During the first few decades of the automobile era, the poshest of the high-end luxury cars often didn't come with bodies. You'd buy your Hispano-Suiza or Isotta Fraschini or Packard chassis with running gear, and then you'd have a coachbuilder (say, Chapron or Bertone) craft a body to your exact specifications. This became more difficult as cars got more complex, but the advent of the Tesla Model S, with its "skateboard" style flat chassis-full-o'-batteries, may offer hope to 21st-century fans of the custom coachbuilt car. Imagine your options, were Tesla to offer a bare chassis plus the associated electronic boxes and driver's display hardware!

Had some of those toilet-paper stock options I got from various doomed employers during the dot-com boom turned out to be worth actual money instead of something more akin to Zimbabwean 100-trillion-dollar notes, I'm pretty sure I'd be talking to coachbuilders about putting together a Tesla P85D chassis with a body like the Castagna Landaulet masterpiece on Norma Desmond's 1929 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A in the film noir classic Sunset Boulevard. I'd demand the same wicker bodywork, cheetah-skin upholstery, and solid-gold rotary telephone as the car in the film, and I'd hire a chauffeur based on his resemblance to Erich von Stroheim.

Of course, the appeal of a monstrously fast P85D chassis fitted with a coachbuilt replica of a 1954 ZIS-112 Soviet sports car body cannot be denied. I'd want the build quality to be a bit higher than what the Zavod Imeni Stalina factory put together, perhaps with Russian sable interior.

So, assuming that Tesla would sell you a coachbuilder-ready chassis-and-hardware kit, and that you have a top-notch old-timey coachbuilder (with the not-so-old-timey ability to work on a futuristic electric vehicle chassis) lined up, and that you'd find some way of convincing your local car-registration authorities to give you legit license plates for the resulting car... what sort of car would it be?

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