Palo Alto or a McLaren F1 (best car ever imo). Was no contest. I bought F1 & a small condo that was much cheaper than the car.”
Musk failed to mention that he crashed his F1 in 2000 while showing off to investor Peter Thiel, but this example, chassis No. 059, fared much better. It’s been in climate-controlled private ownership of a world-class collection since 2012. This is also the only known example to have left the factory with a very late headlight modification that greatly increased visibility at the request of F1 owners.
RM Sotheby’s has much more on chassis No. 059’s extensive provenance:
Students of motorsport history will be keenly aware of the auspicious nature of this car’s chassis number, 059, as it shares that number with the race number of the F1 that took overall victory at the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans, further affirming the F1’s significance in automotive history.
With this car having been completed and delivered in April 1998 as the 97th McLaren F1 built (making it amongst the very last), this fact would not have been lost on its first owner, who was no stranger to McLaren and the F1.
That first owner was John Studholme of Boston, Lincolnshire in the UK. Studholme founded Dynamic Cassette International which manufactured typewriter cassettes and would later transition to producing printer inkjet cartridges. This was not Mr. Studholme’s first F1, as he traded chassis number 017 into McLaren upon his purchase of this car, nor would this be his last F1 as he also owned the F1 GTR 14R.
Opting to finish his new F1 in Magnesium Silver over a black Alcantara and leather interior, chassis number 059 was first registered in the UK in Studholme’s name in May of 1998 and the car was immediately pressed into use with him. Service records on file show that seven months after delivery, the F1 was serviced by McLaren Special Operations and fitted with the High Downforce Kit as well as 18-inch wheels, which it still sports today.
At the time 059’s first service was carried out, it had already been driven some 4,676 miles. Its service records make for fascinating reading as McLaren went to excruciating detail to ensure that the F1 would always perform at its very best in any circumstances. Nothing was overlooked in servicing, a regimen which included pre- and post-service testing on closed circuits, and even what CDs were present in the bespoke Kenwood six-disc CD changer were noted upon arrival at MSO (Queen, Elton John, and Fleetwood Mac were clearly favorites of Studholme).
The car was serviced regularly during his ownership, with invoices on file for each service from 1998 to 2012, verifying the car’s present mileage of less than 16,400 miles as authentic. Importantly, these records show that while the car was used by Studholme as McLaren would have intended, the car was never abused and always returned to the factory to be properly looked after.
The F1 was acquired by its second and current owner in late 2012 and was exported to the US under the show or display exemption to reside within his world-class collection, where it would spend some time sitting alongside yet another McLaren F1.
In this time, it has accrued less than 300 miles on its odometer and remained largely in climate-controlled storage, the additional mileage a result of occasional exercise within storage. Of note, it is advised that 059 will require recommissioning and we welcome interested parties to contact us directly for further information on its overall status.
No pre-auction valuation was provided, but Hagerty’s indicates that a 1998 McLaren F1 could fetch anywhere from $14.8 million in “Fair” condition to $22.6 million in “Concours” condition. We’ll find out how much chassis No. 059 is worth when the RM Sotheby’s Sealed sale concludes on August 20.