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Y’all ever wondered where some of our totaled cars go? Most are sent to scrapyards which take off viable parts, but then the rest of the car that can’t be salvaged is recycled. Others end up getting shipped across the world, and they get a second chance at life in the hands of people like Arthur Tussik.

In 2014, I had just moved to a new city and had gotten a new job. Unfamiliar with the roads, and traffic, my 20-year old self, glanced down at my GPS, trying to figure out how to get to my gig. Distracted, I didn’t see the taupe-colored Toyota Highlander in front of me. I reacted far too late, and my little Yaris sedan nosedived into the back bumper of the Highlander totaling both cars. Eventually, someone bought my wrecked Yaris and put it on a boat to Nicaragua, where the car was eventually repaired and sold again down in central America.

That’s the kind of work Tussik shows off on his YouTube channel and I’m obsessed with his content. He takes vehicles that could have been thrown away or parted out, and repairs them to showroom-fresh condition. 

Image: Aruthr Tussik (YouTube)

The repairs Tussik does are very extensive and generally are not cost-effective in many western countries where auto-body labor is expensive. The cars he repairs often have heavy frame and sheetmetal damage.

Image: Aruthr Tussik (YouTube)

One of the hallmarks of Tussik is his resistance to using “mud,” or body filler. The vast majority of his repairs use actual metalwork.

Is a frame rail bent? No worry, Arthur will grab his chain and laser level, to pull things back into shape.

Some dents are cut out, and welded in, along the original vehicle’s spot welds. Others, he either pulls out or uses a tiny hammer to beat out each micro-imperfection. The way he works with the metal is artful, almost like a form of car blacksmithing.

His results are stunning. Look at the before-and-after of this Subaru XV Crosstrek, where the whole roof and most of one side was completely replaced.

Image: Aruthr Tussik (YouTube)

Now listen, I know that this can seem very scary for a lot of people who prefer to have a completely virgin, untouched, accident-free car. Sure, a lot of these repairs would probably not be done here in the United States. Keep in mind that “totaling” a vehicle doesn’t always have to do with safety standards or specification.

Totaling simply means that the cost of repair exceeds the value of the vehicle, both of which are typically determined by somebody representing an insurance company. When I rear-ended that Toyota, repairs on my Yaris wouldn’t have been that complicated. But my Yaris was older and had higher mileage, so it didn’t make financial sense to repair it. Labor and parts costs are lower in other countries, so it may make sense to repair something that would be considered a total loss in the U.S. or Canada.

I’ve chatted with a few “old guys” who do bodywork – they’ve said that Tussik is using techniques that are commonly used in most body repair shops. In bygone times, when labor and parts costs were lower, some of Tussik’s more ambitious repairs would have been fairly common.

Anyways, “Kevin was with you.” You’ll get that reference once you watch a few of Tussik’s videos.

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