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Roadster Value: Collectibility, Originality, Rebuilt Roadsters and potential for Continuation Cars?

The recent loss of a large number of Roadsters has caused many of us to reflect on the value of our Roadsters. I suspect we might all have different answers to some fundamental questions:
  • Will the average Roadster continue to appreciate in value?
  • At what point should a damaged roadster be considered totaled?
  • What is a wrecked Roadster worth: the sum of the value of its salvageable parts? Market value minus cost to repair? Something more?
  • What part of the sales price of Roadsters today is attributable to utility, and what part to speculative investment?
  • How should Roadster owners insure their cars - and for what amount? Who is qualified to appraise Roadsters, and what criteria should be used?
The answers to these questions have some bearing on how owners of recently lost Roadsters might proceed with their insurance negotiations - for example, settling with their insurer for less than the agreed value would avoid totaling the car and branding the title with a Salvage designation, potentially increasing the value of the car, were it to be rebuilt.

These are by no means unprecedented questions in the automotive world, though the Roadster's unusual status as a "collector" electric car adds some complexity - as do the small number of qualified BEV and Roadster technicians, scarcity of parts, and volatility of recent valuations / sale prices. I would expect the cost of both labor and parts to increase significantly coming out of this event - and It’s likely recent events will have a lasting effect on future sales prices.

Utility

Obviously a significant portion of a Roadster's value comes from its utility: there is still no production high-performance electric convertible at a remotely comparable price point.

Other evidence for this would be that 1.) 2.0/2.5/3.0 R80 cars generally continue to command a premium over 1.5s (which are fewer in number, and arguably more historic/collectible), and 2.) bricked roadsters are selling for market value less the cost of a replacement battery, where previously they sold for far less. All this, and the emphasis on CAC/usable range in sales listings, points to Roadsters’ value deriving in large part from their ability to be driven.

Collectibility

Clearly some part of their value also derives from collectibility; that is, from perceived exclusivity/scarcity/demand. A finite number of Roadsters were initially built. It’s widely assumed that the number of viable Roadsters will decrease over time, and many owners expect Roadsters to be increasingly recognized as historically significant: some quietly garage their low-mileage cars out of sight, with the effect of reducing the apparent supply.

The number of functioning, bricked, and wrecked roadsters is not known, leaving uncertainty as to future scarcity. Certainly there won’t ever be more than ~2550 “original Roadsters”, even if all wrecked roadsters are rebuilt; but the availability of alternative high-performance electric convertibles - primarily Roadster 2.0 - and/or Roadster replicas or continuation cars built using unallocated VINS may cut into demand.

Originality

Some appraisal considerations for collectible ICE cars are mileage, originality, significance/provenance - how will these translate to BEVs? For example:
  • Is there value in the originality of a Roadster? Is a Roadster with its original battery worth more than one with a repaired or replaced battery, or less? What portion of a Roadster's value is lost when it is damaged and repaired - or, for that matter, upgraded or modified?
  • How much should added mileage and/or reduced range depreciate a Roadster? To what degree is this mitigated by battery replacement?
  • How will the above change as batteries get cheaper and additional battery replacement options come onto the market?
  • As Roadsters age, what components, such as capacitors, should be considered "wear and tear" items, and proactively replaced? What is the effect of that maintenance on a car's value?
These are all questions the market will eventually answer, but the seismic shock of an event like the recent fire at Gruber leaves things in a decidedly unsettled state.

The Ship Of Theseus, and the Potential for Continuation Cars

Something Carl Medlock said on Facebook recently got me thinking. There have been *many* successful projects to rebuild and revive totaled/salvaged/bricked Roadsters (assuming parts can be procured). Along with third-party Roadster repair, this has even grown into a bit of a cottage industry. When Roadsters were worth 35k, Roadster projects were a labor of love; now that Roadsters are selling for 3-4x that amount, we've seen some interesting consequences, which in turn raise some interesting questions:

If the value of 2008-2012 Roadsters continues to climb, at some point it would make logical and financial sense for someone to do ground-up builds of destroyed or unused VINs - or even continuation models, as we've seen with certain other collector cars: Shelby with Cobras; Aston with DB4s and DB5s; Jaguar with their lightweight E-Type. The unbuilt VP15 and NA485-NA499 come to mind as candidates for the continuation treatment.

This might even complement existing Roadsters, through better economies of scale in the production of replacement parts.

Perhaps the most pertinent parallel is the 1957 Jaguar XKSS: Jaguar had completed 16 of a planned 25 road-going versions of the Le Mans-winning car when a fire at the factory destroyed the remaining nine chassis, along with the factory itself. In 2016, Jaguar built nine new cars to the original specifications, all of which sold out immediately.

I wouldn't expect Tesla to do this themselves - but a third party certainly might.

Anyhow, thoughts on the above?
 
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spiderguy

Member
Oct 20, 2014
96
110
Bay Area
Hey Carrotted,

Lots of cogent points and thought provoking questions. It's clear that you've spent a good deal of time reading and researching. I've pondered many of these things as well. The Roadster is an exceptionally unique car and has tremedous potential for unbridled appreciation. Ironically, I actually purchased my first Roadster for practicality purposes; I needed a vehicle that was sporty and that allowed me to travel through the car pool lane by myself. The Roadster was virtually the only car at that time that fit the bill.

The Roadster is really the first mainstream vehicle that was freeway friendly, relatively practical and cool to drive. It really launched the electric vehicle generation and changed people's perception of what EVs could be. It has all the hallmarks of success as a collectible vehicle such as

1) Historical value as the vehicle that pioneered new technology (the EV revolution)
2) Limited production with only 1,464 made for the US (now significantly reduced)
3) Desirability, based on its aesthetics, in spite of being electric
4) Notoriety as the original vehicle of the first trillion dollar car company

It is unequivocal that the Roadster will appreciate in the upcoming years; it's simply a matter of how much. I'm inclined to believe that we have not even begun to see the sharp rise in values that will materialize as Tesla becomes even more mainstream and demand increases. Buyers will always harken back to the car that started it all and that is the Tesla Roadster.
 

Sig72

Member
Apr 10, 2015
488
150
San Mateo, CA
The Roadster was a first in a number of ways. Not just the first EV of the modern era, but also the first performance-focused EV, the first BEV with practical range, obviously Tesla’s first product, and also the first automobile to leave Earth

It remains the only dedicated production EV sports car (I’m not counting Rimac’s since there’s only a couple dozen of them, same for the electric versions of the Mercedes SLS & Audi R8). It also remains the only compelling convertible EV (I am aware Smart made an EV…….) It remains one of the lightest EVs ever made

The Roadster will likely be the only “analog” EV ever mass produced

The idea of a continuation model of the Roadster similar to what Jag, Aston Martin, Porsche, etc…. have done is very attractive, but I highly doubt it will happen while Musk is in charge. Tesla has become a mass manufacturer and still continues to grow, so a special projects team for hand built special models won’t happen any time soon.

I’ve seen some awesome electrified projects for some older, analog cars. Electrifying an E-Type, Shelby Cobra, or Porsche 356 may genuinely make these vehicles better and keep them relevant in today’s world of tightening global emissions regulations. The closest thing I think we will see would be an electrified kit for a Lotus Elise/Exige.

Does anyone know if someone has done a home-brew Elise?
 
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Reactions: eHorses

eHorses

Member
Jun 23, 2019
146
118
St, Pete, FL
The Roadster was a first in a number of ways. Not just the first EV of the modern era, but also the first performance-focused EV, the first BEV with practical range, obviously Tesla’s first product, and also the first automobile to leave Earth

It remains the only dedicated production EV sports car (I’m not counting Rimac’s since there’s only a couple dozen of them, same for the electric versions of the Mercedes SLS & Audi R8). It also remains the only compelling convertible EV (I am aware Smart made an EV…….) It remains one of the lightest EVs ever made

The Roadster will likely be the only “analog” EV ever mass produced

The idea of a continuation model of the Roadster similar to what Jag, Aston Martin, Porsche, etc…. have done is very attractive, but I highly doubt it will happen while Musk is in charge. Tesla has become a mass manufacturer and still continues to grow, so a special projects team for hand built special models won’t happen any time soon.

I’ve seen some awesome electrified projects for some older, analog cars. Electrifying an E-Type, Shelby Cobra, or Porsche 356 may genuinely make these vehicles better and keep them relevant in today’s world of tightening global emissions regulations. The closest thing I think we will see would be an electrified kit for a Lotus Elise/Exige.

Does anyone know if someone has done a home-brew Elise?
Lotus is doing better than releasing an electrified kit….here‘s Lotus announcement for a “2.0 version of the original Tesla roadster“ With the Elise.

 

Gremlin

Member
Jun 3, 2014
328
112
Washington, DC
The recent loss of a large number of Roadsters has caused many of us to reflect on the value of our Roadsters. I suspect we might all have different answers to some fundamental questions:
  • Will the average Roadster continue to appreciate in value?
  • At what point should a damaged roadster be considered totaled?
  • What is a wrecked Roadster worth: the sum of the value of its salvageable parts? Market value minus cost to repair? Something more?
  • What part of the sales price of Roadsters today is attributable to utility, and what part to speculative investment?
  • How should Roadster owners insure their cars - and for what amount? Who is qualified to appraise Roadsters, and what criteria should be used?
The answers to these questions have some bearing on how owners of recently lost Roadsters might proceed with their insurance negotiations - for example, settling with their insurer for less than the agreed value would avoid totaling the car and branding the title with a Salvage designation, potentially increasing the value of the car, were it to be rebuilt.

These are by no means unprecedented questions in the automotive world, though the Roadster's unusual status as a "collector" electric car adds some complexity - as do the small number of qualified BEV and Roadster technicians, scarcity of parts, and volatility of recent valuations / sale prices. I would expect the cost of both labor and parts to increase significantly coming out of this event - and It’s likely recent events will have a lasting effect on future sales prices.

Utility

Obviously a significant portion of a Roadster's value comes from its utility: there is still no production high-performance electric convertible at a remotely comparable price point.

Other evidence for this would be that 1.) 2.0/2.5/3.0 R80 cars generally continue to command a premium over 1.5s (which are fewer in number, and arguably more historic/collectible), and 2.) bricked roadsters are selling for market value less the cost of a replacement battery, where previously they sold for far less. All this, and the emphasis on CAC/usable range in sales listings, points to Roadsters’ value deriving in large part from their ability to be driven.

Collectibility

Clearly some part of their value also derives from collectibility; that is, from perceived exclusivity/scarcity/demand. A finite number of Roadsters were initially built. It’s widely assumed that the number of viable Roadsters will decrease over time, and many owners expect Roadsters to be increasingly recognized as historically significant: some quietly garage their low-mileage cars out of sight, with the effect of reducing the apparent supply.

The number of functioning, bricked, and wrecked roadsters is not known, leaving uncertainty as to future scarcity. Certainly there won’t ever be more than ~2550 “original Roadsters”, even if all wrecked roadsters are rebuilt; but the availability of alternative high-performance electric convertibles - primarily Roadster 2.0 - and/or Roadster replicas or continuation cars built using unallocated VINS may cut into demand.

Originality

Some appraisal considerations for collectible ICE cars are mileage, originality, significance/provenance - how will these translate to BEVs? For example:
  • Is there value in the originality of a Roadster? Is a Roadster with its original battery worth more than one with a repaired or replaced battery, or less? What portion of a Roadster's value is lost when it is damaged and repaired - or, for that matter, upgraded or modified?
  • How much should added mileage and/or reduced range depreciate a Roadster? To what degree is this mitigated by battery replacement?
  • How will the above change as batteries get cheaper and additional battery replacement options come onto the market?
  • As Roadsters age, what components, such as capacitors, should be considered "wear and tear" items, and proactively replaced? What is the effect of that maintenance on a car's value?
These are all questions the market will eventually answer, but the seismic shock of an event like the recent fire at Gruber leaves things in a decidedly unsettled state.

The Ship Of Theseus, and the Potential for Continuation Cars

Something Carl Medlock said on Facebook recently got me thinking. There have been *many* successful projects to rebuild and revive totaled/salvaged/bricked Roadsters (assuming parts can be procured). Along with third-party Roadster repair, this has even grown into a bit of a cottage industry. When Roadsters were worth 35k, Roadster projects were a labor of love; now that Roadsters are selling for 3-4x that amount, we've seen some interesting consequences, which in turn raise some interesting questions:

If the value of 2008-2012 Roadsters continues to climb, at some point it would make logical and financial sense for someone to do ground-up builds of destroyed or unused VINs - or even continuation models, as we've seen with certain other collector cars: Shelby with Cobras; Aston with DB4s and DB5s; Jaguar with their lightweight E-Type. The unbuilt VP15 and NA485-NA499 come to mind as candidates for the continuation treatment.

This might even complement existing Roadsters, through better economies of scale in the production of replacement parts.

Perhaps the most pertinent parallel is the 1957 Jaguar XKSS: Jaguar had completed 16 of a planned 25 road-going versions of the Le Mans-winning car when a fire at the factory destroyed the remaining nine chassis, along with the factory itself. In 2016, Jaguar built nine new cars to the original specifications, all of which sold out immediately.

I wouldn't expect Tesla to do this themselves - but a third party certainly might.

Anyhow, thoughts on the above?
I would think USAA should take Carl Medlock's appraisal. That is my intent come March 2022, when I ship mine to Carl.
 

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