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Advice on custom work....

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by neroden, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    So my thinking is becoming clearer. It's looking like, if I don't get the Signature (I haven't decided for sure yet), I can save $3550 + $2000 (19" aeros instead of 21") + $1500 (plain white instead of pearl white) = $7050. I actually prefer non-perforated leather on the seats, so I win there.

    For the savings, I can almost certainly replace the polyester door and dash upholstery (if it is polyester) with custom leather at an auto upholstery shop; door and dash upholstery has got to be a lot simpler to do than seat upholstery.

    It'll probably go some ways towards paying for a beautiful, flashy, unique custom paint job too. And a car with actual custom interior and exterior, and a "story" ("eccentric owner who was allergic to polyester") really *does* sell for more in the resale market, in contrast to "signature" models, which don't. The delay in delivery will be sad (not to mention the extra time for the custom work), but I'll get a much flashier car, and I'll get the exact one I want.

    Regardless of which model I get, I may be trying to replace the floor carpeting as well (if it's polyester), which seems like a substantially more complicated job from the research I've done.

    However, I've never actually done any of this before. Does anyone have any experience with custom aftermarket upholstery work (including carpeting) or custom paint jobs (particularly on aluminum), who would care to share hints? I'm not sure how best to order the car if I plan to repaint it (are car companies willing to ship cars in primer? or specify no wax/sealant over white paint, so it can be used as an undercoat?).

    Consider this an open thread for anyone considering custom aftermarket work on their model S.
     
  2. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    A&E West Hollywood has done amazing work on some Tesla Roadsters. Not that West Hollywood is anywhere near Ithaca!

    Closer to home, these guys in Hicksville NY seem to know what they're doing on interiors. Never used them myself, but their pics lend credibility.
     
  3. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    I'll be asking around for local references (I'm sure there are good shops upstate), but I basically want to know *how* to ask around, if you see what I mean. How to check up on whether a particular shop can do what I want, finicky details to watch out for, stuff like that.
     
  4. augkuo

    augkuo Member

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    I would say go to a local car show or something and talk to the owners about good shops for customized work. The good ones will require an appointment because they are so backed up!
     
  5. Tommy

    Tommy Member

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    It's not the answer you would like to hear, however you did mention this is your first venture into customizing a car: DON'T DO IT, at least wait until the warranty has lapsed. The work (custom paint, new interior) is going to involve stripping the car completely as well as removal of the battery pack (baking the paint). Murphy's law is bound to happen and something not work and you will have Tesla saying it's from stripping the car and the body shop saying it's Tesla's defective part. Why put yourself in that position? Also, on other posts you mention your dissatisfaction with Sig pricing, the really good shops are going to charge a premium, are you willing to pay the premium price when another shop without the high reputation can do the job for less? Another thing to keep in mind is any shop you choose, this will be their first tear down of the car. That's going to take them more time and they will "pad" the cost to allow for unseen problems.
     
  6. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    They didn't announce it but I thought the guy in charge of the paint shop said they would offer custom paint at some point. I assume that won't be with launch though and I'm sure it'd cost over $5,000 as it does for Porsche and others.
     
  7. goyogi

    goyogi Member

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    That would be awesome and I bet the paint tech would be less bored. I REALLY wanted the grey/blue color they have on their square foldout brochure.
     
  8. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    Doesn't the battery warranty last forever? Hmmm. :) I can certainly wait on the repainting, but the interior work has a pragmatic function.

    For starters, to get a car I'm not allergic to. That is worth a perhaps-surprisingly large amount of money to me.

    It's a question of value for money. I routinely pay lots to get custom work of best quality. But I'm not comfortable paying a premium to get WORSE. That's the problem with the Sig pricing: fewer factory options for a higher price. If you don't want a red exterior and/or white leather interior, you're basically paying for the time value, and that's a *lot* to pay for the time value: fewer options *and* a $7K premium.

    Yeah, I know....

    I immediately thought of a problem with custom door upholstery, of course; on older cars it's really easy work, but new cars have *side airbags*.... :p That could put the difficulty out of the range of possibility.
     
  9. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    Which would still be cheaper than the Signature premium, so there you are :)

    I'm focused like a laser on the interior stuff right now.
     
  10. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    If you're going to customize the interior anyway you might be better off not getting the Signature then and use that money towards your custom interior. You've got a great Signature spot though and keeping it would be nice. You'd have your car in July probably.
     
  11. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    #11 neroden, Dec 30, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011
    I am really really really really hoping the Signature will come with an interior which is practically polyester-free, as it would save me an *awful* lot of trouble. I can always seal up the perforations in the leather.

    But it probably won't.

    EDIT: If it's close enough, I can probably just tape plastic sheeting (ugly, but functional) over the remainder, which will probably include things like the carpeting and the trunk interior. I really hope it is close enough as it will save me an *enormous* amount of work and warranty invalidation (and therefore be worth the Signature premium).
     
  12. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    #12 brianman, Dec 30, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011
    I would start discussions (email and phone) with Tesla on this immediately, if I were you. Any modern company should be very sensitive to your first sentence and, if they handle it well, it's a great story that they can capture as part of a "Tesla is different" marketing.

    Your second sentence is something you might want to get across to them as well. Something like...

    "I'm aware that my personal requirements are off the beaten path, and will likely be somewhat of a hassle to address. I'm willing to pay Tesla appropriately for their efforts in addressing these issues, rather than having to resort to a third party. Can you please pass these concerns up the chain and see if there's anything that can be done on this for me?"

    Edit: If it's easy to rattle them off quickly, I would also include (in the e-mail) a full list of all the concerns (polyester, problematic types of leather, etc.).

    Edit 2: When positioned / phrased properly, driving this concern with Tesla directly can only be a good thing. It might get you what you want, and it gives Tesla an opportunity (and challenge) to show themselves to be excellent.
     
  13. jcstp

    jcstp Active Member

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    I think indeed this might be the most intelligent thing to do!
    If necessary Tesla can work together with a company that is specialized in customization, and this way warranty stays, because it's under their supervision!
    Or Tesla can start a division for such cases, such as Mercedes, BMW and other big brands have!

    For custom colors, you can easely get your car wrapped in vinyl! It's cheaper then painting a whole car, and you can choose hundreds of colors! No deconstruction or baking is needed!
     
  14. jcstp

    jcstp Active Member

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    Model S Facts | Tesla Motors

     
  15. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Since our Roadster was custom ($6K) paint I talked to the Paint guy at the Model S Tesla factory. The guy made it sound like it's easy to change color in their two color gun. Try to find an existing paint on a car you like year, make, model, and get the color name then ask if Tesla will do that.

    The Roadster has a line in the manual about paint booths and battery warranty. Figure the S will be the same (but at least it's easy to drop and remove!)

    Also know that Al and Eds in LA made a lot of mistakes and broke parts. They were one of the first outsiders allowed to order Roadster parts. This has probably played out all over the world with new cars in tuning shops.

    Doing a new interior should not affect warranty.
     
  16. goyogi

    goyogi Member

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    Did you get your custom paint directly from Tesla or was that aftermarket? I'd love to get a custom color and I think $6k is reasonable price tag to get it painted all perfectly from the factory with a custom color.
     
  17. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Painted at the Lotus factory. :)

    The new factory is an unknown but asking for what you want may get you colored nice and purdy.
     
  18. VolkerP

    VolkerP EU Model S P-37

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    Neroden, my sources say that the carpet is Polyamid 6.6 Nylon Tuft with some special sauce underwear for sound insulation purposes.
     
  19. DrTaras

    DrTaras R254->R725->S1364-->X769

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    Indeed correct on the 1st and if you are doing a "complete" they will easily ship the car (they ship cars over $300K all the time including recently a Bugatti) :biggrin:
    Al&Eds Website on the Tesla Can be found here: http://al-eds.com/store/west-hollywood/category/tesla-motors/

    TMC's chronicles on their customizations can be found here:
    http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/2399-Customized-Roadsters/page4?p=35006&viewfull=1#post35006
    Al & Eds customized my 1st and my 2nd Roadster and to date have probably done more Tesla Roadsters than all the other after-market outfits combined!
    Dealing with an EV and warranty issues can be much more technically and legally tricky that it appears.

    I know factually where Tesla LA made errors and broke stuff yet conveniently blamed A&E who swallowed their pride so that certain service managers could keep theirs! :cursing:
    When your Tesla is with Al & Ed's West Hollywood, it will probably be the LEAST expensive car in their stable,yet they will handle it as if it is just as expensive as the Bentley, Bugatti or Ferrari! 'Nuf said.
     
  20. roblab

    roblab Active Member

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    OK, all you folks with awesome knowledge. If I were to want to repaint a Sig Series Model S, SF Bay area, to whom should I take it? How does one even find these places that can repaint as good as factory? They certainly don't seem to be on the web.
     

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