When Rich Benoit, the man behind the Rich Rebuilds YouTube channel, took his V8-swapped Tesla Model S to the SEMA show last month, it really got a lot of attention. But while he detailed most of the build process and many of the challenges he and his team faced while building it in several older videos, we had not been given a good look at the finished vehicle until now.
In his latest video, Rich takes the V8-powered Model S to the gas station, where the clerk thinks they are joking and tells them to go joke somewhere else, not knowing that this particular Tesla sedan actually needed the gas to run...
The vehicle itself, as Rich points out early on in the video, is not a throw-away vehicle, one built just to gain attention and publicity, although that still was one of its goals. He explains that they really did as thorough a re-engineering job in turning it from EV into an ICE vehicle in order for it to be a usable, dependable vehicle - that’s why it took about a year for this project to be completed.
It still has some errors, like the fact that it constantly displays a message that it can’t charge, but many of the vehicles original functions that are not EV-specific have been enabled and are working. Rich says that even though this vehicle was painted a striking hue and given flashy wheels to attract attention, it is not like those created on the West Coast Customs TV show where vehicles fell apart afterward because they were never actually designed to be used.
And even if you don’t agree with what Rich and his team did with this project, the fact that they did such a thorough job with it deserves credit. The donor vehicle, a flood salvage car, would not have driven under its own power again, and as a one-off, a conversation starter on wheels, it’s pretty good and, honestly, it reminds everyone just how good Teslas and their electric powertrains really are.