Tesla Roadster auction ‘frenzy’ expected to reignite after losing $2M bid

Key Points

  • 💰 Tesla Roadster trio found abandoned in China lost $2 million top bid.
  • 🔥 Bidding “frenzy” expected to reignite as the vehicles arrive in the US.
  • 🚗 The Roadsters were purchased for Research and Development by a Chinese OEM over a decade ago.
  • 🌪️ Shipping delay due to a storm, vehicles currently off the coast of Vietnam.
  • 🛠️ Buyer backed out due to insurance challenges and lack of parts availability for older Roadsters.
  • 📅 Roadsters set to arrive in the US on September 5th, auction to pick back up after cleaning and analysis.

The Tesla Roadster trio that was found abandoned in shipping containers in China earlier this year has lost their top bidder of $2 million, Pete Gruber of Gruber Motors told Teslarati today. Gruber said he expects the bidding “frenzy” could “reignite.”

The three Roadsters that were purchased by a Chinese OEM over a decade ago for Research and Development purposes sat stagnated in shipping crates as the company went bankrupt. Earlier this year, they were uncovered, and Gruber was put in charge of handling a bidding war and shipping for the three cars.

They were set to arrive in Long Beach, California, on August 17. Teslarati reached out to Gruber late last week to see if the vehicles had made it safely as Hurricane Hillary landed in Southern California. Shipping was delayed due to the storm, and the vehicles currently are on a ship that is off the coast of Vietnam.

However, Gruber also said that the bidder who placed a $2 million offer for the three vehicles had backed out.

According to Gruber, the bidder had plans to put the three vehicles on the road as part of an EV leasing company out of Canada. The $2 million price tag seemed to be a reasonable deal considering the money people would pay to take a spin in Tesla’s original vehicle.

However, not everyone was supportive of the idea.

Gruber was against the idea and felt that these cars should be museum pieces as they are the first “barn find” EVs, he told me. His opinions did not influence the decision of the buyer. “As a dating service, we have to limit our advice to tech support and leave personal opinions and preferences out of the equation,” he told me.

Instead, the issue with finding an insurance carrier that would have a policy to cover three cars that are more than ten years old and deal with the lack of availability for parts for a Roadster was more of a challenge than initially thought. This made the bidder back out of their commitment.

However, the Roadsters are set to arrive in the U.S. on September 5th.

Gruber told me that after the vehicles arrive in the U.S., they are cleaned and dispositioned, his company expects the auction to pick back up and the bidding “frenzy to reignite.”

Gruber put this update up on his website as well:

“The new estimated arrival date to the Long Beach port is 9/5.

Anticipating other ships waiting to unload, we have not yet been advised what, if any, delays will be encountered with ships ahead of ours waiting to unload (remember Covid days and ships in the queue waiting to unload).

We will keep updating this thread as new details emerge.
The sellers are again accepting bids.  The cars will be fully dispositioned soon at GMC with full tech analysis, many more images, and a complete inventory, allowing bidders to make more informed decisions.”

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