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More Auto Insight from Mac - Elon Musk's Tesla a Winner? +VIDEO

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2014 Tesla X at 2013 Detroit Auto Show

By Mac Gordon
Senior Editor
Michigan Bureau
The Auto Channel

• SEE ALSO: 2013 Detroit Auto Show - Unabridged Press Pass Coverage with Full-Legnth Videos

DETROIT - January 15, 2013: Elon Musk's press conference at the 2013 Detroit NAIAS was packed with a scrum that likened Musk's Tesla S (for S-class?) to three daring post-World War II icons-the DeLorean sports coupe, racy Tucker Torpedo, and eponymous Edsel (Ford).

Musk is not about to accept failure, already boasting a year's marketing through a mere 25 independent Tesla stores (half in California); several in Chicago offer the all-electric Tesla S.

Watch the complete Tesla Press Conference

The automaker CEO, Elon Musk, refuses to reveal sales numbers or production goals. He is a “listed” purveyor of stock, and keeps a lid on metrics, such as price or cost. But he confines his appearances and vehicle displays to one in Detroit-refusing to exhibit at the Chicago or New York shows this winter.

Musk has a spotty record of business ventures, raising doubts about his chances of ultimate success. The Tesla S may be the first of its kind, and Motor Trend Magazine's 2013 Car Of The Year, but so were Preston Tucker's Torpedo and John DeLorean's DeLorean! Edsel (Ford) was a dud from its 1957 birth.

Musk replies with claims of 300 miles of range, top speed of 130 mph, 416 hp and a battery lasting 125K miles.

“Worry-Free Driving,” explains Elon.

Could Elon be right-on? Is it enough that the wunderkind from Fremont closed his Motown remarks with “We're different!”