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3 of Tesla’s earliest sports cars were discovered brand-new in shipping containers and are now up for sale

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A red 2010 Tesla Roadster in a shipping container, beside a close-up of a Tesla Roadster steering wheel.A red 2010 Tesla Roadster in a shipping container, beside a close-up of a Tesla Roadster steering wheel.

Gruber Motor Company

  • Three brand-new 2010 Tesla Roadsters are for sale after sitting in storage containers for 13 years. 
  • They were shipped to China in 2010 and abandoned at the dock. 
  • The Roadster was Tesla’s first model, and it only made around 2,500 of them from 2008-2012.

If you’ve been waiting patiently for years for the new Tesla Roadster sports car to start production, I’ve got great news for you. 

Three brand-new Roadsters just hit the market. Well, sort of. 

They aren’t examples of Elon Musk’s latest and greatest vehicle — which the upcoming Roadster promises to be — but rather his first. The 2010 Tesla Roadsters have been sitting in shipping containers in China for more than a decade, never driven, according to Gruber Motor Company, a Tesla repair shop specializing in Roadsters that’s brokering the sale.

Now they’re being auctioned off to the highest bidder

The tan interior of a 2010 Tesla Roadster that is now for sale.Photos show that the plastic seat covers remain intact.

Gruber Motor Company

Much like the photos the seller provided to Gruber, the details are a bit fuzzy. A Chinese businessman bought the Roadsters from Tesla in 2010, shipped them to China, and abandoned them at the dock, where they’ve been collecting dust and storage fees ever since, Pete Gruber, Gruber’s CEO, told Insider. 

At some point recently, the current owner bought the cars and contacted Gruber to broker a sale. 

Tesla released the Roadster, its very first model, back in 2008 and wound up selling roughly 2,500 of them through 2012 for $100,000 and up. Today, thanks to their rarity, place in electric-vehicle history, and the explosion of the Tesla brand, the two-door convertibles are hot collector’s items

A red 2010 Tesla Roadster in a shipping container.The bidding has already reached $500,000 for all three.

Gruber Motor Company

As of Friday, the highest bid was $500,000 for all three cars. But they could very well rake in much more than that.

The most comparable Roadster Gruber has helped sell was the 13th model ever built, which went for $295,000 last year. (Gruber doesn’t take a commission on sales, but rather helps match buyers and sellers.)

Perhaps the biggest question mark for any potential buyer: Do the Roadsters still work after sitting for so long? 

Gruber won’t know for sure until the cars are shipped to his shop in Arizona later in May. If a Roadster’s battery isn’t manually disconnected, it can die completely after just a few months, he said. (That’s not the case on more modern EVs.) But if Tesla pulled the vehicles’ plugs before shipping them, there’s a chance the Roadsters could be revived after 13 years out of commission. 

An orange 2010 Tesla Roadster in a shipping container.It’s unclear whether the Roadsters will be able to drive after sitting for over a decade.

Gruber Motor Company

News of the auction even drew attention from Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who shot his personal Roadster into orbit on a SpaceX rocket in 2018. On Twitter, he said that Roadsters are “increasingly rare.”

—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 2, 2023

Gruber would like to see the Roadsters bought as a group and put on display. 

“My take on it is these cars really belong in a museum, rather than go to some wealthy investor who’s going to tuck them away,” he said. “This is like a Picasso on the wall. You hang this on a wall and you leave it there.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

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