do I keep it? ideas for after the fire

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88AZSS

Master Mechanic
Mar 13, 2018
378
93
Mesa, AZ
As others have said, its going to be clearer for you once you actually get your eyes on it first hand. If your insurance (and in some cases state law) allows for owner retention of the total loss vehicle then you'll have to decide if that's the route you want to go. If you can salvage the reusable parts for another Cutlass/G-body or even part it out and sell them then youll at least make your money back from paying the salvage value to keep it. The smell would be my biggest concern after wiring. Some stenches simply never leave. Sorry for your loss and best of luck.
 

popeye1978

Greasemonkey
Thread starter
Jul 4, 2014
216
43
I saw the car at the yard in September and ... it wasn't as bad as I feared. My buddy & I examined the car for over an hour, focus was on gaskets & wiring. For now I've decided to keep the car, issues noted:
  • Car was sitting next to a Ferrari that burned-down to its shell but at some point the Ferrari rolled towards the hole in the floor, looks like most heat damage was to the left quarter & rear -- molding on the quarter panel fell off, left quarter extension will have to be replaced whenever I get to dealing with paint, left taillight & left side marker completely melted into themselves, both reverse lights became wavy, and right taillight started to melt ... but most bulbs & their sockets were ok! [all those lights had to be replaced to make the car road-worthy]
  • A few chips in the front header panel and rear bumper, two spots on the hood and two spots on the left sail panel where paint has detached from the body, some marks in the clearcoat where (I guess) the car cover "burned-in" and a bunch of black residue or marks from the car cover melting to the car
  • Soot everywhere, got rid of most of it with an exterior wash and plan to get it detailed to clean-up the interior & engine bay
  • Chunky mulch-like stuff in a bunch of underhood crevices, I think remains of the car cover
  • I had a replacement headliner that was fabric attached to a molded-plastic headliner board ... the entire thing deformed, the portion over the rear seats actually bent-down at a 90-degree angle -- looking in the rearview mirror all you would see was headliner, sitting normally in the rear seat you couldn't see the windshield [headliner had to be removed to make the car road-worthy]
  • Both windshield and rear window seals were shot, now have replacement windows
  • Lots of surface corrosion on the wheels, I think the (wet) car cover just trapped all the humidity
  • The trunk and interior had their usual scent with a tinge of smokiness that seems to be gone after airing-out the car in my garage
  • Something is up with the alignment of the front bumper, I think from how it was moved-around at the building or the yard
Car runs and as of December can legally be operated on the road, next step is to get fluids flushed & get wheels/tires/suspension checked-out by a mechanic I trust

First two pictures are the same picture that show where the car was in relation to the fire but in 2nd I've highlighted it, rest are from the yard in September

MK19050494, Att 2, Photo.jpg MK19050494, Att 3, Photo w highlights.jpg IMGP7270.JPG IMGP7255.JPG IMGP7262.JPG IMGP7263.JPG IMGP7259.JPG IMGP7258.JPG IMGP7256.JPG IMGP7257.JPG
 

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85442/86buick

G-Body Guru
Feb 12, 2013
712
93
Cornfield , Ontario
WOW , but looks a lot better than I was thinking it would.

I save it !

Hopefully insurance company ( or 2 ) offered a reasonable settlement & the buy back was low.
 
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pagrunt

Geezer
Sep 14, 2014
7,725
113
Elderton, Pa
Haven't heard anything on the recovery from that fire for awhile. Glad your Cutlass came out with repairable/replaaible damage. Has the insurance company settle with you or are you still waiting?
 
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CopperNick

Royal Smart Person
Supporting Member
Feb 20, 2018
1,923
113
Canada
If the headliner took a hit then it is a safe bet that there is more hidden damage to the interior than can be seen through the windows. +1 on the issue of smell from the fire. Survey also does not cover things like the cabin to frame rubber insulators and whether the fire got into the engine bay and wreaked havoc there. Engine may not have burnt but you might still have to dig into it to check for possible warpage due to the heat. For sure some of the gaskets would have been effected and the carburetor or throttle body could easily have taken injuries as well.

If you love it that much, buy it back, harvest and salvage everything you can, and ship the hulk to the crusher while you find another core and build again. Been there done that for a 78 Monte I used to have. Picked it clean and let the scrap dealer take the corpse away. He was none too happy because most of what got tossed was more rust than steel.
 

popeye1978

Greasemonkey
Thread starter
Jul 4, 2014
216
43
Haven't heard anything on the recovery from that fire for awhile. Glad your Cutlass came out with repairable/replaaible damage. Has the insurance company settle with you or are you still waiting?

I had Agreed-Upon Value coverage with Hagerty, they were very good during the entire process.
  • StorExpress gave me the OK to get the car mid-August, talking with the adjuster about options he made the arrangements to get the car towed to the Copart yard in West Mifflin (Hagerty & Copart have some deal that storage was free, my guess is Copart recoups its costs when a vehicle is sold at auction) where first the appraiser saw it and then I saw it
  • Appraiser saw the car a few days after it got to the yard & I was informed of the "it's totaled" decision around 25 August, a few days after the appraiser had submitted his paperwork
  • I didn't see the car until early September, wanted to see the damage myself before making a decision ... I didn't make my decision until early October, in the mean-time I was calling-around to different places to evaluate my options & see if a plan could be formulated if I decided to keep the car, plan for now is evaluating mechanical & electrical status
  • Once I told Hagerty of my decision, I was asked where I wanted the car to be towed and to confirm my address, got the settlement check a week later and a refund on the unused time of my policy (for the car) a week after that
 
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DRIVEN

Geezer
Apr 25, 2009
7,665
113
*CENSORED*
Glad to hear Hagerty treated you okay. That's who covers my car as well.
 
So they paid you back for your coverage while it wasn’t in your possession? If so, that’s impressive!
 
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ck80

Comic Book Super Hero
Feb 18, 2014
4,181
113
FYI - in the future I'd recommend refusing the release of the car to any copart. They use forks to move around cars, particularly once they're designated "total loss"...

Most insurance companies assign which yard the car goes to depending whether they exp ed ct it to be a total loss based on initial damage.

My bet is that front bumper being pushed in was from the loader sliding the forks underneath, then the weight shifting as the car was lifted/tilted and the front bumper/nose took the brunt of the weight of the car.

Check out your brake lines and such for being ripped, stressed, crushed pr crimped from the forks.
 
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