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Input on Founder's Model S Potential Sale

Cattledog

Active Member
Feb 9, 2012
2,177
2,893
San Antonio, TX
We are considering selling our Founder's Model S. It's been an awesome car and comes with great Tesla history. I tend to drive the Model 3 more often these days, so the Founder's S gets driven 1-2 times/week. I am curious what others recommend for the following.

The car drives fine but has the need for some reasonable cosmetic repair. Would you go forward with the following improvements:

1. The touch screen has significant 'bubbling' from the loss of the fluid in the screen. Like this but more noticeable - still works fine though.

https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/attachments/img_1731-jpeg.473159/

2. The paint on the hood and front fenders has several dozen chips from gravel on local freeways (common)

3. The trunk lid lifts about 1/2 the time as it should, other times it needs a manual assist.

4. The left turn signal works on the outside, 1/4 of the time with audio/visual as it should on inside.

5. The front spoiler lip has a 1" semi-circular depression from my wife striking a trailer hitch on the highway.

6. Rim rash on all tires to some degree.

The car is VIN F00014, bought from JB Straubel, #13 is a one of the two Google co-founders. It was used in many early tests from the likes of Car and Driver in the summer 2012.

Would you sell? Would you fix before selling? 58K miles, sig red. I think it'll be $10K plus to fix all. I'd feel like a responsible parent, but I imagine I wouldn't get back the value.

Thx.

Cattledog
 

PWlakewood

Active Member
Jan 9, 2019
1,717
879
US
It would be tough to part ways with such an early build. I personally would fix all the issues and keep it and drive it on occasion. Not sure fixing and selling makes the best financial sense. How much would you let it go for in it's current state?
 

MichaelP90DL

Active Member
Apr 19, 2019
1,561
1,570
Lancaster, CA
It would be tough to part ways with such an early build. I personally would fix all the issues and keep it and drive it on occasion. Not sure fixing and selling makes the best financial sense. How much would you let it go for in it's current state?
I think you're right. Fix it up and park it safely indoors.
 

Ostrichsak

Active Member
Sep 6, 2018
3,323
3,276
Colorado, USA
IMO this is the exact wrong time to sell a Model S such as yours. The used Model S options has been slowly coming down for months now and we're starting to see the values level off. I think we're about to start seeing them do something that not many used cars do other than rare examples; increase in value. I know that sounds crazy but when you factor in that we've never seen something like the Model S and the rapidly increasing interest in them coupled with the fact that a lot examples of half-million-mile-cars are going to become regular... people are going to want them even more. I have a 70D for sale now that has already had a LOT more interest than the Model S I sold less than a year ago. The word hasn't even officially gotten out yet and once that happens I think the supply will not match the demand.

Yours is in that previous category I mentioned where it will go up in value regardless of how much the cookie-cutter versions do because it's among the first. History has always been kind to these cars even from failed or disgraced manufacturers. Much like a fine wine though, only time will prove this out. Selling it now is taking that loss. Wait it out and within a few years it could be worth much, much, MUCH more than it is now. If you can afford to sit on it, do so. I have a feeling you'll be glad you did especially as this car has the possibility of being the first among the cars that shifted our entire view of the automotive industry as it's poised to do.

....of only Tesla could fix it's "customer service" support issues. ;)
 

kev1n

Active Member
Nov 17, 2016
1,307
917
SF Bay Area
tesla didnt do a good job in distinguishing between founder/signature and regular models. there is literally no difference (other than some chrome trims and badges) so i personally would never pay extra for one and i doubt any other sane person would especially when their other option are newer models with autopilot etc.
 

Ostrichsak

Active Member
Sep 6, 2018
3,323
3,276
Colorado, USA
tesla didnt do a good job in distinguishing between founder/signature and regular models. there is literally no difference (other than some chrome trims and badges) so i personally would never pay extra for one and i doubt any other sane person would especially when their other option are newer models with autopilot etc.

If you just plan to drive it around and rack the miles up then of course you wouldn't care. Kind of goes without saying.

To a collector though, someday that low VIN early production example will have value. That's the name of the game: early VINs and rare/unique optioned versions with bonus value assigned to early VINs that were also rare/unique optioned versions.
 
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kev1n

Active Member
Nov 17, 2016
1,307
917
SF Bay Area
If you just plan to drive it around and rack the miles up then of course you wouldn't care. Kind of goes without saying.

To a collector though, someday that low VIN early production example will have value. That's the name of the game: early VINs and rare/unique optioned versions with bonus value assigned to early VINs that were also rare/unique optioned versions.

i would agree with you if this thing had low miles and was kept in mint condition but that isnt the case here.
 
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kirkhilles

2014 Model S w/ AP1
May 3, 2019
62
25
Northwest Georgia
I apologize as I'm not a Tesla owner, but have been wanting one for a long, long time.

In terms of it increasing in value, unfortunately I would say no. If you had it stored with ultra-low miles in museum condition, then sure, maybe. But otherwise, values aren't going to climb up especially once Model 3 prices get to the point to where they afll.

My opinion based on what I've seen in the used market is that people are dying to get their hands on a Tesla at any price they can afford. At the same time, there is a huge jump from those cars that have AutoPilot and those that do not. There is a large group (and likely growing) that aren't interested in pre-AP1 Tesla, so you don't want to get priced too high.

BUT, I think that people would put up with a lot of aesthetic issues if everything works. If you were to list as is for $20k, you'd probably have multiple offers. $25k is where prices typically start. If you were to get everything fixed and list it in the $30ks, I think you'll be sitting on it for awhile.
 
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MichaelP90DL

Active Member
Apr 19, 2019
1,561
1,570
Lancaster, CA
In terms of it increasing in value, unfortunately I would say no. If you had it stored with ultra-low miles in museum condition, then sure, maybe. But otherwise, values aren't going to climb up especially once Model 3 prices get to the point to where they afll.
There are lots of survivor cars out there that are not museum quality that will bring a pretty penny, but of course it's likely impossible to predict what mainstream cars of today will appreciate in value. But if the owner of an early Tesla won't suffer financially for holding onto it, then why not hold onto it? Who knows what will happen down the line?
 

Sig72

Member
Apr 10, 2015
446
113
San Mateo, CA
I have model S Sig 393 in Sig Red- if you get everything fixed up, the market will likely value your car at $35-40k, lower if you leave it as is. Awesome that it was owned by JB, and its one of the ~40 Founder's cars, and it's sig red, but many will view it as a 2012 car with no AP, no AWD, older design seats, no parking sensors, a lower range, and slower supercharging speeds. A 70D or 75D has a lot of features our cars lack. I think the Sig/Founders cars are special and cool (and sig red is a beautiful color), but I don't think the color, VIN or JB's ownership will magically make a 2012 model S worth more than a 2016 or 2017 MS with superior specs.

P.S. I'm never selling my Signature S (but when it finally dies, a 2021 tri-motor plaid MS looks like a great replacement..... with a sig red paint job of course)
 

Sunshine State

Automotive Enthusiast
Jul 13, 2017
1,304
1,031
Florida
If the car is worth more to you than an old Model S then you should embrace that, fix it up and keep it until you are bored with it. Unfortunately until it is a dusty 50 year old barn find it will not have any additional value over another S except to a few rare people that already have their own signature cars but those owners are not actual buyers unless they are stocking up on them.
 

Qbenjamin

Frugal But Classy!
Jan 7, 2017
1,140
675
Bravos
Hmm, I'm struggling to see how a Tesla will ever appreciate in value. These are basically computers that have the capability to haul people around. As the technology becomes more advanced, I only see the older models depreciating even more. Not sure what percentage of the population I'm speaking for, but I just don't see a large segment of the market that would be interested in paying anything more that what every other Tesla in that year is going for used. My $0.02. :cool:
 
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Ostrichsak

Active Member
Sep 6, 2018
3,323
3,276
Colorado, USA
It's funny to read the people who pretend to know what they're talking about and yet don't understand how a vehicle can someday be worth more than it is today. It's not even incredibly visionary considering it's already happened countless times over the last hundred years. Many don't get it but this is why I've made a significant profit on most vehicles I've purchased over the last couple of decades. It's fairly easy, actually.

Get a car that has a draw to it that creates a "cult" of followers who are wildly devoted to the brand and the vision. This is especially easy with a Tesla since the vision isn't just about the vehicle itself but a systematic and obvious change to humanity overall. Throw in the performance numbers, aesthetics and overall livability and you have something that will fast become looked upon as THE car that changed how we perceive personal transportation. Early production number and especially unique & well-equipped examples will be sought after by collectors.

If Tesla cements itself as THE manufacturer that ushered humanity into a cleaner more of transportation in the years to come... you don't think that will have value down the road? Talk about myopic.

I don't get why anyone would pay hundreds of dollars for a white t-shirt that has the word "Supreme" on it but here we are.
 
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MichaelP90DL

Active Member
Apr 19, 2019
1,561
1,570
Lancaster, CA
If the car is worth more to you than an old Model S then you should embrace that, fix it up and keep it until you are bored with it. Unfortunately until it is a dusty 50 year old barn find it will not have any additional value over another S except to a few rare people that already have their own signature cars but those owners are not actual buyers unless they are stocking up on them.
I'd hang on to Tessie forever...but I don't have a barn.
 

Qbenjamin

Frugal But Classy!
Jan 7, 2017
1,140
675
Bravos
It's funny to read the people who pretend to know what they're talking about and yet don't understand how a vehicle can someday be worth more than it is today. It's not even incredibly visionary considering it's already happened countless times over the last hundred years. Many don't get it but this is why I've made a significant profit on most vehicles I've purchased over the last couple of decades. It's fairly easy, actually.

Get a car that has a draw to it that creates a "cult" of followers who are wildly devoted to the brand and the vision. This is especially easy with a Tesla since the vision isn't just about the vehicle itself but a systematic and obvious change to humanity overall. Throw in the performance numbers, aesthetics and overall livability and you have something that will fast become looked upon as THE car that changed how we perceive personal transportation. Early production number and especially unique & well-equipped examples will be sought after by collectors.

If Tesla cements itself as THE manufacturer that ushered humanity into a cleaner more of transportation in the years to come... you don't think that will have value down the road? Talk about myopic.

I don't get why anyone would pay hundreds of dollars for a white t-shirt that has the word "Supreme" on it but here we are.

Going to assume that your snarky comment was directed at my response. Tesla's are all about the technology that the vehicle offers. I'm not disagreeing with you that there will always be that one person that'll think the world of a low VIN, but the other 99.99% of people will probably pass.
 
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Ostrichsak

Active Member
Sep 6, 2018
3,323
3,276
Colorado, USA
Going to assume that your snarky comment was directed at my response. Tesla's are all about the technology that the vehicle offers. I'm not disagreeing with you that there will always be that one person that'll think the world of a low VIN, but the other 99.99% of people will probably pass.
I wasn't singling anyone out specifically but since you seemed to feel picked on...

You just described the collector car market perfectly. It's not based on what 99.99% of the potential buyers would do.

Keep in mind that most of that 99.99% you lean on doesn't know or care of the first thing about cars. They're point A to point B so expecting them to know the difference let alone pay for rare examples is silly. In fact, that's sort of the point of car collecting anyway is paying more for something that few other people own. Lots of people make LOTS of money on this simple concept and I don't know why some are so quick to assume that Tesla will have no collector appeal down the road. Given it's limited production, ravenous fans timeless design nature and being designed from the beginning to transform transportation in a very fundamental way I'd say the potential for conductibility on these cars is VERY high.

I'm not even sure how anyone can feel so confident in that stance that they're compelled to volunteer that information so flippantly and definitively to deny those pretty simple and basic facts to go into what makes something collectible down the road. That person's crystal ball is certainly better than mine I guess. One would almost have to completely ignore all history concerning collectible value of cars to determine that this car will have zero collector worth in the future. Doesn't seem like very stable data to use to me.
 

MichaelP90DL

Active Member
Apr 19, 2019
1,561
1,570
Lancaster, CA
I wasn't singling anyone out specifically but since you seemed to feel picked on...

You just described the collector car market perfectly. It's not based on what 99.99% of the potential buyers would do.

Keep in mind that most of that 99.99% you lean on doesn't know or care of the first thing about cars. They're point A to point B so expecting them to know the difference let alone pay for rare examples is silly. In fact, that's sort of the point of car collecting anyway is paying more for something that few other people own. Lots of people make LOTS of money on this simple concept and I don't know why some are so quick to assume that Tesla will have no collector appeal down the road. Given it's limited production, ravenous fans timeless design nature and being designed from the beginning to transform transportation in a very fundamental way I'd say the potential for conductibility on these cars is VERY high.

I'm not even sure how anyone can feel so confident in that stance that they're compelled to volunteer that information so flippantly and definitively to deny those pretty simple and basic facts to go into what makes something collectible down the road. That person's crystal ball is certainly better than mine I guess. One would almost have to completely ignore all history concerning collectible value of cars to determine that this car will have zero collector worth in the future. Doesn't seem like very stable data to use to me.
I can tell you for a fact that I wish I still had my 1965 Chevelle Malibu.
 

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