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Thoughts about the Roadster as a collector's item

Thoughts about the Roadster as a collector's item

From an economics point of view, I wonder if owners of Tesla Roadsters should upgrade their cars, since it will ruin their value as a collectors item. I can imagine that in a couple decades, the Roadster will be highly valuable collector's item as the first mass market electric car. Since all the EV1s were destroyed, the Roadster is one of the first electric cars that collectors can get their hands on and since only 2600 were built, they are rare enough to be valuable.

However, many Roadster owners are upgrading their models and the 3.0 upgrade will significantly change the car (different tires, battery and aerodynamics). I wonder if installing the 3.0 upgrade will lower the value of the car in the long run since it will no longer be the "original" Roadster, which collectors want.

On the other hand, electric cars may never become collectors items, like gasoline cars, because their batteries die if they aren't periodically charged. Electric cars can't sit around for decades in a garage and still run like gasoline cars. Eventually the battery will no longer hold a charge and it has to be replaced, so in a couple decades nobody will have an "original" Roadster battery if they still want to be able to drive the car, and the battery is one of the things that makes the car special. I imagine that in 30 years people will gawk at the orginal Roadster battery, the same way that I now gawk at computer equipment from the 1970s. However, old computer equipment, unlike old cars, have little resale value because you can no longer use it, whereas you can still take a car from the 1920s for a spin.

So I wonder if old electric cars will have much value as collectors items, if they can't run with their original parts. In a decade or two, Telsa will stop offering a replacement battery for the Roadster. The only way to keep using a Roadster is to jerry-rig it to use replacement batteries which will be substantially different from the original battery. I doubt anybody will be driving a Roadster in 50 years and old cars aren't that much fun to collect if you can't drive them.

So what do you guys think? Will people collect old Roadsters in the future the same way that they collect old gasoline cars today?

Another question is whether the increased focus on aerodynamics will cut out the distinctiveness of car bodies and whether the move to flat screen interfaces will eliminated the distinguishing features of car interiors. In other words, cars are becoming less collectable because their distinguishing features are dissappearing. The interface in a flat screen is constantly being upgraded and changed, so there is nothing perminent to collect. Likewise, the need for energy efficient cars will make all car bodies have the same aerodynamic shape in the future. What do you guys think?

In other words, the Roadster i if they are ations 2.5, 3.0 means that few people was will ever become a collectors item.

Brian H | 21 February 2015

Buying future collectors' items is a mugs game.

RonaldA | 21 February 2015

Drive it, enjoy it or upgrade and enjoy. The car will go for decades just replace the battery if needed. People will still want the first electric sports car regardless. But please don't sacrifice your enjoyment to secure presumed future value.

spacevertex | 21 February 2015

I was born in the 80' so a tad bit in between the X & Y generation and i haven't got a clue why people hang on to antiques or pay obscene amounts for it, antiques that are centuries old and are of some historical significance and museum worthy is still understandable but who would want a first generation iPhone, or as you rightly point out a first generation Roadster say a couple of decades from now.

Times have changed and the items that need to be collected have changed with that too.

harry | 22 February 2015

It's a very intriguing question and I've pondered this same thing. I've purchased 2 iCE cars in the last 18 months that have already at least doubled in value and I believe that the Roadster has significant potential as well. I don't see Tesla going away any time soon and they have really revolutionized the EV industry. As the base of Tesla grows, owners will invariably look back to the vehicle that started it all, which would be the Roadster.

I don't know if it's going to take 5 years or 20 years, but at some point, this vehicle will be very collectible. It also helps that there were only 1,464 cars produced for the US. In any event, the car is incredibly fun to drive and I will enjoy it regardless of the appreciation potential.

With regard to the 3.0 upgrade, I don't believe that it will negatively impact the collectibility value, as the car body is most important. All batteries and all tires will need to be replaced at some point, so it would be the norm. If the aesthetics of the car are altered by the manufacturer, Tesla, then the collectibility will remain intact. The values generally drop when alterations are made by 3rd parties.

thompsonclint | 23 February 2015

I could see the Roadster as a possible collector car much further down the line but personally, I would rather enjoy and drive one into the ground. The real collector versions will be the founders series for sure.

carlgo2 | 23 March 2015

You never know about appreciation, but they probably at the very least will hold their value pretty well. Makes for an affordable exotic really, useful for many things even if you don't plan on using it for long trips.