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vfx comes clean

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by vfx, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Short version: “VFX is buying a Roadster.”

    The Long vanity version is a pretty self-absorbed Post so just skip it if you don’t care about my story.




    The more astute (and perhaps even those less so) have figured out that I have a Tesla on order. Yes, long ago I somewhat denied it here and recently avoided the direct question when my cross posting in the owners forum (with different name) was all too obvious.

    I have never been hiding because of a desire for anonymity, as I will be active in the green community touting the benefits of driving electric. The reasons for my deception-by-omission are that I was never sure we could get the money. I did not want to have to document my trials and tribulations and ultimately not get the car. To date it has been a wilder financial roller coaster than I even imagined so I have absolutely no regrets for my silence. (More on the ride below.)

    Back in 2004 I was investigating the building of a Lancia Stratos Kit car as an electric vehicle. To this day I argue that the car is perfect for Electrification given its tiny size and huge mid-mount engine compartment. I also really love the design since I grew up in a Fiat/Lancia family. I had run the numbers for the kit, motor, Valance batteries, build, etc. and it came to about $70K. About the time I was to start buying the components for a 5-year build, a friend in PIA told me about this Lotus EV being worked on for sale in the Bay area. At the time a search for Tesla would only bring up the Nikola and a search for Lotus EV would bring up that one-off Zytek
    they made in the nineties.
    The Tesla site itself was dark except the image of a covered car. I even sent an Email to Martin who temptingly wrote back a short cryptic answer. When the Barker hanger party came along I used that “connection” to wrangle my name at the door. Needless to say I was blown away by my ride and posted the video online. Having a professionally built car with real electronics and engineering and safety for another 20K (assuming no overages on my own build) seemed like a no brainer. Even if the design was not my beloved Stratos. My biggest reservation was one of “Never buy One-point-Oh of anything”. Given it applies to the company and the car, I still fear that.


    The question was and has always been where to get the money for a car that was delivering in less than a year. (Little did we know…) My wife had the family ranch burn down in the San Diego fires and she got enough for her bit to get us a Patient buyer position.
    Since I am a hoarder of junk in the tenth magnitude I figured I could start selling crap. If I sold my Infiniti FX (30K) and my work gear, and some furniture I was storing since my mom passed, I would be pretty close. So when it came to the first price increase we decided to pull the trigger (with 50 others) the week before the 92 to 98K jump. If we could not do it we would get a full refund (hopefully) or get a loan to buy and sell the car at a break- even price. as 2nd worst-case.


    I still need a big car for much of my work and have a junky farm Pickup that I planned to fix up for use on days I needed to work gear heavy. Though over the extra year wait I saw the mileage on my brand new SUV go up, the warranty lapse, and the value drop. Since the truck does not get much use and did not degrade, the value between them became so close that it seemed pointless to sell the nice enclosed hauling car and keep the junky open truck that I would have to spend thousands fixing up for use as a work vehicle. The problem is now I was very short on the making the deal.

    I had my own saving of course and in Nov 08 I had a high when I sold a huge chunk of work gear to a friend for 30K and saw that as an over the top point for getting our Tesla. I almost Posted here that day. But then work dried up for awhile and I had to tap into savings to pay the bills. I still have a lot more to sell but Ebay and auction houses are reporting huge drops in buyers/prices. I usually live within my means and have always bought my cars for cash so looking into a loan was new for me and in talking with Tesla I found out that I’m the first to buy a Tesla with a traditional car loan. My credit union gave me a good rate on a partial and Tesla has been great in the process since they know they need to get the loan mechanics in place for the future.

    I have fully paid for the car now in advance so I know it’s coming and it is slated for delivery end of May /early June.

    The car. #500 (that’s pretty cool as a homologation number)

    As you may imagine the price increase hurt our chances of getting the car and we too considered pulling the plug with about 40 others but my wife has been really supportive. She knows I was a Tesla (the man) fan long before the car came along and had built a Tesla coil in high school electronics class. She had also supported the Stratos garage build and when this car came along she had never seen me so fixated on any one thing in our 18 years.

    The eight thousand dollar price increase and my paint choice (see below) meant no rally seats for me and will be the stock standard leather. Someday I would like to do something fancy like Alcantara but that and other improvements are five years of payments away.
    The wheels will also be standard but I don’t think the new ones are that bad. I have never had strong feeling about auto rims except that I like them dark so I may paint them someday.

    The HPC is out. The install was also looking like a +5K job at my place so it was in question anyway.

    Radio is stock (yes it comes with a basic radio) but I really need a NAV for work so I will be getting a windshield Garmin like device since the SUV’s is built in.

    Accessories: No hard top…basically we purchased things that only the factory can do like the windshield tint. I asked, “Do they actually have two piles of windscreens at the factory and choose from each pile based on the $400 extra in the order? (Yes) The only other up charge besides the destination charge doubling, is the paint armor. All the owners swear by it and getting it done aftermarket was no cheaper.

    cont.
     
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  2. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    #2 vfx, Mar 25, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2009
    Color.

    As you know, only Fusion Red and Racing Green are stock. No way. I like the Radiant / Canyon Red. It is sweet. It’s also Tesla’s most popular color so at events it will look like most others. I’m pretty particular about my colors in everything and I would like to be more unique. On going “neutral” TEG’s Thunder Gray combo is my first choice of the Tesla colors but honestly none of the paints thrilled me especially with an up-charge. I’m also a fan of Lotus’ eggplant-aborigine but once you go “custom” then the whole world of car colors is available so why stick to the Lotus neighborhood?



    I always liked the Roadster buck. I saw it at the debut and took more pictures of it than any of the others cars there. So I wanted flat black and it is a stock color found on many cars even parts of some Lotus’. More precisely though I wanted Satin Black. Others had asked Tesla about it but I was serious. I did a ton of research and gave it all to the painters at Lotus but they said no way. They could not guarantee matching surface, consistency, color, anything. I was in a funk and considered just getting basic black and having it painted here, bummed that it would not be done as a coveted “factory paint.” Then I saw the flat Rolls at SCS and saw how bad it holds up. Skin oil, dirt -white and dark show up quite easily. I’m not that into learning how to clean and not-polish my car so after that day, I let it go. Interestingly, the Roadster Sport red is a flat paint that Von Holtz wants because flat is in demand. Apparently there will be “as-is” papers to sign if you pick that color.

    So now I have moved on. The Lotus painters only paint with Dupont product. Fortunately Dupont has a matching paint chip number for any manufacture’s factory paint color. At this point I have it down to two colors from another maker. I did Photoshop mockups of both versions and went to the local automotive paint shop for some touch paint to do up a couple of my Hot Wheels. I like the lighter one a bit better but %100 percent of people looking at my PS job or my HWs have chosen the darker version.

    Tesla has now sent me samples of both. Since they are different shades of the same color. it’s still hard to decide. My wife does have say and I’m don’t have to have either one so we picked the darker version. We will return the signed sample to Tesla at the Model S debut tomorrow night. Tesla’s color guy told me that there have been about 10 custom paint jobs so far and one Signature green was repainted by its owner. (He described it as a black that almost looked eggplant but you could see the red flakes when you got close.) If any of you TMC regulars at Menlo Park see a custom color in June snap a picture. It might be mine but I do know of another custom paint job is coming in then.

    More of the wild roller “coster” ride.

    The fund for $5K discount that Martin received ran out last September and the ZEV site says that, “Limed funding may be available soon”. A call to them tells me they have been “stealing “ money from other programs to keep the funds going but that program stops taking applications April 30th with a total sunset on June 30th. I will just miss both of those dates too. Another CA rebate program is in the works and it may go into effect next Jan but it’s not looking like it will grandfather the buyers of Evs during the last 1/2 of 09.

    The Bailout bill locked in the $7,500 Fed tax rebate (though it was not until the stimulus Bill that the AMT tax limitation was removed). The Stimulus also has a tax rebate for new car purchases but it has a lot of restrictions on it. Most Tesla buyers do not qualify. Now the state of California has a new budget that has the tax rates going up April 1st and DMV rates going up May 19th Ouch. The Stimulus also has a tax rebate for new car purchases. The truck may qualify for Cash for Clunkers but I think I can clean it up for more and Tesla would have to be signed up for the program. Timing is everything.

    eric

    (ericvfx)
     
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  3. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Wow, VFX... More shocking than Tony Belding backing out.
    I had no idea. Congrats (I think).

    Well, now it makes more sense about all the time and effort you have put in here over the years. In my case, no such luck or justification.

    By the way, my wife said she would support the idea of me buying a Tesla if we had the money, but we haven't been in a position to think of doing it, so I haven't had to struggle with a decision.

    I hope your custom color works out to your satisfaction.

    I had a motorcycle once that had custom paint (I bought it used) and the previous owner referred to it as "blackberry". It had like 5 coats of red metal flake with one coat of black lacquer on top. It looked black most of the time but when the sun hit it just right it would throw off red highlights. It was rather nice. I sold it when I had kids.
     
  4. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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    Kewl :biggrin:

    Now that you are 'out', we expect comprehensive updates :smile:
     
  5. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    We should have known :wink:
     
  6. Chris H.

    Chris H. Member

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    Congratulations Eric (nice to know your name too!). :biggrin:

    I did wonder why you spent so much time and energy here. It seemed like every time I dropped by, you were here. I never did make that final connection though.

    It must have been tough keeping that secret for so long...

    Anyway, I'm really happy for you. It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy!
     
  7. SByer

    SByer '08 #383

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    Congratulations on being able to join the party! As one of the earliest patient buyers, I totally agree with the 1.0 willies. It's precisely why I ended up being a patient buyer in the first place! I figured to try and slot in after a few of the early production nigglies had been ironed out.

    I've gone from counting years to months to weeks to, soon, days (in production! yowza!). I totally get the really, really wanting something but not wanting to get disappointed if things didn't work out.
     
  8. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, who in their right mind would have bought 1.0 of Photoshop?
    :rolleyes:
     
  9. Palpatine

    Palpatine Banned

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    #9 Palpatine, Mar 26, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2009
    I did not realize that the Roadster Sport flat red, from the renderings, is actually available as a color. Now I need to go bother Ted at Tesla and find out the details.
     
  10. Palpatine

    Palpatine Banned

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    It took Ted about two minutes to respond to that email.
    The flat red Sport color in the renderings is NOT available. I guess Von Holtz lost that debate.
     
  11. DrTaras

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

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    Did you ever get rid of the truck? :confused:
     
  12. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Ian's kids must be at camp or sumpin" Trolling old threads. Did you want to borrow the truck?
     
  13. DrTaras

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

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    And yet, once again, he doesn't come clean! :tongue:
     
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  14. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Zero FX Stealthfighter

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    Just wanted to see the first introduction post... very cool man.
     
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  15. DrTaras

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

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    VFX is an outspoken pioneer who's passion for Tesla & PIA (Plug In America) is near-unmatched. I'll pass along your kudos to him. ;)
     
  16. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    I wondered what ever happened to him, haven't seen him on the forums in a long time.
     
  17. DrTaras

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

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    Hmmm. To be politically correct, I think his straight talk got him "requested" not to post a few years back now.
     
  18. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    Interesting, I guess I missed the drama. I never saw him act in anyway that I would consider out of line, but I'm not a particularly sensitive type.
     
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  19. TFHutch

    TFHutch Electron Pilot

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    Just ordered Model 3. My second post here.
     

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