I am often asked “How many RSA's have been totalled?” To be honest, I have no idea. It is actually a very difficult question to answer because there is more than one definition of the term “Totalled”. I assume the person asking the question means how many have been destroyed. I can tell you that I'm aware of 15 that have been reported to me as totaled, a further 5 still around with a salvaged title and another two stolen and not recovered. I'm sure that this is just a small percentage of the actual number of RSAs totaled, salvaged and stolen RSA's and we may never know the true number, plus ... I can understand an owner not e-mail me saying “Hey - guess what......?” when they have just balled up their Porsche. The difficulty comes when a car is damaged .... badly - as in a high speed accident where primary structure is impacted, and the owner is either paid off by his or her insurance - or in the case of a track accident (where most insurance is null and void) the estimate for repair is prohibitively high for the owner - thus making the car beyond economical repair.
What usually happens next (in both cases) is that the “wreckage” is sold off for a minimal fee.
I understand that some vehicle repair shops see a damaged 911 as a high cost-of-repair and low return on selling price item. Others however, recognize that the price premium for an RSA can change the dynamics of the deal significantly.
It is not uncommon for a car which has been bought by a repair shop for virtually nothing due to it having a salvaged title - perhaps as a result of an Insurance company settling with the owner and selling the damaged vehicle, to be rebuilt/repaired. I am aware of more than one unscrupulous bodyshop that repaired the car and then registered in another state where, after completion of the repairs, i.e. at the time of inspection and registration, it certainly appears to be a legitimate road worthy vehicle.
Why go through all this trouble you may ask? Well, doing so is referred to as “rinsing the title” and can be very lucrative because it means that the vehicle is now issued a clean title. Such cars often look to be in better than average condition considering their year and mileage.
As the saying goes “If it looks too good to be true ...... it almost always is!!” Caveat emptor = buyer beware!!
It never ceases to amaze me how grown adults - even some intelligent ones, get totally overcome with emotion when they see a car they want to buy. The number of times I have had an excited potential RSA owner tell me that he or she has found a car in excellent condition with low mileage (maybe 30-50K miles) that they assure me it is “totally original and has absolutely perfect paint ....... no scratches, no dings, no stone chips, no flaws .... none!”
Now let's just think about that for a minute shall we?
Picture if you will, what kind of driver, and what kind of driving techniques they must use, and what driving conditions would facilitate a vehicle - any vehicle, to be driven even only 30K miles without a single stone chip or visible sign of wear and tear. To me it is pretty obvious that one of three things is going on here. Either:
- you are not looking at the car closely enough or
- it has been repainted (as in - it is most certainly NOT “totally original”) or
- lastly it is indeed the eighth wonder of the world, a miracle car and everyone else is going to be really jealous of your incredible find.
Now ......... I like Porsches - almost all Porsches. I particularly like 911's, more specifically, I REALLY like RS America's - my hunch is you probably had that figured out by now.
Most of all ........ I like driving them, I also like working on them, I even like cleaning them - I like pretty much everything about them - including looking at them ......... HOWEVER, I have a hard time looking at damaged RSA's. Not only is it unpleasant to see a beautiful car smashed up (I guess some people like that sort of thing, as a very successful website called Wrecked Exotics proves), but it is disturbing (to put it mildly) to consider that somebody might have been hurt. So, after some consideration that I have opened a page on the website I will call “In Memoriam”. This page is not intended to provide some sort of gruesome pleasure to those who watch races just for the accidents, so much as to remember great cars that are no longer with us (unless of course they have had their titles rinsed and are now back among the living).
If you recognize any cars on this page and are both willing and able to provide more data on them, perhaps we could tie a VIN# to some of these cars and jointly combat title rinsing and help stop new owners being suckered into buying someone else's wreckage.