Here’s the Real Story of That Ludicrously Bad Dodge Charger Hellcat Frame Repair

Some thought the repair job was so bad that it had to be a joke. It wasn't—and now we know more.

When we initially shared a video of a Dodge Charger Hellcat with an awful subframe repair in April of this year, some folks told us that we’d been had—that the video was surely a joke, a fake. More recently, though, multiple people who have actually seen the car reached out to us with more photos of the damage, subsequent repairs (if you want to call them that), and an explanation of how this Hellcat got so badly mangled in the first place.

Its story begins February 19, 2020, which is when a Vehicle History VIN check specifies as the date when this Hellcat was sold to its last known private owner. At some point during that owner’s possession, the Hellcat was stolen and crashed, presumably by the person who stole it. We initially suspected that the kind of crash that could tear a subframe asunder would have left it with plenty of additional, invisible damage, and our suspicions were confirmed when an individual (who wished to remain anonymous) reached out with the photos below.

“Whoever drove it ripped the weld off the subframe,” this individual told The Drive. “The car has a theft on the AutoCheck, along with an accident. The right rear quarter panel was replaced along with a good bit of the inner quarter panel, tagging it with structural damage in our system. The differential is broken, and the left rear CV axles are torn. The right rear wheel hub is loose.”

Our source confirmed that this Hellcat now wears a salvage title and that the VIN plate photographed in our original story (2C3CDXL94HH509864) is correct. Shortly prior to the first story, the car was sold for $30,000 to a dealer in Florida, which we’ve learned flipped the car to a national wholesaler for $33,000. The car has since been resold again for an unknown sum to another dealer, where it has—at last—had its subframe replaced with the appropriate (and safe) factory part.

The Drive

“I did the repair for a buddy of mine who is a used car retailer. He got the car at auction after it was sent from Georgia up to North Carolina,” said our other source, a technician at an unspecified Toyota dealer. “It turned out the only thing damaged in the front was the subframe itself. There is a clunk noise in the rear but I think it may be the exhaust.”

We haven’t been able to get an answer about where this Hellcat is headed next, though we have been told it’ll be the cheapest example in the market by as much as $10,000. So, if the car of your dreams is a yellow 2017 Charger Hellcat, be on the watch for one that’s several grand cheaper than the rest. It may be a bargain, but it may also quickly become your worst nightmare.

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