New owner 1974 GTV has no idea what he got himself into - Page 15 - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #211 of 264 (permalink) Old 06-20-2018, 11:17 AM Thread Starter
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I'm sure your lawyer is the salt of the earth, but I would hate to see his bill after four months, let alone two years. And when you get your case before a judge, he can look at it and decide it has no merit and throw it out. At which point you will be back to ground zero...but now with two strikes against you. The money you are spending going to court would be better spent being put into the car. In the end you will be able to drive it and enjoy it...just not at the cost you originally imagined.
The lawyer took the case on a contingency fee basis so even in the worst case scenario, no settlement, no cost to me.

As for saving the car, the only path would be a full strip down, frame repair, respray, etc so that's at least $40k? It might be worth it but that's not the project I wanted to do.
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post #212 of 264 (permalink) Old 06-20-2018, 11:18 AM
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As mentioned previously if you were going to seek legal remedy you might have tried the small claims court first and only involve a lawyer if he was willing to do it on a contingency basis.

The older I get.. the faster I was....
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post #213 of 264 (permalink) Old 06-20-2018, 11:48 AM
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Evermore, (maybe switch handle to NeverAgain? ;-)

A friend of mine had his 356 repair butchered and sued the bodyshop. It was a slam dunk too. lawyer only pays himself on proceeds, sounds good...

He won (despite almost getting in jail for contempt of court when he got in it with the judge). I think his winnings were around $10K. After paying his lawyer who was cheap, plus all travel and whatever lawyers itemize for, I think he's negative $5000. How does that happen, right ? And 2 years of stress... And almost going to jail for not being respectful enough to a clueless judge... some win huh ?

You shouldn't have bought from BHCC, think of it as education. I'm sorry we failed you or that you did not post about you looking at a BHCC car earlier, whatever the case was, but at this point you are undoubtedly throwing good money after bad unless it's now personal and your mission in life to make them suffer.

Talking about throwing good money after bad, get a pro to look at the car and decide if it's even worth restoring or should be thrown away for parts and get $back. Motor, trim, interior this stuff is $$$... Anything can be fixed, not anything should, financially speaking. I once told you in this thread I was in this situation (better car than yours, was sound at least) I sold the car for parts because I could not stand the sight of it anymore, a permanent reminder I got F$%$ed ! In your case I would do some quick math and probably take a welding class and call it a fun educational project. Or part it out and move on. You're hurting yourself with the suit, but I respect that if it's personal, they are what other dealers refer to as pond scum... Don't compound your mistake, do some math and decide, the forum will help either way. One day this could be the best back from the dead thread ;-)
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post #214 of 264 (permalink) Old 06-20-2018, 01:41 PM
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@Deschodt

Agree 100% with your thinking, with the exception of the way one files a motion ...If the Lawyer was clever enough, citing.. Economic, Punitive, and Noneconomic damages it does open a lot of possibilities. Notwithstanding one does need judicial temperament when addressing the "bench" no matter how stupid they are...

I've been down this road before..

The older I get.. the faster I was....
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post #215 of 264 (permalink) Old 06-20-2018, 05:19 PM
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If the OP cuts his losses, gets whatever he can for the car and moves on, it will all be behind him and he can look forward to making wiser decisions on his next car. If he wants to make BHCC pay for his own lack of due diligence, he is taking a journey that will only keep the wound open and never give him satisfaction.
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post #216 of 264 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 02:39 PM
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File the suit and wait for the response then decide the next steps in the mean time don't touch the car. I once purchased a "rust free" car from a CA dealer that was anything but. It took six months and cost me $3k to get them to take it back and I considered myself lucky as I would have lost a lot more if I sold it having to disclose the condition.

Good Luck
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post #217 of 264 (permalink) Old 06-22-2018, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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Evermore, (maybe switch handle to NeverAgain? ;-)

A friend of mine had his 356 repair butchered and sued the bodyshop. It was a slam dunk too. lawyer only pays himself on proceeds, sounds good...

He won (despite almost getting in jail for contempt of court when he got in it with the judge). I think his winnings were around $10K. After paying his lawyer who was cheap, plus all travel and whatever lawyers itemize for, I think he's negative $5000. How does that happen, right ? And 2 years of stress... And almost going to jail for not being respectful enough to a clueless judge... some win huh ?

You shouldn't have bought from BHCC, think of it as education. I'm sorry we failed you or that you did not post about you looking at a BHCC car earlier, whatever the case was, but at this point you are undoubtedly throwing good money after bad unless it's now personal and your mission in life to make them suffer.

Talking about throwing good money after bad, get a pro to look at the car and decide if it's even worth restoring or should be thrown away for parts and get $back. Motor, trim, interior this stuff is $$$... Anything can be fixed, not anything should, financially speaking. I once told you in this thread I was in this situation (better car than yours, was sound at least) I sold the car for parts because I could not stand the sight of it anymore, a permanent reminder I got F$%$ed ! In your case I would do some quick math and probably take a welding class and call it a fun educational project. Or part it out and move on. You're hurting yourself with the suit, but I respect that if it's personal, they are what other dealers refer to as pond scum... Don't compound your mistake, do some math and decide, the forum will help either way. One day this could be the best back from the dead thread ;-)
- No one's fault on this board, I found the relevant articles too late and assumed BHCC was accurate in their descriptions on the vehicle.
- BHCC is surely at fault, hopefully not just morally but legally too.
- There is a lot of speculation on how this will turn out, will I get my money back after lawyer's fees, or like your unfortunate friend, be still in a big hole afterwards. I think there is only one way to find out and I am willing to see it through. I think regardless, we will all learn something from this case once it wraps up. Actual data versus supposition!
- As for whether the car is save-able, it might be. I am convinced though that any straightening will compromise the heavily bondo'd front panels so a full strip down and repaint would be the way to go then. Maybe it's worth it but it's also a huge investment ($40k minimum and 2 years?), one I am not willing to make.
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post #218 of 264 (permalink) Old 06-22-2018, 10:18 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by John Ireland View Post
If the OP cuts his losses, gets whatever he can for the car and moves on, it will all be behind him and he can look forward to making wiser decisions on his next car. If he wants to make BHCC pay for his own lack of due diligence, he is taking a journey that will only keep the wound open and never give him satisfaction.
I disagree. A seller does have a responsibility. You are NOT allowed to lie and make false statements, it renders a sales agreement null and void. This is not the wild west anymore. Obviously, I am gambling I am right

Last edited by evermore; 06-22-2018 at 10:27 AM.
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post #219 of 264 (permalink) Old 06-22-2018, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by John Ireland View Post
... he is taking a journey that will only keep the wound open and never give him satisfaction.
No offence, but you can't judge that (the satisfaction part), nor can I. Only the OP can judge wether it's worth it, admittedly when it's all over, but still.

If the OP feels he wants/has to follow through, it's what he should do. He only has the chance now, otherwise he might look back and think I should have, when I had the chance (and either won or lost, but that's not my point).

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post #220 of 264 (permalink) Old 06-23-2018, 03:42 AM
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Isn't the problem with all of this that the car was a very poor example which was obvious from the most cursory examination of it? The seller didn't make the buyer buy it. The fact that it might have had a broken rear spring (the very least of its problems) seems to me to be irrelevant. What is truly wrong with it is obvious even from photos of it. The seller has generic descriptions of the dogs it sells with photos - warts and all. It would be a bizarre legal system that found any great fault with selling the worst examples of cars with photos showing just how bad they are.

I don't mean that I don't feel sorry for someone who buys one but I can't see how it is anyone else's fault. Why would anyone but a 40 year old car of a make they no nothing about without getting someone who does know something about it to have a look. If that had happened here, it would take less than a minute of looking at the car to reach the conclusion that the only sensible thing to do was run away.
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post #221 of 264 (permalink) Old 06-23-2018, 09:04 AM Thread Starter
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Isn't the problem with all of this that the car was a very poor example which was obvious from the most cursory examination of it? The seller didn't make the buyer buy it. The fact that it might have had a broken rear spring (the very least of its problems) seems to me to be irrelevant. What is truly wrong with it is obvious even from photos of it. The seller has generic descriptions of the dogs it sells with photos - warts and all. It would be a bizarre legal system that found any great fault with selling the worst examples of cars with photos showing just how bad they are.

I don't mean that I don't feel sorry for someone who buys one but I can't see how it is anyone else's fault. Why would anyone but a 40 year old car of a make they no nothing about without getting someone who does know something about it to have a look. If that had happened here, it would take less than a minute of looking at the car to reach the conclusion that the only sensible thing to do was run away.
The car's listing had the following line:
"An extremely clean and presentable example and as well as being an excellent original California car which is mechanically sound."

I think it's obvious that calling the car mechanically sound is not true. And again, this is not a case of caveat emptor, the seller does have a responsibility to be truthful, at least in US law. They cannot simply lie. In the end, the final word will be either in a settlement or ruling by a judge and that is the only thing that matters. Everyone may have an opinion but it does not mean it is informed and hence relevant (I am speaking in general). The upside of this is that we will have an actual data point, eventually.

As for whether there is something obviously wrong with the car, it may be obvious to members of this forum but NOT to someone who is new to Alfas. If at the very least this keeps BHCC more honest in future listings, don't you think everyone benefits?
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Last edited by evermore; 06-24-2018 at 04:06 PM.
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post #222 of 264 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 08:40 AM
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Any update on this?

Very sorry for your experience.

1966 Giulia Sprint $500 junk yard find. I probably overpaid...
1971 1750 Spider basket case , 1972 GTV 2.0 L
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post #223 of 264 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 02:21 PM
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A couple things. First, a late congratulations on your Alfa. These are special cars when they're right. When they're not ... well!!!

1. The front left tire is worn on the inside edge. Alignment problem - could be fixed easily IF the frame is straight.
2. The frame may be bent. The front bodywork is a clue that the car was in a pretty good accident. The engine oil pan is not parallel to the bottom of the front filler panel. Add to this the height difference in the front fenders - tweaked body lines.
3. The rear left quarter panel looks like it's drooping. That's a sign that the car was rear ended and could have a bent rear frame.

Best to check under the car for signs of damage. Pictures are okay, but real life will give you the true results.

Good luck and happy motoring!
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post #224 of 264 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 06:33 PM
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Sorry, but I'm really late to this thread. Today, I saw a nice looking Silver '72 GTV go for $31K on BAT. There was a link to this thread (buyer beware warning). I jumped to this thread and I saw the notes on the first page and threw my response in. Then I noticed that there were 15 pages of responses. I've read them all and I understand the situation. I will give some professional advice - I'm in the car business in CA and there are laws that protect the purchaser.

Here's what the OP needs to look for.
1. In the docs you signed, was there anything that described the condition of the car? If so, did it say anything about a broken spring, brake booster, old tires or frame damage?
2. In the docs you signed, was there a sheet with a history disclosure? The generic one has a list of 15 or so potential issues - one is for the car being a Taxi Cab. Another for a Police Car. Etc.
3. The advertisement for the car has terms that are subjective, so one person can say a car is good, because it starts when you turn the key, while another believes a good car should not only start, but be able to be driven 50K miles with normal maintenance and no major repairs. Being a 40+ year old car makes the term even more obscure - a 2017 good car is easier to define than a 1970's good car. Get it? So the ad can be used in court, but be advised that the judge may not be on your side.

Things that are good for you.
1. If you didn't sign anything as in #1 above, then there's a safety issue with your car. Every used car (from a licensed dealer not a salvage yard) must pass a safety inspection, regardless of the age or miles. If a used car has 1 mile and is 1 day old it must pass a safety inspection. A broken spring, bad brakes, bad tires, an unsafe engine mount, etc. Those are safety issues and the car should not have been sold in that condition.
2. You have statements on this thread from people who are very knowledgeable about your specific type of car and they have given you advice that the car is not safe to drive. There are posts that tell you to tow the car in vs drive it. That's an unsafe car. You can use this in court as additional proof that the car isn't safe.
3. You have proof that the spring was broken when you received the car, the tires were old and unsafe and the frame is damaged and has a blotched repair (welded braces that are not factory spec). Also, you have an engine that was held in by one bolt vs three - also unsafe.
4. You noticed the problems in the first few days you owned the car. It didn't happen months after you've been driving it.
5. BHCC is a used car dealer and their cars must pass a safety inspection.
6. As long as you didn't sign a history disclosure (item #2 above) that tells you about the frame damage, accident or broken spring or engine mount, you were never told about the problem in writing. If you look at your purchase order (form 553) there's a place where you sign, right below the numbers. It states that all agreements are written on this page and no verbal changes are allowed. So, even if they tell you they put a new engine in the car or it was owned by Steve McQueen - it's not on the contract or the associated documents, so it won't hold up in court.

The bad:
1. There is an assumption that the buyer needs to do his DD. If you've been looking at '74 GTV's, you've noticed that there are no good ones less than $30-40K. Logically, getting on in the $20K's from a dealership implies that the car has issues. Low compression, previous body work (bondo), interior flaws, worn parts, rust, etc - these are assumed problems.
2. When you found out about the broken spring, you didn't contact the dealer. Same for the old tires, engine mount and frame damage. When someone has a problem with a purchase, their first step is to call the store and let them know. It's assumed that IF they don't, the problem didn't bother them that much.
3. You never sent them a demand letter. When you're not feeling good about a purchase, the first thing is to write a demand letter (or email). State what the problem is and what you want them to do about it. For instance: The 1974 Alfa Romeo GTV I purchased from you, VIN xyz, is not in the condition you described. On top of that, there are some safety issues that make the car unsafe to drive. I made this purchase with the intent of driving and enjoying it and I cannot do so, therefore I request that you refund me the purchase price including all taxes and fees. Please include the cost to ship the car to me. Let me know when you will be refunding the money and when you will be sending the truck to pick it up. I will keep the car in my driveway and will not drive it from this point forward. Thank you.
4. You're a mechanical engineer, so it is assumed that you are intelligent and you have a sense of reason and logic. The seller may be able to reduce his liability by using this against you. You're not an average Joe - engineers are known to be great researchers and thinkers. It's suppose to be much harder to pull one over on an engineer.
5. Here's the kicker, and it'll hurt your case if the seller finds out about it. You posted on this site that you believe the car is safe and you had an expert confirm this (sans the spring). The seller could be responsible for the cost of the spring repair, brake booster, set of fresh tires and any other "safety" issues + use of vehicle. So, you may get $2000 out of it and you're stuck with the car. Remember that this is a public thread and you've now publicly stated that the car is safe.

My take. First, I will disclose that I'm an engineer (electrical) also, though I don't work in the field. I also am an Alfa owner - four in my stable as we speak (1983 Spider, 1980 Spider, 1971 Spider and 1974 Spider - in the order purchased). I was burned with my first Spider - the 1983. A warm day in the SF Valley - I was excited and nervous at the same time. I wanted the car so badly and since I had never owned an Italian car and I've watched so many Top Gear shows, it was now formed in my mind that I had to own one of these things. Mind you, I've owned some cool cars from nearly every manufacturer, so my foray into the Italian realm got me going. I answered a CL ad and it was a story car - the seller drove the car for years, but the battery went out and he let it sit too long and the gas got bad, so his mechanic told him not to start the car until he cleaned the tank. Life kept going with family, etc and he decided to sell the car for a loss and to pass it on to someone who appreciates it. I sensed it was a story, but I wanted it so badly that I talked myself into buying it. So, I handed him $2,000 cash, he gave me the keys and title and I set up a time for my transport guy to pick it up. Body was clean. Interior okay shape, but that's fine. Trunk full of junk - ditto for the glove box and map pockets. I sent it to my mechanic and he gave me the bad news. He cleaned the tank and put some nice new premium in it. No start! Then he tells me there's no Guibo, throttle cable and fuel pump doesn't work. So, there was no way this guy drove it. I called the seller and he answered - I asked questions and there was a lot of ummm's and uhhhhh's. I asked for some money back and he said he had to go, but I could call him tomorrow. Well, he never answered another call from me. It turns out that both computers were fried (someone may have put the battery in backward, then tried to start the car??? So, it still sits at my mechanic's shop - he gives me a big discount on labor when he works on it on his free time. I learned a good lesson and the other three I'm okay with. In fact, I'm super happy with my recent purchase of the 1974!

So, back to your situation. I know you're upset and disheartened. I get it and your dream is slipping away. Alfa's have a great fun factor and they have a great cool factor too. You feel young and alive when you drive one! I also feel you shouldn't dump your problem on someone else. So, what do you do? Four logical options:

1. You build your dream track car. The frame is bent and it's not a small problem - you're an engineer, so you know what happens when metal stretches - how do you put it back to the way it was? Bend it back? Cut it out and replace with a new piece? Leave it alone and weld an extra brace? And how strong will the repair be? In my business, cars with frame damage are to be avoided like the plague. They don't cut and weld these days - they just bend them back, however the dimension are wrong and there's a weak spot - remember molecular metallurgy! For your car, I think you'll need to cut and weld - I've seen it done and it's the only way to do the job right. Remove the motor, tranny, doors, interior and get the shell right first. Now your motor mounts will be right and your suspension will align. The cost of cutting and welding isn't that expensive; it's the labor to remove all the other stuff first + the cost of the parts. While it's out, get the synchros changed and check for worn/damaged gears. If it was grinding for a while, the edge of the gear could be bad. Is it hard to move the shift lever to the gate with the engine off? Hopefully not and it's only a synchro problem. Throw a new clutch in, unless it's like new - do it while you're in there. Then rebuild the motor. Pull the head and rebuild it. Low compression typically means worn rings - while it's apart, check it. New bearing below, a set of fresh gaskets and seals and a new oil pump. Spark plugs, wires, dist cap, rotor and points. Tune up the carbs and drop everything in. Check the Guibo, drive shaft and rear diff. Now you have a rock solid drive train. Suspension just bolts back in place. Check the steering box and rebuild as necessary. Interior back together and install doors. If you want to do the body work, do it with the motor out. I have a bad feeling you're going to find that there's a lot more damage than you think, but you can get it all straight and throw a nice two stage paint job on the car. You can do a lot of the work yourself, so that'll save on labor. $10-15K labor, $3-5K in parts and a year of time. And you'll learn a ton about your car and you'll appreciate how special these cars are.
2. Sell it, but disclose the major issues. Accident, broken spring (I'd at least fix this before selling - change two also), engine mount, body work, etc. BAT is going to be your best bet, but don't be surprised if you get $13-15K. Say you get $3K from the seller. You're down a little, but you no longer own the problem.
3. Get the main things fixed (tires, springs and other minor items), then enjoy the car. Do the complete rear suspension first, before tackling the front. If it wrecks a set of tires, who cares - tires are $300-400 a set - cheap in the scheme of things. Learn to rev match - a trick is to rent a manual transmission car for the weekend and try to shift without using the clutch. The synchros will help you get into the gear. Try getting to the point where the shifts are smooth, in and out of gear - based on matching the engine rpm with the speed/gear of the car.
4. Put it in the garage as a "sometime" project. Not a great idea, but these cars are going up in value and even with the damage, you may be able to break out even, BUT your replacement will be that much more too.

Good luck and know that most of us have been in your situation with a car (Alfa or other) - something that we wanted so badly that we didn't do our DD, nor did we thing straight. I know it's painful now, but it's okay. And look at the great connections you've found here on this site! The guys here are awesome and that's worth every penny of the $20K + you spent on the car. In fact, this is the site where I picked up my '74 Spider. 43K mile original!

Most importantly - do what you know is right. Imagine if you sold your car to someone like yourself and they wrapped it around a tree or skidded off a canyon road? Yes, we work hard for our money, but people are always much more important.

Thanks for listening to me.
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post #225 of 264 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 07:30 PM
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This story is sad. A real shame, as it used to be that the parts in question were available as replacements, ie, the entire front sheet metal of the car as one piece back about 8 inches or a foot or so (cut off the old and weld on the new), and the complete front suspension cross member beam (old one easily unzipped and new one installed, any bent rail easily straightened).

Please don't ask me how I know this, but "been there, done that".

This would have made the major repairs he describes much easier, as I had to do in my Sprint GT. It wasn't that bad at all.

Hate to see one of these go to pieces. Maybe find one of the cross members and fronts from a wrecked GTV and do the same?
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previously owned since 1964:

62 Morris MiniMinor 850, 67 Austin 1275 Cooper S (Downton 3/4 race), 64 Giulia Sprint GT (1st red one made), 72 Fiat 128 Sedan, 75 Alfetta Sedan, 78 Alfetta Sedan, 78 GTV, 81 GTV6, 86 GTV6

Last edited by Del; 04-09-2019 at 09:41 PM.
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