Gearheads can still enjoy the Tesla Model 3


Three thousand miles ago, my wife and I purchased a Dual Motor Long Range Tesla Model 3. It is the best vehicle I’ve ever owned. Now listen, I’m not some millennial who upgraded from a Prius, but a lifelong, consummate gearhead. My last five daily drivers consisted of two John Cooper Works Minis and every modern iteration of Z06 Corvette. All manual. All modified. My father had a 71 Vega that ran a blown 454 40 over pushing about a thousand horsepower. Legal risk aside I prowled the streets with it, drag slicks screeching, parachute ready.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/03/14/gearheads-enjoy-tesla-model-3

I’ve heard from several people that working on Tesla is not an easy thing since they are not open to allowing DIY easily to get parts and technical information and support everything has to be done by them.


Good luck to you if you get into a fender bender too. The body shop has to be "Tesla certified " and even then it’ll take months to get parts. Your insurance rental car will expire before the work is done.

Musk is a publicity stuntman and is running out of tricks to pull.The future may be electric, but that doesn’t mean Tesla will be part if it. The other manufacturers will eat them alive while Tesla runs out of cash.


Thanks for an insightful article. As a life-long Mustang owner (including a '68 hardtop and 2015 retro) I was very hesitant to consider a Tesla, but my Model S is by far the best car I have ever owned or driven. And it looks great in my garage next to my '56 Ford.

I encourage all doubters to take a test drive. You’ll never look at internal combustion vehicles in the same manner. Happy driving!.


I’ll second everything Gene said, expect for the dislike of the Tesla Model S. Two and half years ago when the lease was up on my previous daily driver, I decided to buy a Tesla Model S. I needed to buy then, and couldn’t wait for the Model 3 to arrive. I don’t regret it for a minute. And I still have my gas breathing classics for weekend fun (both wrenching and driving).

And to the naysayers who complain about being able to work on the Tesla, I’ve put almost 44k miles on mine, and the only maintenance required has been new tires. And regarding the body repair, I think you’ll find similar results with any aluminum bodied car like the Model S/X (which incidentally doesn’t apply to the steel bodied Model 3).

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I like the power and speed of an Electric, but not the range or recharge time. Drove to LA from the bay area a few years back and at the Lebec/Gorman recharge station saw about 20 Tesla’s trying to use the 8 chargers. There may be more now. I would hate to be stuck in the middle of nowhere waiting to use the charge for a few hours.

I wish they would build a car with say 120 miles electric range. And a small auxiliary motor that can run direct drive on the freeway, and charge the batteries a little. No need for a transmission as the little fueled motor would only be started as needed. Reverse and low speeds would be electric. Range today for electrics is achieved by carting around a thousand pounds or a more of batteries. 600 miles range, more batteries.

Looking for something like a Chevy Volt, but more emphasis on Electric versus Gas.

I like long trips. 100% electrics still only make sense for Flashy Urbanites. The gas/natural gas/hydrogen engine should be able to cruise the car at 70, and provide a slow charge to the battery soonce you get to town you have a full charge. Electrics can kick in for passing assist. Below 40 Electrics…

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I’ve got a '92 Civic VX, 1.5L Vtec (240k original miles.) I challenge any Tesla to beat me driving from Reno to Las Vegas. Google Maps says it takes 6h 44m. I’ll drive the speed limit all the way, and the Tesla can drive as fast as you want. Any takers? Crickets …

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That’s a dead end. That’s why Chevy wisely offed it. Same thing with the REX for the i3 getting turfed.


The Model 3, particularly the Long Range RWD, is hands down the best long trip car on the market right now. That was before the SC rate boost. How about this instead, you hop in your Civic and drive Ardmore, OK to Elisabeth, NJ, via Nashville, TN and report back how many hours that takes. And how tired you are at the end of it. It took me 32.5hr, lollygagging because I had a kid along with me. That’s 32.5hr all-inclusive, for everything, less than 1.5 days total. And I arrived entirely rested, stayed up about 7 hours visiting and doing other stuff before going to bed.

I’ve driven a lot of long, long miles over the decades. At “how soon can I get there” pace. And at a lot younger age. This car just blows everything else out of the water for long trips.


‘A Better Route Planner’ (google it) says if I take a Model 3 Long Range and I drive at a max speed of 120MPH, I would need 3 charging stops and I would make it from Reno, NV to Las Vegas, NV in 5 hours and 39 minutes

If I set the max speed to a more conservative and realistic 90MPH, it would take 6 hours and 12 minutes


Very “realistic” 90 mph. Ever drive from Reno to Vegas?


Yep, I’ll take that bet in exactly 1 year. Look up Tesla V3 Supercharging. They’re rolling it out now. Halves the time to charge, which means I will stop exactly once for approx 10-15 mins to recharge enough to make it, and crush your civic.

The thing is, over the air updates and advances in easily solvable tech hurdles mean all of the complaints are generally by people who don’t understand what is achievable now, and what is coming within the next 1-2 years.


Cool, so we’re arguing not to get a car because repairs from a non-Tesla shop may take a while. Now we’re stretching pretty far.

You should watch some videos from Ron Baron about why he invested. Or Sandy Munro on the teardown he did showing how far ahead Tesla is from all competitors. No one is coming anytime soon. Audi and Jaguar both have 90kw batteries that have pathetic range and slower performance compared to Tesla. They’re year and years behind, stuck with legacy gasoline engine factory tooling to pay for as well.


I find A Better Route Planner on the pessimistic side for range when set to RWD and I drive an AWD.

Plus you can do even better if you happen to catch someone hotfooting it and draft behind at about TACC setting 4. You can drive 80mph getting 65mph range, even behind just a crossover or modestly large sedan.


We cannot reflash our Teslas, there are very, very few aftermarket parts, and virtually no access to OEM parts over the counter. Or even manuals.

They are for gearheads without gears:

  • Built It
  • Race it
  • Break it
  • Fix it
    … does not apply

The idea that Chevrolet slaps together Corvettes does not match my experience. Will Tesla let you watch them build YOUR car? Have you rejected a Vette at delivery? Not me.

Love EVs, but the Gearhead in me knows I can’t tune the powertrain, I can’t put LSDs or gears in it, I have few choices in suspensions parts, and no serious datalogging ability. You cannot turn off the Nannies. OH!! And Tesla Voids All Warrantee on AutoX. Specifically in writing. WTF? The gentlest form of closed circuit driving is banned?

I picked the Jaguar EV instead. It feels more like a hot rod. It looks more like a hot rod. But it has most the same limitations (well you can turn off the nannies, and it has a programmable suspension).
Will a 2002 prepped ($15k) Z06 with only 405hp trample anything Tesla sells on a track? Yeah.
If you really want to put distance on a Tesla, use a SS 1LE and challenge them to 10 laps.


Drive a Jaguar in the snow, dirt, or a bumpy mountain road with off-camber corners at 100%, especially in the rain or very cold roads. Don’t be afraid. It won’t skip a beat even if you lift a tire or two.
Then get back with me on Tesla Superior Chassis and Suspension.
They scrape going up driveways. The S is like climbing into a sports car with no hand supports. Might as well climb in the window. They cannot turn the nannies off. Off-road or autocross voids the entire warranty in writing on all but the X. Where you need the power the most, is where Jaguar curved the EV motors. It goes about 127 mph which is as fast as most street cars on street tires will go on a tight track.


I’m not sure Tesla even has body shops, but regardless of where it gets fixed you will wait forever to get parts. Don’t take my word for it, here is an example:
“Repair Hell”: Tesla Owner Waits Nine Months On Body Shop

Elon Musk is sweating bullets now that the tax breaks are running out - his smoke and mirrors about nonexistent electric trailer trucks and promotion of lookalike new models can’t make up the difference. Other car companies will duplicate what Tesla does AND have doors line up on the cars properly. Tesla isn’t a car company, it’s a cult.


And they have a written warranty that voids itself if you even Autocross it.
They restrict parts, refuse manuals, will not sell dealer tools, and the apparently threaten to sue anyone who tries to. Not exactly a hotrodder’s dream car.

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Where you need the power the most? I can’t imagine Tesla is lacking in power at any speed given they crush every competitor in every category of acceleration. The nuances of driving in poor weather on bad roads (less than 5% of driving I’d imagine, even for people in colder climates) I’ll leave to you, and enjoy the other 95% of driving on dry or wet pavement, cruising past people paying more for less performance.


Cold weather means your Tesla battery will start the day at about 40% charge after sitting all night. Sure, they will still crush it in the quarter mile, but how about a lap or two at the track, you know, where the rest of the performance actually happens?

Might as well get a fake company like Theranos to sponsor the non-existent Tesla racing team.

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