Signature Roadster VIN 99

As one of the exclusive early signature 100 Tesla Roadsters, you can bet there is usually an interesting backstory, and this one is no exception.

This is VIN 99 and the Roadster came to us bricked with an ESS battery pack problem, which was resolved with internal sheet repairs and modifications.

So, the story goes like this….Early Tesla founders, Martin Eberhard, and Marc Tarpenning wanted to open their first sales/service outlet for their Tesla Roadsters in downtown Los Angeles.

They approached the still current owner of the commercial facility at the 405 and Santa Monica Blvd. and asked to lease his facility.  A routine credit check raised red flags, and Tesla was denied a lease.

Elon, who was involved in Tesla by then, visited the leased space owner, and lobbied hard to convince him to let them lease the space. To provide a compelling case, he brought patents Tesla had accumulated by then.

The leased space owner, originally not sufficiently impressed with Tesla financials, was subsequently impressed with Elon’s tenacity, patents, and charisma. Elon prevailed, the commercial space owner relented, and let Tesla have the space, which is still occupied by Tesla today.

There was another condition however. Elon had to sell him a signature 100 Roadster. The lessor, requested VIN 100, but since it was already spoken for, Elon gave him VIN 99. An additional negotiating point was that the Roadster had to be painted a one-of custom color since the customer had British racing connections, and a vintage Bugatti which he want the Roadster to match with.

It was not until 4 years later that Tesla would decide to introduce a similar color Roadster in 2011 – lightning green, used on only 16 cars.