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Discussion Starter #1
I know someone who has a sweet pony-car Mustang GT, black-on-black leather, 5-speed, performance suspension, convertible top, chrome 5-spoke rims and a bunch of other small mods. The bad news is that it is 'totaled' because a headlight cracked, bumper and radiator bent and airbags went off. My question is, is it worthwhile to obtain a rebuilder license and fix the car up, get it inspected, and then have a sweet car that is legal? Or is there more to it than that?

I know that in NJ you don't even need a rebuilder license, but it does have to get inspected by the state. What are some other things I have to consider, anybody know any specific laws about this for Florida?

Anybody have any experience in this kind of thing?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Nice. The Stang will definately require much less work.

Do you know if he needed any special license, and how much time/money did it take to get the car inspected? I heard some states rarely do the inspections to privately owned cars, mostly to salvage yards and autobody places.
 

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A) What's the original reason the car is listed as a "Total" loss? If all it needs is a headlight and a bumper with airbags and radiator then the insurance company would've probably had it repaired if it's anew enough car.
B) What year is the car? If it's old enough then with liability only the insurance company wouldn't have been bothered.
C) If it is newer and there's a lot of money involved in frame/unibody damage and you don't know how to fix it...then you're way over your head.
D) In many states..once a car is totalled and it's purchased for repair..the only title you can get is marked "Salvage" This is a giant red flag to any prospective future buyer if you decide to sell the car later for whatever reason.
E) Do a preliminary check on the prices of the parts you've listed it needing and add a little bit of padding. Total that up and see if it's worth it to fix it. See "C" above.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I believe it is a 1995, like this:


Airbags alone = 3k, according to insurance.
Not much else to say, as that is almost enough to total it. Busted bumper, headlight, slight hood damage (may be able to be fixed), radiator/fans pushed in, that's it.

$300 TOPS for everything from u-pull-it yard. Besides the airbags, of course.
 

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Being a convertible..I'd really check for frame/unibody damage. There's no roof to add to the chassis rigidity and I wouldn't want to drive around in something that could break in half at any moment. If it were a hard top I'd say maybe go for it.
I doubt the airbags would cost anywhere near $3k..even our LH's can be had for under half that. I personally wouldn't touch it unless I got the seal of approval from a body shop that the frame structure is sound. There could be something hidden that could be an expensive mistake. Of course you could always buy it and it doesn't work out..then sell it to the next sucker for what you've got into it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The thing about that style Mustang, is that the frame is just as solid as the hardtop's. It is reinforced to account for the lack of a roof, unlike aftermarket covertible conversions.

He want 4k. And he said it will NEVER be drivable, he said he got a certificate of destruction and there is no way to ever get it back on the road, save for switching VIN plates off another mustang...
 

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Like has already been mentioned, it depends on the damage, obviously, but it also depends on the car and your desire to rebuild it. I've rebuilt two '88 Thunderbirds that were hit pretty hard on front ends. Why?
1. Because I was able to get them at a very good price.
2. Because I happen to really like that body-style, and have had a lot of experience with them.

So, it's really up to you. What are your plans for the car? Rebuild it and sell it? Rebuild it and drive it till it drops? Rebuild it as a nice hot-rod project? Those are all things that only you can determine the value of.

The last TBird I picked up and rebuilt was an '88 Sport that suffered an impact of about 30-35 mph from the right front corner. I was able to pick it up from the owner, who included all new sheetmetal, lights, nose, hood, etc. for $1350. The car had <50k miles on the clock when I picked it up. After some hard work and TLC by myself and some good friends (PRICELESS!!), it was on the road and my daily driver for another 100k+ miles. I kept things mostly stock looking, but I was also able to bolt in quite a few go-fast parts after the initial rebuild. I was probably into it for about another $1000 just to get it roadworthy again, but then the mods started, and I spent a lot more for all the goodies. It did (and still does) carry a "branded title ("REBUILT/RESTORED"), but it was my personal favorite of the many Thunderbirds that I've owned and built. In the end, I didn't really get the money out of it that I would have if it didn;t have the branded title, but I got way more personal satisfaction and enjoyment out of it than money could buy.

Here's the end result of my initial $1350 purchase...after 6 years of driving her. :biggrin:

 

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Got any pictures of the actual car? What is the insurance company going to give/charge him if he wants to keep the car?
 

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aurbis said:
He want 4k. And he said it will NEVER be drivable, he said he got a certificate of destruction and there is no way to ever get it back on the road, save for switching VIN plates off another mustang...
Is that a FL thing? Here they report the car as a total loss, but once it's fixed you just get the insurance company to verify the repair, pass the state inspection, and get a new title issued for the car. If there is no hidden dammage I would be looking at it. How fast were the cars moving at impact? What type of impact was it?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'll ask him how much for the car, without all the extras (probably 4k in aftermarket parts alone).

I don't understand the certificate of destruction thing, first time I ever heard it. I'll ask the DMV about the rebuilding process. (Unlike NJ, the DMV here is ultra-fast, kind and knowledgable)
 

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thats insane.... you should be able to fix it.. but like stated above it will caryy around salvage for the rest of the cars life... who knows mabey the car was worth less then what the reck cost? i know if there is more cost in damage to the car then they will total it...
 
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