Self-proclaimed car guru Rich Benoit has learned that even Teslas that are left damaged and abandoned in salvage yards could still be valuable. From flooded battery packs to junk electric motors, Rich has breathed new life into what, otherwise, insurance companies deemed as salvaged, and, arguably, is bringing the sexy back into backyard DIY projects. Today, Rich candidly refers to himself as the Dr. Frankenstein of Teslas — a moniker he wears with pride.
In his popular YouTube channel, Rich Rebuilds, Rich has chronicled several Tesla projects involving the repair and restoration of a Model S using salvaged parts from auctioned vehicles that were given the ax by insurance agents. The Tesla Model S that he currently drives, for one, was recovered from a flood. Through long hours of working on the car, Rich was able to get the vehicle fully restored by using parts he scavenged from another Tesla wreck.
That is not to say that things have been easy for the Tesla DIY guru. Tesla does not work like a conventional carmaker, and like neighboring tech giant Apple, the Silicon Valley-based company prefers to have full control over how its vehicles are serviced and repaired. Couple that with Tesla’s decision to use aluminum panels for its vehicles’ bodywork, among other things, and repairing the company’s electric cars becomes a tedious and risky affair. For the DIY enthusiast, things don’t have to be this way.
Rich’s projects usually involve a ton of work and elaborate restoration. He is currently attempting to restore a Model S that had been submerged for ten days in floodwaters due to Hurricane Harvey last year. This project, which is proving to be quite a challenge due to the water damage the vehicle incurred, is only partly done. In a recent upload, Rich showed off a recent DIY project that is simpler compared to his usual builds, but just as cool. Taking a break from his flooded Model S restoration project, Rich shared a DIY trailer made from a junk battery pack, assembled by his colleague Lee Malo from Advanced Technologies.
The junk battery pack is actually structurally sound to serve as a trailer, considering that it was rated to hold the electric cars’ heavy battery modules. With some good-old DIY magic, a good dose of creativity and months of work on Lee’s part, the Tesla Battery Trailer was born. In the video, Rich also opted to fit the trailer with 21″ Turbine wheels from a Model S, giving the project a distinct Tesla theme.
It’s hard to deny that the Tesla Battery Trailer is already pretty darn cool. In his video, Rich noted that they are now looking into adding features to the trailer, such as LED lights, a battery module, and an inverter to provide 120 volts of power. For now, the trailer is almost complete, with the trailer now painted silver. In a recent update on Advanced Technologies’ Facebook page, Lee noted that they just need to install some LEDs and do a few more things before the project is fully completed.
Watch Rich Rebuilds‘ video of the Tesla Battery Trailer project below.