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The often-forgotten original Tesla model is finally getting some love

Image used with permission by copyright holder

In 2006, while you were playing Mario Kart on your Nintendo DS, a mysterious car company led by a wealthy executive introduced an electric, two-seater convertible named Roadster. It’s the model that propelled Tesla to stardom, but the firm unceremoniously left it behind as it grew in the 2010s, and in 2019 it’s almost as unknown as if it had never existed. One of its top executives sent a letter to Roadster owners letting them know it’s finally about to get the attention it deserves.

“We realize that we need to improve service for Roadster. We are putting in place a dedicated channel to help you with all your Roadster needs. This means dedicated service advisors, service technicians, and repair centers,” wrote Jerome Guillen, Tesla’s president of automotive, in a letter to owners obtained by CNBC.

Roadster owners are welcoming the news with open arms, because keeping the model on the road has become increasingly difficult. Tesla no longer makes spare parts for it, and it doesn’t allow owners to schedule a service appointment using its dedicated smartphone application. And while it’s true that the original Roadster is based on a Lotus Elise chassis, Tesla made so many modifications that very few parts are interchangeable between the two models.

The day will come when Tesla needs to inaugurate a division dedicated to classic cars.

Tesla is a relatively young company, so it has never had to worry about its heritage. But, as the Model S approaches its 10th birthday, the firm will need to decide what to do about the growing number of older cars still on the road. The day will come when Tesla needs to inaugurate a division dedicated to classic cars. Most of its older rivals already have one.

Guillen told Roadster owners that, alternatively, they can trade in their convertible and use the money to buy a newer Tesla, like a Model 3, a Model X, or a Model X. Using the sum as a down payment on the next-generation Roadster tentatively due out in 2020 is another possibility. Tesla didn’t mention how much it’s willing to pay for a used Roadster, but a look at AutoTrader reveals a running, driving example is worth between $50,000 and $70,000 depending on mileage.

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Ronan Glon
Ronan Glon is an American automotive and tech journalist based in southern France. As a long-time contributor to Digital…
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