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We don’t talk about the Tesla Roadster much. It was made and died before Tesla became the cultural touch point it is now. However, these early electric sports cars are cool, fast, and rarer than hen’s teeth. Only 2,450 of the first-gen Tesla Roadsters were made. Recently a hidden cache of six Tesla Roadsters was just discovered behind a Tesla shop in Maryland. 

Six Tesla Roadsters found hidden in Maryland

Any time someone finds a Tesla Roadster, especially one with low miles, the internet gets pumped. We are supposed to be getting a next-gen Roadster, but in Tesla time, that could be any time between now and when the sun explodes and destroys the Earth. Seeing as how that is a pretty large window, finding a clean old one is your best bet at getting a Tesla Roadster today.

Even from 2008-2012, the Tesla Roadster could do 200 on a charge and burn the road up. MotorTrend writers were on a road trip when they discovered a Tesla location with six Tesla Roadsters parked unceremoniously behind the shop. The six rare birds were dirty, some damaged, and some had registration stickers indicating that they had been off the road for a few years. However, none of these cars were for sale. 

How much are Tesla Roadsters worth

2008 Tesla Roadster in silver
2008 Tesla Roadster | via Getty Images

This was quite a valuable pile of cars sitting unattended and uncovered behind a store. When the Tesla Roadster debuted in 2008, the MSRP was $98,950. That was a pretty good stack of cash back then. Especially when you consider the financial crisis of the time. However, the cars have only become more desirable and valuable since then. MotorTrend notes that the Tesla Roadster made it on Hagerty’s 2022 Bull Market list as a good investment. These cars are all worth well over $100k these days. 

The MotorTrend writer was sniffing around the rare Teslas, wondering why these valuable cars were sitting so neglected when a mechanic noticed the writer and informed them that they were “parts cars.” 

Despite the shop keeping a tight lip on the cars, one unnamed tech told MotorTrend that the Owings Mills store had become one of the more popular locations for  Roadster service on the East Coast. 

The tech told MotorTrend investigators, “The challenge is, most of the original technicians who were with Tesla, who knew how to work on these, are all millionaires now. They’ve all left the company.” The tech mentioned Tesla using generous stock benefits to lure service technicians from rival dealerships when setting up its own service centers. “It’s awesome that we have someone with deep knowledge of these products going back really far,” they said. “He’s chosen to stick around because he likes the cars and likes the work.”

Repairs make more money than sales

While these valuable cars just sitting outside seems like a waste, if this shop is doing most of the Tesla Roadster service in the region, it makes more sense to corner a continuous repair market than sell the six cars and not have the parts. This is doubly true for an older model based on brand-new tech at the time of production. 

Finding parts for rare electric cars is no cakewalk. Keeping the parts cars is a strong play that might initially look silly. 

The craziest part is that Gruber Motors – one of the world’s leading Tesla Roadster repair shops –  told MotorTrend that Tesla was quietly buying back Tesla Roadsters in 2019. In some cases, the company was offering trades for Tesla Model 3. This little anecdote was proven when MotorTrend discovered that a few of these Roadsters had been off the road since 2019. There was even trade-in paperwork in some of the cars as well. Mystery solved. Tesla was buying back Roadsters to have donor cars for parts. 

“It’s like a Costco rotisserie chicken,” they said. “You eat what you like the first day and then put it in the fridge. And you keep picking away at it until there’s nothing left but bones and scraps.”