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-   -   Vintage Customs: Customers Beware (https://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/product-vendor-reviews/535457-vintage-customs-customers-beware.html)

nealric 03-26-2018 01:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 180OUT (Post 8129522)

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.


I think a good shop will set expectations for this sort of thing up-front. If you are a shop that only does pebble beach quality paint jobs, then customers should understand that is what they are paying for up-front, and that it will be an expensive process. A shop should not commence a pebble beach paint job when the customer was just looking for driver-quality. It think it's also worth noting that a do it three times sort of paint job is far beyond what ever came from the factory on anything short of a Rolls Royce or similar. I think the best shops can really do the range. A shop I am fond of will do a race car paint job (with the fact that it will be a flawed job understood up front) for quite cheap, but they can also do high-end resto work for bookoo bucks- they tailor it to what the customer wants and the type of car it is.

I would also point out that this case appears particularly egregious because it is not an example of bodywork scope creep (which can be understandable given that the body can't always be fully assessed prior to commencement of the work). All the work in this case should have been very accurately estimable.

GV27 03-26-2018 02:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alfamaniacal (Post 8125626)
It's a shark tank. 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. 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. It's the law. They will also lie to you. They charge you for working on your car when they are doing other things. The bills are B.S. Walk away. Daron is so full of B.S. it's ridiculous. Very full of himself. You will lose parts.

They have enough business, so do not fall into the black widows web.

There is a reason he has not posted in a while. Oh yes, and they do not answer emails. They do your work, send you a bill, then do the same work again, and send you a bill, for stuff you've paid for. Daron has given me a vision problem. I just don't see how he gets away with it.

I don't think he respects his clients. So if you chose his shop, the minute he fails to follow a promise, yank your car.

That's an awful lot of mud slinging for a user's first ever post. I'd take the above with a heaping helping of salt.

Without knowing anything about this particular case or the parties involved, in general I don't see how you can blame the consumer unless the shop was very clear and the consumer just ignored what they said. If somebody tells me "we think we can do it for X but that might double or triple depending on what we find when we get in there" then fine. But if they say "we can do it for X" then the bill comes up triple that, "we had to do it 3 times to get it right" doesn't cut it.

180OUT 03-26-2018 03:46 PM

Quote:

Quote:

But if they say "we can do it for X" then the bill comes up triple that, "we had to do it 3 times to get it right" doesn't cut it.

If I had a car needing a complete, ground-up restoration---typically a multi-year project---and a shop gave me a price specific estimate without removing the paint, I'd go to another shop. On the other hand, if I'm just having some road-rash repaired, I'd expect that estimate to be an accurate statement of what I should expect to pay. But even routine insurance crash-repair always has room for "supplemental" requests to the insurance company. Just sayin' . . .

Tom Frasca 03-26-2018 04:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GV27 (Post 8130978)
That's an awful lot of mud slinging for a user's first ever post. I'd take the above with a heaping helping of salt.

Without knowing anything about this particular case or the parties involved, in general I don't see how you can blame the consumer unless the shop was very clear and the consumer just ignored what they said. If somebody tells me "we think we can do it for X but that might double or triple depending on what we find when we get in there" then fine. But if they say "we can do it for X" then the bill comes up triple that, "we had to do it 3 times to get it right" doesn't cut it.

I agree ...there are so many elements to the process... however, one rule stands ...he who pays, gets results.

6alfas 03-26-2018 08:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cavilry (Post 8120226)
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.

How did the inspection go?

cavilry 04-02-2018 04:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 180OUT (Post 8129522)
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.



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.

Not sure your comments are directed at me (the original poster) but again, this was not a full restoration.

cavilry 04-02-2018 04:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DPeterson3 (Post 8129730)
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.

This is correct, and why I felt the need to write about my experience with Vintage Customs. I didn't bargain shop, I didn't heckle. I went to the "best" shop based on reviews and conversations I had with other owners. Unfortunately, my experience was far from what I would expect from the "best"

cavilry 04-02-2018 04:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 6alfas (Post 8131578)
How did the inspection go?

Sorry for the delay in updates, all.

The test went well in general. The work quality was good, though not what I would have expected from both Vintage Custom's reputation and the prices I paid. That said, I knew going in the car wasn't done, so I am hoping the last of it is cleaned up this week for delivery next week:

• Taillight was out
• Fuel gauge wasn't working
• A few pieces of trim were missing
• A piece of trim was broken
• Speedometer was not working
• Parking brake was not working
• Suede cover on center console had some stains
• Trunk emblem missing

The issue was clear when I was there: they had over 60 cars in the shop...more than twice what was there 3 years ago when I dropped my car off.

ECARRILLO 04-02-2018 06:29 PM

Hope you get your car soon and that is what you hoped for. Send pics once you get it.

180OUT 04-02-2018 07:44 PM

Quote:

Not sure your comments are directed at me (the original poster) but again, this was not a full restoration.
They weren't. I was referring to comments made by Alfamanical who apparently deleted his post.

It looks like you're about to get closure on a long and frustrating project. That's good. There are quite a lot of people here on the bb who do our own (or most of it) work on our Alfas. We've all done "interior, electrical, brakes, and carbs" which are, taking your time, jobs that can be accomplished over a few weekends. Since you've paid so much over several years for pretty mundane work to be done, I can't help wondering why you didn't want to put your car together yourself? Further, both Andy Schank and Terry Tinney are well respected Alfa fixers. Since both did work on your car was there some reason you didn't want one of them to do the final assembly? Of course, none of this really matters all that much, especially since your car is close to being finished. I think everyone reading this thread will be relieved when you get your car back.

gnuts 04-03-2018 06:21 AM

Wow :surprise: ! Just read this whole thread. $20K and 3 years for a partial reassembly of a car that supposed to be their specialty, *** ! I really do hope you get your car back soon and this misery ends but judging from past performance I'd get that car outta of there RIGHT NOW. Any half decent mechanic can finish the remaining items left to be completed on your car in one day .
Good Luck and thanks for sharing your story.

cavilry 04-03-2018 08:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 180OUT (Post 8143042)
They weren't. I was referring to comments made by Alfamanical who apparently deleted his post.

It looks like you're about to get closure on a long and frustrating project. That's good. There are quite a lot of people here on the bb who do our own (or most of it) work on our Alfas. We've all done "interior, electrical, brakes, and carbs" which are, taking your time, jobs that can be accomplished over a few weekends. Since you've paid so much over several years for pretty mundane work to be done, I can't help wondering why you didn't want to put your car together yourself? Further, both Andy Schank and Terry Tinney are well respected Alfa fixers. Since both did work on your car was there some reason you didn't want one of them to do the final assembly? Of course, none of this really matters all that much, especially since your car is close to being finished. I think everyone reading this thread will be relieved when you get your car back.

Long story short: time, or lack there of and skill, or lack there of. At the time, I was very scared of any sort of electrical work and very much not confident in my own abilities. I did the suspension and pulled/reinstalled the motor/transmission but other than some work on an old Jeep J-2500, I had only ever worked on motorcycles. I'd spent so much time and money on the car that I wanted to be sure it would be done right and find any mistakes I, or someone previously, may have made. Additionally, I was a 27 year old in the process of trying to kick my career into high gear and buy my first house. Add that all together and I felt that someone who really knew these cars would ensure everything was done right and I was willing to pay (a much lower amount) to have that done.

Neither Tinney nor Schank offered to do anything other than the work they did. I very much got the impression they were engine/transmission and body guys only.

I have since restored my 1975 CB750 and done a major overhaul of my 1968 VW Bus...in hindsight yes, I should have tackled this myself.

willwiser 04-03-2018 08:45 AM

As I read through this thread, the elapsed time here is the biggest issue from my point of view and it has been too long for the finish...but...on the labor time...having experience as a mechanic in different forms, when something is disassembled by another person/entity it significantly increases the time required to finish a job. By count, there were at least 5 different people/orgs involved in the restoration. Things have passed through 5 different hands/ labeling/sorting systems, and that assumes that everything is actually there. Even seemingly trivial jobs of finding screws, missing or mislabeled parts or ensuring something was done correctly can be time consuming. A screw broke off in the wrong place can take an hour or even more to correct. An unanticipated electrical problem can take a couple of hours to get straightened out. Inevitably some of the parts that are missing are the ones that are not reproduced and/or are hard to find. Even experts make mistakes that need correcting by others if they are to be responsible for the final project.

Someone noted somewhere why unfinished projects are so inexpensive to buy...this is a major reason why. Even when familiar with a car/marque, the time to complete adds up quickly and is rarely worth paying someone to finish, though the prices on these cars are beginning to warrant picking up basket cases (which seem to follow me home, though they are complete cars).


It is great news that you will be getting the car back soon and I bet that the driving experience will make this part of the journey a distant memory, enjoy the ride.

classicalfas 04-03-2018 09:44 AM

I feel sorry for the owners of the OTHER 60 cars!

ossodiseppia 04-03-2018 11:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by classicalfas (Post 8143914)
I feel sorry for the owners of the OTHER 60 cars!

I was wondering if anyone else picked up on that number. That is an unmanageable number of projects and parts to have in a shop. It's no wonder some parts got lost. Well, probably not lost. I'll bet some of the lost parts ended up on someone else's project


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