Power Players

This is Elon Musk's first car: He was so broke he had to fix it himself with junkyard parts

Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla Inc., arrives at federal court in New York, on Thursday, April 4, 2019.
Natan Dvir | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Elon Musk has always had a love for cars — well before becoming the CEO of Tesla.

On Tuesday, his mother, Maye Musk, tweeted a 1995 picture of Elon with his very first car, saying "and people said you knew nothing about cars."

Elon Musk response to Maye Musk tweet

Musk responded with the story behind the photo: "Couldn't afford to pay for repairs, so I fixed almost everything on that car from parts in the junkyard," Musk tweeted.

"Ironically, that's me replacing broken side window glass. The circle is complete lol," he said, referring to the window of Tesla's new Cybertruck being smashed despite Musk's claim it is "armor glass."

Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk stands in front of the shattered windows of the newly unveiled all-electric battery-powered Tesla's Cybertruck at Tesla Design Center in Hawthorne, California on November 21, 2019.
FREDERIC J. BROWN | AFP | Getty Images

The car in Mae's tweet was a 1978 BMW 320i that Musk tweeted he bought in 1993 (he has previously said he purchased the car in 1994) for $1,400.

"I hotrodded it by jamming in a 5 speed transmission from a later model I found in a Philly junkyard when the 4 speed transmission failed," Musk tweeted.

Musk also told Twitter users how the BMW's window broke.

"They smashed the window to steal the radio, which was worth maybe $20. Got a replacement from the junkyard. Btw, great deals available from junkyards! It's pretty fun fixing/upgrading cars," he said.

In a 2012 interview with Forbes, Musk said that he got rid of the car after a wheel fell off when he lent the vehicle to his intern. "I scrapped the car at that point," he said. 

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Elon Musk's personally responding to questions and complaints from his customers
Elon Musk's personally responding to questions and complaints from his customers