Whenever I need to clear my mind from whatever work related task I am on, I occasionally browse the internet for cars that I don’t need. Couple this with binge watching Doug DeMuro videos results in sifting through Copart for modern fun project cars that have a bit of assembly required.
Presented before you is this 2005 Chevrolet SSR with just under 61,000 actual miles. It has some damage and a salvage title which is fine you aren’t trying to make a quick flip. This prime piece of convertible trucking can be yours for the low low price of whatever you want to pay.
Unlike most other things on Copart, this particular SSR looks relatively intact. It appears to have a major dent in the left rear quarterpanel along with some dents on the bed sides and the bed cover.
The inner Red Green in me says get a heavy duty toilet plunger and that dent should pop out no problem. Even the reasonable side of me thinks, pull the dents, replace the rear fender and you have an LS powered convertible pickup truck that is very uncomfortable to sit in for a low price and some elbow grease.
Not so fast my friend, unlike the rest of the GM lineup in the mid-2000s, the SSR was substantially different than just about every other GM vehicle, consequently, this model shares very few body panels with other cars which should make finding replacement parts difficult.
This made me wonder, “Since the rear fender needs to be replaced, can I just replace it, or do I need to remove the whole panel? How hard is it to find SSR replacement panels? How much would one be?” Thus a “Thought Project” is born. Much like a “thought experiment,” a “thought project” is an analysis of all the parts, pieces, and money I may need to complete a car. Of course not every single part can be fully thought out, but this is just for grins and giggles anyways.
The result of this project is yes - you need to remove the whole panel, good luck finding parts, and probably a lot if you find one. I could not find any parts distributors that either make the panel or have the panel in stock. The only listings I found were eBay listings that were north of 4 figures when shipping is included.
That may seem okay especially if you can get this truck for really cheap, but then the thought came into my head, “It can’t be that simple...”
Copart has a history of half-assed rebuilds and disgruntled customers. Most of the time the disgruntled customers are idiots that bid on the car online without actually going to the lot and look at it, then wonder why it doesn’t work. At least that is what I gather from every Copart Ripped Me Off video. No, you are just a person that didn’t bother to go look at what you are purchasing.
This SSR is a perfect example of why you need to physically look at what you are getting yourself into. First off, that all the tires in really good shape, don’t they? Perhaps the original owner just replaced the tires before the accident. Enhancing our view of the damage, unless a tree fell lightly and rolled off, or a soft collision, surely there would be some damage to the tire. The way the damage looks (a punch in on the quarter panel), it looks like something collided into it. So this begs the question of axle, differential, hub, etc. damage. Also noticeable upon photo enhancement is the fuel filler neck is probably not sealed and/or straight. The rear bumper cover isn’t flush with the body which is a bit concerning.
But how do you explain the running board? Wouldn’t that have been damaged in a crash? My guess, is someone already tried to repair this, found a running board and some tires, but when confronted with the body repair, decided that the parts were too much and cut their losses.
Now is that necessarily a bad thing? No, this is actually a very common practice I have noticed. People will buy cars, attempt to fix them, run into a logical or budget issue and resell them, essentially cutting their losses. However, there is a shadier side of clientele that do this exclusively. They will buy wrecked cars and fix them up just enough to make them look like easy fixes, and try to flip them for a meager profit. This is very common on import luxury listings if you watch any Samcrac videos. That is what I fear is going on with this SSR. It may look like a “simple” body repair, but in reality, the hub may not be connected to the differential that is now in the gas tank. How can you avoid a scam like this? Go to the lot and actually look at what you are buying! With that being said, if you are in the search for a “cheap” SSR and don’t mind having some assembly required, here is an option for you.
So let’s get a little crazy, let’s pretend that there is no other damage outside of the body and filler neck. Name your price Oppo?