Vintage Customs: Customers Beware - Page 6 - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #76 of 178 (permalink) Old 02-14-2018, 07:53 AM
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...instead I got a video of the headlights being turned on...I guess that's something.
That is not something! That is BS! Bring a trailer. Get an attorney.

Spending my kids' inheritance one mechanic at a time.
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post #77 of 178 (permalink) Old 02-14-2018, 09:36 AM
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Wow What a tale !
It's the classic story of "nice guys finishing last" If you don't demand performance on the contract or agreement, you get shuffled to the back of the line and taken advantage of. Seems pretty clear the shop is very unprofessionally run. A good mechanic doesn't necessarily make a good business manager.
Golden Rule number one in life says: "Don't pay in advance" On a job like this, you can make progress payments as work is verified. People who willingly pay beyond the work accomplished are asking for trouble
The incentive to get the job done is lost This is true for any type of contracting, not just auto restorations

If the car is substantially finished, I would cut my losses and go get it out of the shop, document everything (it sounds like you have better records than the shop) , and get an Attorney if an agreement can't be reached about the money already overcharged, and the failure to perform as promised.

The car can be finished in a more responsible shop located closer to you It's not rocket science and this shop doesn't have a monopoly on Alfa Romeos.

It's clearly time to take charge of the project Stop being a carpet.
Sorry if I come off hash, but I react strongly to being cheated and so should you.
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post #78 of 178 (permalink) Old 03-17-2018, 07:11 AM
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So disheartening to hear, love the VC videos. Can you please continue with updates.
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post #79 of 178 (permalink) Old 03-19-2018, 07:30 AM Thread Starter
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Here's the latest:

Last week I got a video of the car being driven around in front of their shop. One taillight was out and it was running a bit rich, but Daron believes he can have the car ready this week.

Accordingly, I am working on getting some time off work to fly up and check out the work. Assuming everything checks out, he will be paying for half of the shipping cost to have his delivery guy get it down to me the first or second week of April. Fingers and toes crossed...
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post #80 of 178 (permalink) Old 03-19-2018, 07:57 AM
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So you're willing to wait another month and then allow him to deliver the car , why wouldn't you expect issues to arise from the time you inspect the car in the shop to when it arrives on your doorstep?

Unfortunately I think you made some mistakes in handling this the last few months, I would do all the arrangements for shipping take it out of his hands!! Good lUck you need some.
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post #81 of 178 (permalink) Old 03-19-2018, 04:26 PM
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Here's the latest:

Last week I got a video of the car being driven around in front of their shop. One taillight was out and it was running a bit rich, but Daron believes he can have the car ready this week.

Accordingly, I am working on getting some time off work to fly up and check out the work. Assuming everything checks out, he will be paying for half of the shipping cost to have his delivery guy get it down to me the first or second week of April. Fingers and toes crossed...
Hope things turn out the way you want and that you can share some pictures soon.

Eliseo Carrillo
105.30....Scalino
101.23....Little Green Spider - now back home with Dr. Rex
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post #82 of 178 (permalink) Old 03-20-2018, 07:46 AM Thread Starter
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So you're willing to wait another month and then allow him to deliver the car , why wouldn't you expect issues to arise from the time you inspect the car in the shop to when it arrives on your doorstep?

Unfortunately I think you made some mistakes in handling this the last few months, I would do all the arrangements for shipping take it out of his hands!! Good lUck you need some.
I am inspecting the car on 3/23, when the work is scheduled to be completed. In theory, two weeks later when it is to be shipped, nothing else will need to have been done and thus no issues will arise. If there is anything that doesn't meet my expectations on 3/23, I will send him back to work and fly back up to inspect the work before allowing it to be shipped.

I don't presume you meant any offense with your comment, but it definitely came across that way. Sorry I "made mistakes" but I can not afford to turn down his offer to cover shipping, nor can I afford to keep flying up there.
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post #83 of 178 (permalink) Old 03-20-2018, 11:58 PM
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I didn't, I apologize if it came off that way, I would hate to be in your shoes. I really hope you receive your car back in proper shape.

My gut feeling is you should have pulled it months ago, I hope you prove me wrong and your car is wonderful. Best of luck!
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post #84 of 178 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 05:11 AM
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Take a coating thickness gauge with you to check for too much bondo.

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post #85 of 178 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 08:33 AM Thread Starter
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Take a coating thickness gauge with you to check for too much bondo.
They did not do any bodywork, engine work, or transmission work...just interior, electrical, brakes, and carbs. One of the reasons I was so shocked the price has ballooned and the timeline has gone up 900%.
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post #86 of 178 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 08:41 AM
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They did not do any bodywork, engine work, or transmission work...just interior, electrical, brakes, and carbs. One of the reasons I was so shocked the price has ballooned and the timeline has gone up 900%.


You often hear about bodywork becoming a nightmare like this, but this is particularly galling given that list. A good mechanic could do a complete rebuild of the braking system and whatever work on the carbs in a day or two. Interior and electrical is a bit trickier, but they've had more than enough time and budget to rewire and reupholster the car many times over.

1986 Spider Veloce Turbo
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post #87 of 178 (permalink) Old 03-25-2018, 03:03 PM
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They send you bills, and send you bills, and send you bills. If your car is worth something, the bills will get so high you will lose your car.
I'm sorry that you had a bad experience at Daron's shop, but what you are describing is a practical reality of the restoration process. Auto restoration always costs a lot more than you might expect to have to pay, and takes far longer than anyone who hasn't done similar work might imagine. Moreover, the worse the condition a car is in combined with it's potential worth when completed is a guarantee that the car will be hard to restore and that costs are going to escalate exponentially. More than a few people get started in a restoration, find that they're over their head and have to bail out with an unfinished car. Similarly, I've known more than a few shops that have gotten so upside down with their billing and hours that they've had to go out of business. Restoration is a tricky business for everyone concerned.

For instance: restoration shops seldom do driver quality paint. But in order to get their splendid, high quality paint jobs it's sometimes necessary to do a job two or three times. Moreover, it's not at all uncommon for a restoration shop to put in many hours just color sanding and compounding a single panel. My friend and mentor, Tony, once painted a subsequent national concourse winning Rolls Royce three times before he was happy with the result. And, yes, his customer understood why he was being asked to pay three times for the same paint-work.

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They won't give you an estimate because that way they can't send you bills, and send you bills and send you bills. They would have to stick to the estimate.
I think it's customary for people contemplating having their car restored to think in terms of regular bodyshop work where you get a written estimate, detailing the work and costs of the repairs your need done. Restorations, however, usually involve hundreds of hours of shop time and years of work.

Given the complexity of the work needing to be done along with all manner of unexpected problems that always accompany the work, restoration shops simply can't produce the kind of fender-bender insurance estimates many customers expect. The most honest shops will simply tell you that they can't tell you how much you're gong to have to pay, because that's the literal truth---they honestly can't tell you how much you'll have spent in the 3 or 5 years it might take to finish your car. Some restoration shops nonetheless will provide an "estimate" because that's what their potential customers expect. But if they do you can bet they've added an extra 50% or so to their best guess of what the finished price might end up costing.

It's probably more realistic to ask for an estimate to disassemble the car, another for stripping the paint, etc., although few restoration shops like to do this, preferring to simply charge for the work as it's being done.

At the beginning of this thread, mygtveloce commented that " . . . restoration is for rich guys, or mechanics/craftsmen. . . Otherwise, it's trouble waiting to happen . . .". I agree entirely with these comments. Speaking only for myself, I have no intention of getting involved in a full-on Alfa restoration. Don't get me wrong here: I genuinely respect those, both on the shop side and the customer side, who do restore old Alfas. While I have friends with the disposable income to finance a best-quality restoration, other friends who are mechanics/craftsmen and love the challenge of restoring their own Alfas; based on what I know about the practical realities of the restoration process, it's simply not something I want to do. Instead, my advice to one and all is this: if you aren't one of the people mygtveloce describes, the best thing to do is to simply search out the best Alfa you can find, and buy it! And then you can enjoy driving a great looking splendidly driving Alfa. That's what I did with my pristine, entirely enjoyable, wonderfully driving, Guilia Super.

Jim . . . '72 Super 1300, '70, 1750GTV, 2nd series,
'62, Lancia Flaminia Zagato3c, 2nd series

Last edited by 180OUT; 03-25-2018 at 10:49 PM.
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post #88 of 178 (permalink) Old 03-25-2018, 03:28 PM
There's a real problem if a professional restoration shop can't give an accurate estimate (say within 10%). If you have sufficient experience with the marque then you pretty much know what to expect and what it will take to make it right. In the case of 105/115 Alfas, just about every part is available and a bill of materials is pretty much a no brainer. If we're going to do a start to finish restoration we'll assess what we see with the caveat that once we blast the shell we'll revisit the quote. Many times we've had to correct the quote based on the reality of what we find but most times we've built in a worst case senereo initially and the final quote is less because there's less to do. Nobody get crabby when that happens.

The thing is, replacing a rocker is pretty cut and dry (pun intended). It doesn't matter if it's got a dime sized hole or the whole thing is rotted. It takes X hours and Y in materials. A shop that has been doing the same cars for 10 years has no excuse for grossly underestimating the cost and the time to do this work.

Now, I would agree that a unique, one of a kind model that no one has ever seen and no information exists in a totally different story. Get your checkbook out for that one. But a GTV... there is so much info on this forum alone that you could practically build one from scratch...
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post #89 of 178 (permalink) Old 03-25-2018, 05:21 PM
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A common process I’ve watched play out time and again, is a guy wants his car (or airplane) restored. He shops around looking for quotes, thinking he can lower the cost. People give him estimates, and all sorts of reassurances about their skills, credibility, professional methods, and track record. He picks the most charming vendor, who has estimated about 60% of the highest.

In my experience, the lowest final cost comes from the shop that quotes (or estimates) the highest amount, and specializes in doing ONLY that one model of car or airplane. They will have the special tools, on hand parts, capable and available vendors, and the tribal knowledge that will give them the confidence to make that quote, or close estimate. They know how long it takes, and the management skills to slide the project through on time, on budget.

I’m kinda working with a local fellow now going through this character-building experience. He seems to think there’s a secret path to getting his resto done for less than is possible. As a result, lost energy, false starts, and mission drift.

Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.

There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

Don P
Carson City, NV

Past Alfas...
59 102 Touring (first Alfa $500 running)
65 Sprint GT (2nd Alfa, $500 daily driver)
102 Sprint (never did anything with it, but wish I had)
74 Berlina (first new car - now certainly rusted into oblivion)
61 Giulietta Spider G-Prod Race Car (where is it now?)
84 Spider Veloce (rarely drove it, so sold it)
86 Quadrifoglio (Dull car - no more 115s for me)
1971 Montreal "The Full Monty". Fair winds and following seas

Current Alfas
59 102 Touring Roadster - restoration complete, enough Alfa for any rational man. Or irrational, for that matter
Oops. Add to the "present" list, 10204 01488, 2000 Touring Roadster project

And past...
Two 1946 Stampe SV4C (c/n 294 "Rocinante" - wife's favorite airplane. RIP), and c/n 235 "La Bon Temps Femme" (gone to a new home, but never forgotten)
Zlin 50LA (+9 -6 gees, titanium spar, 1200 lbs, 260HP rumored to now be in Brazil)
1946 Luscombe 8A
Starduster Too (recently spotted at the Nevada City, CA airport - over 20 years and an entire continent separating it from our stewardship in Binghamton, NY)
1955 Cessna 170B (wife taught me to fly tailwheel in this)

And present...
64 Mooney M20E ("Rambo". My faithful steed for over 40 years) Over 55 years old, and just returned from a trip to Argentina in him
Newest in the fleet
1967 Piper Super Cub on Wipline amphibious floats (a true "all terrain vehicle")
2010 Triumph Thunderbird


You can snap roll an Alfa only one time...

Last edited by DPeterson3; 03-25-2018 at 05:25 PM.
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post #90 of 178 (permalink) Old 03-25-2018, 10:40 PM
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I’m kinda working with a local fellow now going through this character-building experience. He seems to think there’s a secret path to getting his resto done for less than is possible. As a result, lost energy, false starts, and mission drift.

Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.

There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.
So true, Don. I've been around shops for a good part of my adult life. I have yet to encounter a body shop that won't say they can do anything less that top quality work. They may not want your job, preferring to do insurance/crash repair instead, but they'll never actually say they lack the expertise to tackle a full-tilt restoration. I wish I could say I know the insider's secret to find that perfect shop but, alas, I don't. I've seen shops go out of business with half-finished cars sitting on their floor. I've seen other shops that did great work for awhile but then mysteriously started doing crappy work. But, like mygtveloce said a couple of years ago, you have to love the restoration process. And that means it's best to have some knowledge about what is gong to be done in addition to being willing to accept it for what it is---warts and all.

Jim . . . '72 Super 1300, '70, 1750GTV, 2nd series,
'62, Lancia Flaminia Zagato3c, 2nd series

Last edited by 180OUT; 03-25-2018 at 10:45 PM.
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