Tesla Roadsters found in shipping containers had wild fate

  • The zero-mile Tesla Roadsters were found in China
  • They were allegedly meant to be used for reverse engineering
  • Someone has placed a $2 million bid on the final three

Published on Jul 01, 2024 at 8:33 PM (UTC+4)
by Amelia Jean Hershman-Jones

Last updated on Jul 02, 2024 at 11:24 AM (UTC+4)
Edited by Kate Bain

Remember those brand-new Tesla Roadsters discovered in shipping containers in China? The mystery about what they were doing there may well have been discovered.

A $2 million bid has been placed on the final three brand-new, first-gen 2010 Tesla Roadsters in their collection.

And it turns out they were destined to be reverse-engineered.

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After the cars were originally found back in early 2023, we’ve had several updates.

These include the plot twist of billionaire, Dan O’Dowd, who has been publicly critical of Tesla’s self-driving features purchasing three of them.

The pristine units – two orange and one red – were thought to have been sitting there for 13 years.

They’re the last brand-new, completely assembled first-gen Roadsters sold 13 years after they were built.

How did the Tesla Roadsters get there?

Gruber Motors, the shop brokering the deal, it recently received information on the original shipment that led them to where they were found.

The three Roadsters were all intended to be dismantled by an early Tesla competitor in the EV race of the 2010s.

They were en route to an R&D facility for an ’emerging’ Chinese automaker that went bankrupt before the cars even arrived.

“The original purchaser was an R&D center for a Chinese auto company, that subsequently went bankrupt, and the assumption is these were purchased for reverse engineering to be disassembled,” Gruber Motors said in their auction listing.

“In 2010, the Tesla Roadster was after all a state-of-the-art EV, before the Model S even came out, and would have been of enormous value to an emerging EV company.”

The mystery of the shipping containers deepens

Per the investigation by Gruber Motors, the original shipment was actually for four 2010 Tesla Roadsters with VINs 1107, 1120, 1146, and 1185.

While the first three were auctioned, the fourth car is missing in its entirety.

While the chassis was absent, a subsequent shipping container uncovered by Gruber Motors revealed parts that can be traced back to VIN 1185.

These include wheels and tires, a door assembly, headlight assemblies, body parts, trim parts, and other car parts.

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# Tags - Cars, Celebrities, EV, Tesla


Amelia Jean Hershman-Jones

London-based Amelia cut her journalistic teeth covering all things lifestyle, wellness and luxury in the UK capital. Fast-forward a decade and the experienced content creator and editor has put pen to paper for glossy magazines, busy newsrooms and coveted brands. When her OOO is on you can find her spending quality time with her young family, in the gym or exploring the city she loves.