Interview With Owner Of Tesla Model S Serial # 001, “Founder Series” Model 3


He owns a Tesla Model 3 now too.

Angel investor Jason Calacanis recounts a dinner conversation he had with Tesla CEO Elon Musk prior to production of the first Model S.

“What happened was the company was going out of business and I was at dinner with him.”

This was when Tesla was nearing its end, with supposedly just a few weeks of payroll cash left on hand.

Calcanis continues:

“So we’re out at dinner just the two of us in LA, and I was like, well certainly there’s some good news. And he’s like, well, I blew up the second rocket. I said, what happens if you blow up the third rocket? He goes, SpaceX is done. I said, well, how are you doing personally? He was getting divorced from his first wife at that time and I said certainly there must be some good news.”

“Tell me something good that’s going on. And he took out his blackberry—that’s how old it was—and he said, well, don’t tell anybody, but here’s the clay model of the Model S. And he showed me the clay model of the sedan. And I said wow, that’s gorgeous, what do you think you can get it for? And he said, well don’t tell anybody, but I think I can make this for 50 grand. So I went home and I wrote two checks for $50,000 and I put them in a FedEx envelope and I said, ‘E: Looks like a great car. I’ll take two.”

Calcanis wasn’t expecting to ever receive a Model S, let alone two of them. He says he told his wife that the checks he sent to Elon were to support a friend:

“We’re never going to see this, this is going to pay for, like, a couple days of payroll. Tesla’s going out of business, but I have to support my friend.”

Somehow (long backstory that we needn’t get into here) though Tesla managed to pull through. Two years after cutting those checks, they were cashed. Calcanis then received a message:

“…congratulations, your serial number reservation is 00001 and 000073.” 

Elated, Calcanis reached out to Musk and told him he didn’t need the first Model S, but Musk responded by saying Calcanis deserved it as he was the first to place an order.

Calcanis’ Model S serial #1 is without a doubt worth a fortune now. He says he’s been offered $250,000 for it, but he’s not willing to sell it. Instead, Calcanis says he’s likely to donate to a museum (such as the Smithsonian) or gift it back to Elon Musk:

“If E wants the car he can have it. I might donate it to a museum at some point.”

We should note, this is for the first “serial number reservation 00001”, the very first Tesla off the line (uber-Founder’s Edition we suppose) went to Tesla board member – Steve Jurvetson, who got his spot in line as being the very first to put down a check at an early meeting discussing the Model S.

Calcanis also owns Tesla Roadster #16 (orange Roadster in image embedded above) and just recently took delivery of his “founder series” Tesla Model 3 (see attached Tweet).

Source: Quartz

Categories: Tesla

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50 Comments on "Interview With Owner Of Tesla Model S Serial # 001, “Founder Series” Model 3"

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Two notes:

– Jason is (or at least was) deep in TSLA shares. Nothing wrong with that, but worth keeping in mind (just as I’m short the company, added to my position in June 2017 as TSLA went to new highs).

– Jason also kept fantasizing about Apple buying Tesla for a high premium:

(Which hasn’t happened, but would help his shares.)

Again, nothing wrong with all that.

But context is important when someone praises the Model3 non-stop.

Again with the false equivalency.

Posts from serial anti-Tesla FUDsters who constantly and repeatedly lie are not equal in value to posts from Tesla supporters or even cheerleaders, who may carefully select their facts or sometimes even exaggerate, but unlike the FUDsters, they don’t have to lie to make their case. The truth serves them quite well.

And Tesla cheerleaders have not gotten so used to lying that they’ve forgotten the value of telling the truth… again unlike serial Tesla bashers.

Yep… except the praise isn’t coming from just ‘someone’ (even if they are in a better position than *you* to know what they are talking about). First reviews of the M3 from independent and well-respected sources (eg Motortrend’s are very good to exceptionally good.

So stick that in your short-selling pipe and smoke it!

This also tells us something about car prices:

“…here’s the clay model of the Model S. And he showed me the clay model of the sedan. And I said wow, that’s gorgeous, what do you think you can get it for? And he said, well don’t tell anybody, but I think I can make this for 50 grand. So I went home and I wrote two checks for $50,000 and I put them in a FedEx envelope and I said, ‘E: Looks like a great car. I’ll take two.””

So basically he got one Model S with a few options instead of 2.

Even the new Model3 will cost $50k for now – base model coming later (and I doubt Tesla ever wants to sell the $35k version. No margins there – have to repeat myself).

So it’s OK for you to try and FUD down the stock but it’s not OK for Jason to do it?


How much does a basic Model S cost even today (after economies of scale should be rolling)?

$50k was way off.

Cost to build or cost to buy?

“I think I can make this for 50 grand”

Except 400 people actually bought the Tesla Model S 40 with the base price of $50K after federal tax incentive. So yes, he absolutely did sell them for $50K, and only 400 people wanted that version. But the CUSTOMERS wanted to spend more, and the vast majority of them selected optional packages that increased the price. In your revisionist history, you claim that Tesla never sold a $50K car, because customers OVERWHELMINGLY and BY THEIR OWN CHOICE chose to add battery and other upgrades. Wrong. So no, even if he didn’t get one of the 400 S 40’s with base price of $50K (AR), he certainly did NOT have to spend double. The Model S 60 was only $10K more after tax rebate (not double the price as you lie). And comparing the CUSTOMER DEMAND for 400 S40’s, to 160,000 to 200,000 preorders (or more) for the M3 200 is absolutely silly. It shows a shallowness in understanding in Tesla that resembles looking at the covers of two different books, and then deciding you know the story inside because they have similar covers. Anything else you want to lie about in order to promote your short position in TSLA?

Well aware of this. I posted that link many times when discussing the base Model3.

The S 40 was $60k:

Since when do you include tax incentives for comparisons?

When Tesla first said the base Model S would be $50k, they also said after the $7500 federal tax credit. Tesla did offer the Model S 40 for $57400 until December 31 of 2012. On January 1st, 2013 Tesla raised the base price by $2500. the blog post about the price increase is still on the Tesla site:

tftf — you continue to post an incorrect link from Apr 1, 2013, that doesn’t actually reflect the prices that Tesla sold the Model S for from June 2012 until customers finalized their orders in Dec. 2012. (They still locked into those lower prices even if they took delivery months later).

So your numbers are a whole year off of actual deliveries. And Tesla INCREASED content when they raised their base prices making more features standard.

Guess what? Car makers increase their prices and change content (sometimes de-contenting) on a regular basis. For example BMW just tacked on hundreds to thousands of dollars onto their cars just a few months ago, even in the face of dropping sales numbers. Tesla was not immune to inflation. No, raising the price for their second year of sales DOES NOT mean they never sold it at the first year price.

I apply the Federal Tax credit when discussing what Elon Musk said about Model S prices, because that is what Elon Musk did all the time when HE talked about Model S prices.

So when you judge whether he delivered a $50K car when he said he thought he could deliver a $50K car, you have to use the terminology he was using at the time.

For the Model 3, it is the other way around. For the Model 3, Elon has always used pre-tax incentive numbers ever since they named it the Model 3 (instead of the Bluestar of Model E) If you read about Elon Musk talking about the Model E or the Bluestar, it will again be back to after-fed rebate dollars, when he was talking about a sub-30K Bluestar/Model E.

If you don’t understand these basic facts, you are forever doomed to badly misunderstand the numbers. Which may explain why you are a notorious Tesla shorter….

How much do you think your typical stinky ICEV would cost if the price of securing oil (not to mention paying for all the pollution, death and misery it causes) were factored into the price of one?

Nux with more of his revisionist FUD history.
Coming from the same guy that accuses me about lying about a photo of a production Model 3 produced in July with horrible fit and finish issues being a pre-production model (well, even the 28 July 3’s are basically pre-production), then posts and old photo of a random release candidate 3 and tried to say it is the same car. Lol

Nux is nothing but a TSLA kool-aid slurper that twists any perceived Tesla slight into some war crime. What a joke.

And the FnF issue I broached….just read this and ask yourself if the 3 will be immune to these problems.


Yeah, FUD, you troll.

Every post you make about Tesla contains lies. Every single one, without exception.

We don’t need keep chasing down your citations and “alternative facts” to prove that, over and over and over. We’ve already done that far more than necessary already.

You’ve spent a lot of time and effort to make your bed, troll; now lie in it.

Emphasis on “lie”.

Hardcore pot calling the kettle black.

Do you really truly believe even half the stuff you post?

One troll supporting another. Nice. 🙄

Dude, I am in a position to cast stones at trolls like you and “tftf”, because I have never lied in anything I have ever posted to InsideEVs.

Not even once.

Too bad about you.

P-P, Why do whiny trolls bother you? They live in a Bizarro world, where up is down, left is right and Detroit’s’ car dealers are all wonderful and Tesla is always about to fail on the horizon. (Note: the horizon always recedes as you approach it). You know why these liars self-destruct? Hatred tears them up and some actually start believing their own lie and losing money from bad trading. Example: I used to argue with the smarty pants bears on seekingalpha, now I rarely do, because most of the are now wiped out, gone. It may be justice… Meanwhile, two of my family members, who listened to me and put their life savings first into Apple in the 2000s and got a 10x gain, then into Tesla, and got a 10x gain, went from middle class to millionaires, no kidding, on just 2 long trades. (What bear has done that in Tesla? Some like Doc’s Trading, made a bundle on a dip but then lost it all in a year or two). Success is the greatest revenge. Remember that when you wave to them from your Model 3 to the bears living in trailer parks full of old gas… Read more »

I don’t have any particular interest in this article since I don’t know the dude being taken out to dinner, and they didn’t say much about the ‘3’ anyway.

But the one thing I did see is PUSHI constantly insulting everyone else with an opinion where there is no right and wrong.

That is quite different than trying to set the record straight with factual information – here not one of Pushi’s strongpoints.

WTF are you crowing about? Bolt is selling $7.5K over build cost, and they were only planning 30K cars. With ~500K reservations, and likely millions of cars AND smaller battery than Bolt, Tesla 3 will have higher “margin” than Bolt.

Margins matter little if the overall profit is much higher. This is why commodity product companies are able to thrive even with razor thin margins and huge volume. Tesla 3 will become commodity EV simply due to volume.

“Bolt is selling $7.5K over build cost”

Any facts to back that up?

UBS IB sponsored a teardown:

You may still find the full PDF floating around somewhere.

Very detailed (but as always with some assumptions, see numbers in the PDF).

He said I think I can MAKE this for $50K not SELL this for $50k. Big difference. Selling it for $70K means $20K profit.

And when the Model S was first offered the lowest cost base model was an S40 that started at just under $60k which would be $52,500 after the federal incentive. So not that far off either way.

Actually, the Model S 40 was $57,400 until December 31st, 2012.

Actually, if you finalized your Model S 40 order early enough, the price was slightly below $50K after federal tax incentive.

Under $44,000 with federal tax + the best state incentives available at the time. Buyers overwhelmingly chose to take those savings and apply them to getting more range and more features (like supercharging). That was entirely the choice of the buyers when they finalized their orders.

Too bad Elon didn’t treat the 400 Roadster deposit holders the same way (assuming what you said about the S40 pricing is true, which I am very dubious about), where he jacked UP the price nearly $7k after taking their deposits.

Hey! You managed to post something about Tesla which is actually true. Better rest now, after such a difficult struggle.

Not that what Tesla had to do back when it was a struggling inexperienced startup has much to do with what Tesla is doing now, confidently expanding production to capture a sizable part of the growing market for BEVs…. but hey, you did manage to post one statement which isn’t a lie.

Congratulations! Mark this day on your calendar. 🙄

Okay, tftf, dufus. You mix a sales price up with the cost to build, even while quoting exactly what Elon Musk said. “I think I can make this for 50 grand.”

MAKE is different than SELL. Just thought you might need a reminder since your glasses have fogged with all your anti-Tesla posts.

Someone didn’t read the article. Selling price of $50k was implied. Read Jason’s comment. He mailed the SELLING price. He is not as dumb as many posters here.
,,”but I think I can make this for 50 grand. So I went home and I wrote two checks for $50,000 and I put them in a FedEx envelope”

Yep, a 100k donation to support a friend. Not the sale price of any car.


“Someone didn’t read the article.”

Yeah, and you can see that “someone” if you look in the mirror.

They will sell it for 35K for sure. But they will rightly do everything possible to get more money for it, and they should.

With the Model S the demand has been such that there was no need to go down to 50K. With the three, they will need to go down to 35K as the portion of the market that can afford 45K or more becomes saturated. It is too small to support the production rate the Model 3 will be built at.

I can’t fault Tesla for not selling the S below the prices the market was willing to pay. Nor would any shareholder.

tftf this is a bad place for you to come and spout your FUD nonsense.

Model 3 is $35,000 + $9,000 = $44,000.

Not sure why you’re saying it costs $50K but if that is your math skills, you better shut up with your other FUD.

Except that you can’t order it at the moment.

Let me quote a very Tesla-friendly blog, otherwise you won’t believe me:

“At the moment, employees have to pay a minimum of $49,000 because only the ‘long range’ battery option for a $9,000 is in production as well as the glass roof, which is part of a $5,000 “premium package”.”

The Model3 is $50k for the next few months.

(Quote from Electrek, won’t add a link).

And that is exactly the way Tesla said it would be from the reveal last March. Why this is a surprise to anyone is beyond me.

“The Model3 is $50k for the next few months.”

So what? If you have to focus on short term things to bash, you are not in good shape. (And it is GOOD that it is higher priced to they maximize profit margins right away.)

I think they can profit on even base $35K cars. If we assume a $200/KWH battery (there are lots saying they are down to $140/KWH but I’ll be conservative) that is $200/KWH x 50KWH = $10K for the 220 mile battery.

That leaves $25K to build the rest of the car. There are plenty of cars for $25K that make a profit.

$25k for the rest of the car?

Meaning capital and everything else (overhead) is free at Tesla?

Yes, technically the base version will go on sale.

The question is how many $35k base cars they will (or want to) actually sell in 2018+. We will see.

The U.S. tax incentives for the $35k version will also be reduced and then soon gone given these delays.

“Meaning capital and everything else (overhead) is free at Tesla?”

No. Duh. Stop being a strawman, FFS.

There are plenty of ICE cars on the market that cost much less than $25K and that includes capital and everything else. Duh.

“Except that you can’t order it at the moment.”

The vast majority of Model 3 reservation holders can’t order ANYTHING at the moment. It is called a ramp-up.

Are you SERIOUSLY whining about Tesla being in mid-ramp up in Q3 2017, when you whiny trolls all said that ramp-up wouldn’t happen until 2019?

Do you seriously think we don’t remember you nutter claiming how absolutely sure you were about volume ramp up not starting until 2019? When presented with the evidence that you were wrong, you TSLA shorters said “we’ll see”.

Well, we certainly do now see how badly wrong you were. But instead of admitting you were wrong, and simply move the goal posts and begin whining about Tesla entering volume ramp-up a full YEAR ahead of what you shorters said. Whining about the speed of ramp-up towards selling the $35K car in Nov 2017, when you shorters were so wrong about it not happening until 2019 takes the cake.

We certainly all see the FUD. We see.

Yes, I expected the Model3 to launch later.

~2018 with a full ramp in 2019 – however, we haven’t seen the quality reportsyet. Rush a car release and you may have expensive QC problems or even recalls (Note: I’m not saying there will be, but the risk is much higher).

More generally:

– CEO Musk talked about “100-200k Model3 shipping in H2 2017” in a 2016 CC, completely wrong, Tesla will ship a fraction of that at best this year. Completel wrong.

– International orders (including even Canada) will only ship by “late 2018” (which in Tesla-speak likely means 2019), RHD orders only in 2019. The car is 18-30 months away for anyone not living in the U.S.

How about you just stop posting FUD?

Oh, wait… then you wouldn’t have anything to say.

How about you post something that actually proves what he posted was wrong? Instead of acting like some crazy old guy yelling for no apparent reason.

I’ve already spent far more time doing that than was necessary to prove nearly everything tftf posts is untrue, thanks. It’s really an amazing phenomenon; Tesla hating trolls actually prefer to lie even when the truth would serve them better!

Only a fellow troll like you would demand that we eat the entire barrel of apples to make sure every one is rotten, after the first few hundred have been shown to be.

And add the $1k delivery fee and presto! $50k
Math iz harrd. 🙂

Mr Jason Calcanis: You are a GEM of a MAN. All my sincere appreciation for supporting the greatest company.
Never, never, never sell that Model-S with #1. Keep driving as and when you need, you reduce the pollution with every mile.

It should easily last 1,000,000 (1 million) miles given then fact that Prius hybrid has gone past 620,000 miles.
After this, you can donate to an institution like Smithsonian.

Here, here.

Significant TSLA stock holder does an interview and showers Tesla with praise. I’m shocked. 🙂

Yep, he’s a visionary.

Going all in on Tesla while the Model S was in clay turned out to be an amazingly lucrative move.