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Future Classic: Tesla Roadster



Tesla Roadster | Tesla photos
Tesla Roadster | Tesla photos

Exotic styling. Limited production numbers. Breakthrough technology. Outstanding dynamic dexterity. Fun to drive. Bonus points if the top goes down or can be removed.

Each of those is an attribute that applies for separating mere used cars from desirable classic cars. And each of those attributes applies to our suggested Future Classic for this week. That car is the Tesla Roadster.

Exotic styling: Although they may share only 6 percent of their components, the Tesla Roadster was pretty much based on the Lotus Elise.

Limited production: Tesla reportedly built fewer than 2,500 of the electric-powered two-seat sports cars.

Electricity powers the Tesla Roadster
Electricity powers the Tesla Roadster

Breakthrough technology: Did you read that previous sentence? “Electric-powered.” At first, Tesla used AC Propulsion’s electric power train, but then it developed its own state-of-the-art system.

Outstanding dynamic dexterity: Try zero to 60 in 3.7 seconds, and that’s only in a straight line. With mid-rear “engine” architecture and rear-wheel drive, the Tesla Roadster can turn nicely as well.

Fun to drive: Duh, plus nearly 245 miles of range on a charge (well, depending on just how heavy you are with your right foot).

Bonus points: Yes, the top can be removed.

Automobile magazine reported that the Tesla Roadster “exploded off the line, pulling like a small jet plane… like driving a Lamborghini with a big V12 revved over 6,000 rpm at all times, waiting to pounce (but) without the noise, vibration, or misdemeanor arrest for disturbing the peace.”

_jl78196The magazine’s week long test concluded the Tesla Roadster was the coolest car the writer ever had driven.

“Why? Despite the flat-out sprints, the drag racing, the donuts, the top-speed runs, and dicing through traffic like there’s a jet pack strapped to the trunk, Pacific Gas and Electric—which generated power for the Tesla—released into the atmosphere the same amount of carbon dioxide as would a gasoline-powered car getting 99 mpg. And the Roadster didn’t break. It didn’t smoke, lock up, freeze, or experience flux-capacitor failure.

“Over the past ten decades, no company has been able to reinvent the car — not General Motors with the EV1, not Toyota with the Prius. And now, a bunch of dudes from Silicon Valley have created an electric car that really works — as both an environmental fix and a speed fix.”

A Future Classic, indeed.


Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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