This Tesla Model 3 owner didn’t get his car in a traditional manner. This is to say he didn’t buy it new from Tesla, and it wasn’t in Tesla’s new or pre-owned online inventory or for sale by an individual owner on the used market. Instead, Geico was selling it after declaring it a total loss.
Tesla owner Winston found the Model 3 at a wrecking yard and bought it from Geico at auction for the top bid of just $15,000. His plan was to rebuild the car himself at home in his garage. Even if it cost him as much as the totaled car itself, he’d still be saving money. Winston, who’s just 18 years old, wanted to build his family the cheapest Model 3 in the US.
While Tesla continues to lower its prices, a new Model 3 is still at least $40,000, and that gets you the single-motor rear-wheel-drive “base” model with 272 miles of EPA-estimated range.
Winston’s 2018 Tesla Model 3 Long Range had been in a crash and was considered a total loss, but he had no idea what actually happened. After he took the time to completely rebuild the EV, he plugged in a USB drive to get the data stored on the Model 3’s built-in computer.
Since Tesla’s vehicles have standard dash cams and the camera-based Sentry Mode security system, they record footage from multiple cameras, which can be viewed later. Thanks to the technology, Winston discovered some surprises to share.
As you’ll see in the saved footage, the Model 3’s former owner was driving it when a car appeared on the right, which resulted in a t-bone collision. Even though there was plenty of visible damage and Geico called it a total, Winston says it wasn’t that bad. He had to fix the obvious body damage and replace the airbags.
Winston spent about $9,000 on parts and $1,000 on taxes, so the total cost for the Model 3 was just $25,000, plus about three months of his time and hard work. There were major issues he didn’t expect, such as having to replace the entire dashboard for the new airbag. Winston learned a ton and has been a fan of YouTube channels like Rich Rebuilds for years now. He hopes to work for Tesla Service, and he’s already applied.
Much like most Wham Baam Teslacam videos, the video at the top of the page includes 19 other TeslaCam stories. The footage ranges from crashes and near misses to hit-and-run collisions and Tesla Sentry Mode events. Check it out and then head down to the comment section and leave us your takeaways.