Elon Musk may be trying to push the world onto electric cars, but he still has a soft spot for the classics. The CEO revealed on his Twitter page Thursday that, while his company struggles to get the $35,000 Tesla Model 3 out of its manufacturing bottleneck, he hasn’t completely made the switch to all-electric just yet.
“I own two gasoline cars,” Musk said on Twitter. “One is a Model T that a friend gave me and the other is a Series 1 ‘67 E-type Roadster. My first love.”
In some ways, it’s a surprising admission from the head of Tesla, a company that claims as its mission to prove that “electric vehicles can be better, quicker and more fun to drive than gasoline cars.” Musk has criticized the big, established automakers for holding back progress on electric vehicles, recommending the 2006 film Who Killed the Electric Car? as a primer of the business practices that hampered its adoption.
Indeed, Tesla was founded in 2003 after traditional automaker General Motors pulled the plug on its nascent EV1 project, a car introduced in 1996 that complied with the California Air Resources Board’s mandate. The company recalled the electric car against the wishes of its owners, who held a candlelight vigil in protest.
But despite a rocky history, Musk has a long-standing adoration for traditional cars. In a widely-circulated 1999 documentary, the young entrepreneur can be seen taking a delivery for a McLaren F1, which at the time was the fastest production car in the world:
Unfortunately, Musk’s F1 didn’t last. In an interview with PandoDaily, he recounted how he was driving with fellow PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel to visit Mike Mortiz of Sequoia Capital. In a classic case of famous last words, Musk said, “watch this” and put his foot to the floor, only to hit an embankment at high speed and wreck the car.
Thiel told his side of the story in a New York Times interview earlier this year:
“It was a miracle neither of us were hurt,” Mr. Thiel says. “I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, which is not advisable. Elon’s first comment was, ‘Wow, Peter, that was really intense.’ And then it was: ‘You know, I had read all these stories about people who made money and bought sports cars and crashed them. But I knew it would never happen to me, so I didn’t get any insurance.’ And then we hitchhiked the rest of the way to the meeting.”
Despite the incident, Musk didn’t give up on his love of superfast cars and regularly touts the high-performance benchmarks of the latest Teslas against traditional vehicles. The Tesla Model S P100D in Ludicrous Plus posted an acceleration time of 0-60 in just 2.28 seconds this year, and Musk plans to release a “performance” version of the Model 3 once production ramps up and early orders are fulfilled.
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