Sam Perry is a Tesla believer.
He was one of the first 100 people to buy a Tesla Roadster, the electric-car company’s inaugural production vehicle.
Now he’s getting ready to put his Tesla Model S — the ninth one ever built — up for auction.
The trailing digits of the sedan’s vehicle-identification number say it all: 00009. It’s the Model S Signature series, which means it’s loaded and dressed in the now-iconic Signature Red paint.
“Elon [Musk] personally inspected these first cars to make sure the fit was exactly right,” Perry told Business Insider in a phone conversation last week. “So it’s one of the few hand-finished cars, and among the first to come off the assembly line,” he added.
The Silicon Valley investor who runs Ascendance Ventures in the San Francisco Bay Area says he’s selling his car now to make room for another Tesla — the falcon-winged Model X SUV. Perry said he needed the extra space to haul a bunch of bicycles and other equipment, “while still being able carry passengers.”
We asked Perry why he wouldn’t just park the new Model X next to the S, considering the latter is so rare. He simply replied, “I don’t need two large cars.”
The electric-car bug has been running in Perry’s family for generations. He boasted of a 1917 Detroit Electric car owned by his extended family. “An uncle of mine updated it so it can run on 12-volt batteries,” he explained, “but you wouldn’t want to try driving it up a hill.”
Of course, the Model S that Perry is selling is no slouch.
He applauded Tesla’s role in kicking electric vehicle development into high gear, even though EVs haven’t yet won unanimous appreciation from consumers.
Total sales of new plug-in cars barely made a dent among the 17.5 million new cars and trucks sold in the US last year.
Tesla first-adopters — people like Perry who signed up to buy the earliest editions of the company’s cars — are true believers in transport innovation.
Perry completed an auction just last week for an ICON A5 personal aircraft — No. 23 of only 100 to be made.
His Tesla Model S Signature series will go on sale later this month, with bids starting at $70,000.