There is no doubt that Tesla offers cars with really good performance at affordable prices. Currently, in the electric vehicle market, there are very few companies that can compete with their costs. Just yesterday, we reported a reduction in the price of Model 3 and Model Y’s entry-level variant. A person in Salem, Massachusetts, however, has gone extreme with some custom building of his Tesla. Turns out, he owns a Tesla that cost him a net total of $6,000 only.
Of course, even we are shocked to hear about this $6,000 Tesla. But after hearing the story about how he did it, the chock turned into amazement. The story is of a YouTuber who goes by the name of Rich Rebuilds. He is famous for his automobile custom builds and transformations, and a recent video covers a lot of his other stories too.
The Story of the $6,000 Tesla
Another YouTuber “Living Bobby” recently interviewed Rich, and he told the story of how he built a custom Tesla for such a low price. He has owned close to 14 or 15 used Teslas till now, searching for different parts to use from other ruined vehicles. Tesla doesn’t sell you spare parts of any kind, and so, this is his way of restoring used Tesla cars.
The story starts with Rich wanting to buy a Tesla Model S. However, at a $70,000+ price tag, it was a little out of budget for him. So he decided to look into used cars and found an abandoned Model S. It was ruined because of being stuck in saltwater, with more than half the wheels submerged in water, wrecking most parts. He got this vehicle at $15,000.
Using a dehumidifier, he emptied all the water out of it and removed the dead fish from the rear seats. The saltwater had almost completely ruined the interior carpets and all. He then extracted the battery pack, and out of the 16 modules inside, the water had destroyed only 4. So he sold the remaining 12 modules for $900 each, which gave him $10,800 back. He then sold the motor in the car for $3,000 more. He then got $400 for two airbags, getting an additional $800. Rich also got $400 for other leather interior pieces. This meant that he had a Tesla chassis free of cost now.
The Second Tesla Car for Spare Parts
Rich then bought a second Tesla car which cost him $15,000 more. This car had been in a front-end collision. He used this car for spare parts, including the seats, internal wiring and whatnot. He then sold the airbags, dashboard and steering wheel of the second car for an additional $3,000. The doors and the chassis of this second vehicle gave him a total of $3,200. The fuel pump went for $400. Other miscellaneous parts such as AC linings and whopper speakers brought down the total cost to $6,000.
Then came the hard part. Using the parts from the second car, put them into the first one, and build a properly functioning vehicle. Originally the colour of the car was black, but he repainted it to dolphin grey. He also removed the chrome finish on the door handles and replaced it with a black finish. He also has a glass roof, carbon fibre wings, even some carbon fibre finish on the bumpers.
Other Parts in the Custom Tesla
The trunk also accommodates a camping bed like most other Tesla vehicles. The camp mode in the Tesla vehicles actually keeps heating on for a prolonged time, so you can sleep inside your car while on a camping trip. The modifications have allowed him to increase the frunk (front trunk) storage too.
The difference between the original interior and the new one is drastic. The old interior was a tanned leather, with door panels, seats and panels behind the dashboard all ruined by the saltwater. It was all mouldy, Rich says. There was a wooden trim instead of the current carbon fibre finish. The computer is also well and functioning, and controls pretty much everything in the vehicle, just like any other Tesla car.
Rich had to replace a huge, entangled mess of wiring and harness, and he used parts from the second car, and also from some other cars too. He used window switches and a steering column from a Mercedes car, and the steering rack comes from a Land Rover.
Rich mentioned that the car has been used for close to 50,000 miles (80,450 km). Interestingly enough, he doesn’t have any engineering background. He did it out of interest and did some research too.
Rich’s Other Projects
Apart from this $6,000 Tesla, Rich has done some other cool things with automobiles along with this partner Steven too. They were also involved in retrofitting a Tesla Model S with a V8 engine. They used a Chevrolet Camaro engine for this project. Rich has owned a total of 30 to 40 cars in his whole life. He owned a BMW at some point, and also a very weird single-seater Danish electric car. He also owns a Corvette, and a Sherp ATV, which is essentially a tank.
The Sherp ATV is a Russian design and is considered the world’s most capable vehicle in any terrain. Bobby actually went for an off-roading ride in the Sherp and ended up getting caught by police for driving through a restricted zone. After the misunderstanding was cleared, the police actually took a selfie with this amazing vehicle.
It is very interesting to see common people like Rich and Steven custom-build such Tesla vehicles for extremely cheap prices. Of course, because of Tesla’s policy of not making spare parts available for sale, they had to take drastic measures such as buying a number of abandoned Teslas. But still, projects such as these are very exciting to watch. You get to see people expand the capabilities of in-demand vehicles, or build them for extremely low prices.