The first day of trading for the first American auto manufacturer to go public since Ford did in 1956 ended with a bang. After selling 13.3 million shares at 17 bucks a pop for a $226 million haul, Tesla’s stock surged steadily over the day to close up more than 40% at $23.89 per share. This is made even more impressive by the fact that the rest of the market sunk drastically. In fact, Tesla was the largest gainer on the NASDAQ today.

Not bad for a company that has yet to turn a profit and doesn’t even have any hope to do so until 2012, when its Model S “family sedan” goes on sale for $50,000.