A salvage title is the automotive equivalent of the scarlet letter. It’s a branded title that forever ensures that the car will never quite be worth what an average example of the breed would. That said, once it’s repaired, nobody but you, the DMV, and your insurance company would know exactly what the car had been through.
This black 2016 Dodge Charger Hellcat that we found for sale on eBay wears that scarlet letter well. While cars are typically only marked as salvage in the event of a serious problem, this 35,000-mile Hellcat offers few clues as to its past, and the description is similarly bare. It only contains the necessary caveats about titling and insuring salvaged vehicles in your state.
With a buy-it-now price of just $36,300, it could be the bargain of the century for a competent mechanic, but given its salvage branding, we’d just as likely stay away. There’s no telling what troubles lurk beneath that sinister black exterior.
On the outside, there’s no visible body damage, but the alignment of the hood with the front fenders and bumper is quite suspect. Inside, both front airbags have deployed. The description outlines “minor front frame damage.” Given the insured value of a Hellcat, we’re not sure how “minor” that damage actually was to warrant salvage branding.
There are a few times where we might consider a salvage title vehicle for a project. Freshwater floods lack the corrosive elements of salt and might be well worth cleaning up, depending on how high the water went. Theft recovery cars might be a safe bet too, assuming the car wasn’t wrecked after it was stolen. In this case, though, the frame damage—no matter how minor—makes us want to run for the hills.
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Author: Cam VanDerHorst
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