Back in October of 2012, we took delivery of Tesla Model S VIN #184. Yes, this small family business, EVANNEX, took delivery of our first Tesla almost five years ago. While it was the first Model S delivery in Florida, it had a pretty standard silver color. Tesla's first ~1,000 deliveries were coined "Signature" models and all had this "Signature" insignia inscribed on the rear chrome strip across the back of the car (connecting the tail lights). These early cars were lacking things like motorized side mirrors, proximity sensors, and a smooth front grille (nose cone) design.
Above: Whoa, what's that I see in the rear view mirror? (Source: @framirez92)
One unique feature offered to those who were early Model S "Signature" owners was the opportunity to order a unique, special edition color option. It was a deeper, darker red color — something reminiscent of a merlot wine. The first time I laid eyes on a "Signature" red Model S was when I first attended a Florida Tesla Enthusiasts club event. The club's President, Larry Chanin, had one... and it was absolutely stunning. This color remains extremely rare, but, Tesla did make the decision to bring it back for early Model X "Signature" owners too. We even tested our products on an early Model X delivery which looked great in "Signature" red. Will Tesla offer "Signature" Model 3 owners this same, sexy red variant?
It appears so — an Instagram user, @framirez92 (Frank) sent us a private, direct message to offer up some photos and video of a "Signature" red Tesla Model 3 that he captured on his phone close to the Tesla Service Center in Seaside, California. He was also able to shoot some images of the vehicle parked at the service center at their supercharger hiding discreetly under a car cover. It turns out that this Instagram'er, Frank, had actually waited in line on the first day in order to get his wife a Model 3 as an anniversary gift. Kudos Frank!
Above: Another glimpse of a "Signature" red Tesla Model 3 (Youtube: The Italian Stallion)
It also appears that someone else also caught a glimpse of a similar Model 3 release candidate on Highway 1 about 25 minutes from Santa Cruz (see above) as well. To be fair, Electrek featured another Model 3 release candidate in (what appears to be) the same "Signature" red color as well. So, it's definitely happening. Electrek also just published some excellent video footage of a red Model 3 on the test track. Be patient, although it's shaky in parts of the video, there's some revealing footage. And it looks pretty quick — Fred Lambert writes, "Of course, we don’t know which version was on the track today and we can’t tell how quick it is from the video, but it’s definitely fast. You can see it accelerating from a standstill on two occasions at around 0:30 and 1:15" — take a look...
Above: Red Model 3 at Tesla's test track (Youtube: Electrek.co)
So what other color choices and wheel options might be out there? Another video popped up yesterday that showcases the popular blue color but it's sporting never-seen-before aero wheels. Similar wheels were offered on the Model S for some time but have since been discontinued. These aero-style wheels are purported to increase range a bit. They look pretty good although the design differs somewhat from the aero wheel design I first encountered at the Model 3 launch event.
Above: Excellent footage of a blue Model 3 release candidate with aero wheels on Tesla's test track and "out in the wild" afterwards (Youtube: Andrew Batiuk)
The driver seems to appear rummaging around for something in the frunk — that said, it's doubtful that the car "broke down" as noted in the youtube title as electric cars don't have an engine under the hood. But, the youtube'er notes that, "We spotted a blue Model 3 on the Tesla test track... As we were leaving, it ended up in front of us, so we followed it... to a 'secret' base of operations away from the factory, where it was tucked inside. This 'base' was an unmarked building, where 20 unfinished Superchargers sat in the parking lot." Hmmm. What else has turned up recently? Check out the gallery below.
What can we interpret from these new spy shots that recently surfaced? Above, we catch another glimpse of the aero wheels on a white Model 3 by Tesla's factory. Next, we find a silver and blue Model 3 release candidate charging out in the open and underneath car covers. And, although it's at a distance, we get a rare look at a Model 3 trunk open and a Model 3 turn signal in action. As the days count down to the Model 3 launch, we'll be sure to keep you posted on more Model 3 sightings. In the meantime, don't be too surprised if this car has a bigger overall impact than the original Ford Model T once it officially starts to hit the roads.