Gruber Motor Company has shared a special story about the last Tesla Roadster, VIN 1459, which marked the end of Roadster production. This Roadster was signed by Elon Musk and preceded the “final five,” which were five specially painted Roadsters with carbon fiber plaque. VIN 1459 came to Gruber — like many other vehicles — dead and unable to charge. It had dying battery packs. Gruber shared the story of bringing it back to life in a blog post titled “Elon Signed This Roadster.”
The blog noted that transport took longer than originally planned, since the Roadster’s wheels had locked, making it hard to move. Despite these challenges, Gruber Motors repaired the pack and brought this gem of an iconic car back to life.
“We see a lot of low mileage collectible Roadsters, pampered and flawless. This one is over the top, with only 2400 miles (after 10 years), never in the rain (came from FL), and once we put it up on the lift, we realized this undercarriage and [the] internals were so clean and undisturbed, we thought we were looking at a Roadster that had just rolled off the assembly line (take note of the gallery images). This Roadster looked like it was in a time warp. Meticulously stored and preserved, nothing as we have ever seen,” Gruber wrote in their blog post.
According to Gruber, the autograph by Elon Musk on the PEM appeared as fresh as the day it was signed. Gruber also pointed out that if the “service plug” being pulled on the battery pack, this particular Roadster would have been a “Level 1 battery recovery” that wouldn’t even require pulling the battery pack. Aside from the transport delays, it would have been done super quickly.
Level 1 battery recovery is a procedure for Roadsters that have been bricked for 4 months or less or have been stabilized upon being bricked by pulling the service disconnect plug to prevent any further battery drain. However, this Roadster wound up having what the company calls “Level 3 battery recovery” — which is simply a battery pull along with service on any of the 11 sheets inside the ESS battery pack. In this case, there’s usually some cell degradation that requires Gruber to isolate and neutralize any resistive cells. In some cases, a sheet replacement is required. These come from donor packs, which are a scarce commodity.
VIN 1459 needed a sheet replacement since, as the company writes, one sheet “had a battery brick which had been below 2 VDC for too long.” Fortunately, Gruber was indeed able to bring this beautiful car back to life.
“This Roadster was so perfect, we were able to reverse engineer and document much of the chassis and frame, providing a rare glimpse of what these cars looked like fresh off the assembly line. Using current state-of-the-art hi-res camera equipment, we were able to generate high-quality images of the mechanical portions of the Roadster.” That is one fun weekend project!
Head on over to Gruber Motors to look at a couple dozen photos of this special Roadster and the company’s work reviving it. Or watch the videos above.