Now We’ve Really Found The World’s Oldest Tesla Model 3 Owner

Red Tesla Model 3 front

MAY 27 2018 BY EVANNEX 17


Guest Blog Post: Joyce Mordenti*

We loved reading the inspirational story about Wesley, age 83, driving his silver metallic Model 3 from California to Florida.  My dad Walt Mordenti, age 96, lives in San Francisco. He picked up his red Model 3 (VIN 001388) at the Tesla Factory on December 23, 2017, which possibly makes him the oldest Model 3 owner.

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Posted by Matt Pressman. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs.

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Walt was born in 1921 and began working on cars in 1935 when he needed to help support his family. Since that time, Walt has driven nearly every make and model of American-made cars, and he tells everyone that his Model 3 is by far his favorite car.

Above: Walt picking up his Model 3 at the Tesla Factory (Photo courtesy of Joyce Mordenti)

Walt is a skilled car mechanic, renowned for his knowledge of Hudson automobiles. Some folks refer to him as Doc Hudson, and he was a racing legend in his own right. Walt lived in Connecticut and raced on the East Coast from the 1940s to the 1980s. He is probably best know as an owner/builder/mechanic, who also drove the tow truck and served as the pit crew, usually by himself.

In 1948, he bought a red Kurtis Kraft midget racer with a Ford V8-60 engine.  On February 27, 1957, Walt’s #78 Kurtis Kraft midget racer set the fastest time in the Flying Mile on the sands of Daytona Beach with a speed of 118.421 mph, beating the Offenhausers!

Above: Walt accepting a first-place trophy in 1957 with chauffeur Ronnie Evans at Thompson Speedway, CT; Walt on left, Ronnie on right (Photo courtesy of Ronnie’s son John Evans)

In the 1940s and 50s, he also wrenched on Hudson stock cars with other Waterbury friends: the Mordenti-Mordino-Mambrino trio. I remember the #12 Hudson stock car, affectionately known as The Tank!

Later, when Walt was in his 50s, he added “driver” to his resume at the 1/2-mile high-banked dirt track at Lebanon Valley Speedway, NY in his #36 open-wheel, big-block, AMC-powered, super modified stock car (he used Gremlin and Rambler American bodies, because the body had to match the motor). With great joy, he accepted trophies for rookie of the year and most improved driver!

Above: Walt sharing a moment with Margaret during one of their cross-country Hudson adventures.  Note the vanity plate on his Hudson, “OUR 53 HH.”  The gentleman from New York who bought Walt’s Hudson also put a vanity plate on the car—“WALTS 53”—in honor of the famous Hudson mechanic Walt Mordenti (Photo courtesy of Joyce Mordenti)

Between 1992 and 2016, Walt and my mom Margaret made 19 trips across the USA in a 1953 Hudson Hornet that he restored. Walt told friends that he could not drive the Hudson after my mom, his co-pilot of 71 years, passed away in March 2017 at age 94.

He sold his Hudson in November 2017 to make room in the garage for his Model 3.

Top: Walt driving in San Francisco; Bottom: Walt proudly displaying his Tesla vanity plate (Photos courtesy of Joyce Mordenti)


*Editor’s Note: After Elon Musk tweeted our story (that ran in Teslarati) of 83-year old Wesley traveling cross-country in his Model 3, Joyce contacted us to relay the remarkable story of her 96-year old father, Walt Mordenti, who recently took delivery of his Model 3.

*InsideEV’s Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers, free of charge. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX. Check out the site here.

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17 Comments on "Now We’ve Really Found The World’s Oldest Tesla Model 3 Owner"

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Nice gentleman. We should appreciate his environment consciousness. Keep enjoying your Model-3.

Nice story and nice guy, but even if its not a popular opinion, people above 80years of age should not be allowed to drive anymore. Senses, reaction, orientation, reflexes aren`t that good, that you do not endanger yourself and others. And no… Senses get worse for everybody, not just some old people, you, me, everybody. My grandpa died while driving a car and circumstances were just lucky that no other people died as well :(… Life is hard, but you need to face that

This is why I really hope that autonomus cars become a reality soon.

That generalization is bad, not looking at individuals and their risk level with regards to things like their sight is just wrong.

Not only that, it has no base in statistics either.

The safest driver of them all on the road is 75 years old (~20% below the average risk). When you go over 80 the risk increases but you are still not more dangerous than a 35 year old.

When turning a 100 the risk has increased to about twice the average. The same as for 26-27 year olds.

At 18-19 the risk is the highest with about 3,5 time the average and no one in the age between 18-25 should really be allowed to drive, those are the ones we need to put in autonomous cars.

The age limits should really be 15 to have sex, 18 to drink, 25 to drive, 30 to join an army and 95 to be allowed to vote for Trump.

According to this study, fatal crash rates are highest for older people, while the absolute amount of crashes and injuries is highest for young drivers. From the standpoint of statistics a reckless teenage driver is less dangerous than a slow and careful driving elderly gentleman. Think about that.;sequence=2 As well everybody needs to learn to drive, so you need to accept a somewhat increased rate for younger people. Of course drugs, alcohol and risk are still a problem at younger age. Saying all young people were a problem as some idiots are not satisfying the law, that is a clear generalization. But if you look at the data beginning at age 70 the risk skyrockets and as all older people loose some of their senses and abilities, this problem is widespread and does not only apply for some individuals of the group. People, whose reaction, vision and sense of hearing is as good at age 80 as it has been in the rest of their lifes, simply do not exist. This is not a generalization, it is just the bitter truth. I did not find any studies of crash rates for people older than 80, but for sure numbers… Read more »

“From the standpoint of statistics a reckless teenage driver is less dangerous than a slow and careful driving elderly gentleman.”

I think you’ve come to the wrong conclusion from the evidence presented. I submit that this merely shows — unsurprisingly — that a teenager is more likely to survive being injured in an automobile accident than an elderly person is. Perhaps the elderly driver is more of a danger to himself. If the accident rate for teens is higher than for the elderly, as you reported, then it’s the teenager who is a greater danger in general, to passengers in the same car as well as others on the road.

Personally, I think the driver’s test and road test should be re-taken every four years. It could help identify drivers who should be removed from the road.

Cool story and great photos.

Agreed – really nice story. Enjoyed reading it.

Sorry to Walt for his loss – his wife of 71 years. Good to read he’s still going at it in life despite such a loss.

Walt is a very Lucky man there is nothing anyone has to be Sorry about . People Die That’s Life . Walt has had & is still having a great Life at a Ripe age. Don’t We all Wish we could be in his shoes and say the same down the road of Life . May God keep on Blessing ..

Hudson was a great car. Note the rear wheel skirts, and visor.

John Goodenough @ 95 + yrs of age is still working and is again Close to another …(Solid State… Battery Breakthrough.. He’s funny and Sharp as a Razor @ 95 …Everyone Deteriorates at Different levels and have different Capacities …Sometime for the Select & Fortunate Few ., Age. , Is., Just Really Only a Number !

Joyce, this is awesome. My dad (Steve) alerted me to your article!

You could also say Elon Musk is the oldest Tesla Model 3 owner… I mean his is the oldest.

I know, semantics.


That will bring up the average age for Model 3 for sure…=)

Most Model 3 owners I see are “older people” anyway…

Wonderful. 🙂

I’d love to see more stories like this one.