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cavilry 09-08-2016 08:17 AM

Vintage Customs: Customers Beware
 
I've been waiting to get my car back before posting this for fear of some sort of retribution on their part, but since I don't think I will ever get it back...might as well.

My experience with Vintage Customs in Tacoma, Washington has been the absolute most stressful and distressing interaction, of any kind, in my life. After seeing their projects on AlfaBB I dreamed about someday getting work done by them, and now I would give anything to have not done so. I recognize that any business interaction will have a few speed bumps so I do not EVER post negative reviews, but I just have to in this case.

Below is a brief description of a few of the many pain points I have faced with them over the last 17 months. It's mostly a chance for me to vent so I don't explode, but hopefully someone will have some suggestions on how to proceed, and hopefully others will avoid the issues I have faced. If anyone has questions on the below or wants more info on the issues, happy to provide it. I have email documentation of all of this...


In March of 2015 I decided to reach out to Vintage Customs to get my car across the finish line. It had been an ongoing 5-year project with a combination of work between my father and I, Andy Schank on the body, and Terry Tinney on the Engine/Transmission. I needed some help with the final assembly (primarily trim), interior, wiring, and plumbing to get the car done.

After a number of calls and e-mails with Daron at Vintage Customs, I was exceedingly excited to get going. I arranged to borrow a trailer and by the start of April of 2015 it was in his hands in Tacoma. We had a great conversation and walked around the car going over everything we wanted done. Since he wasn't writing it down, I took the time to send a follow-up email that evening that covered everything I needed done.

I was quoted a "top end" of $15,000 and a promise that "we don't like to have cars around here too long, so we can try to get it back to you before the end of summer(4-5 months)." I am now at over $20,000 and over 17 months, $5,000 over budget and over a year over schedule, with ZERO update as to when I will have my car back and how much more I will have to pay.

The first month was a flurry of work with regular photo updates. I was so pumped! After about 2 months, the photos stopped streaming in with such regularity and I started getting worried. I contacted Vintage Customs MANY times with no response or with a cagey "we will have to get back to you."

They bill weekly for work done, and I always payed within 2-3 days. As we crossed the $10,000 threshhold, I asked "I am okay if we have to go a bit over, but I need to know by how much I should budget extra." They took this as an opportunity to say that they slowed work to "give my wallet a rest" even though I never asked for that.

Through the holidays and Spring I got zero updates as no work was done. Frankly, I gave up for a few months. I had just decided to leave one job for another and was focused on that. Work resumed on my car in late spring and I was excited to see progress.

Until...they started losing things. Because they had sat on my car for so long, they lost my brand new brake rotors I had bought to put on there, they lost my brake lines, they lost my Master Cylinder, and they lost my calipers. All the while claiming that I must not have sent them up...Luckily I had photos to the contrary, at which time they miraculously found them.

They also forgot what work they were doing. I had to dig up my original email outlining the work to be done. Daron said he would tape it to the car, which he evidently did not as he still has to ask me questions of the work to be done.

In June, I was promised I would get the car in time for this year's Concorso...obviously that did not happen.

In June I was also told on two separate occasions that the engine would be running by the following week and I would get a video. It is now September and I haven't received one. It is clear that Daron doesn't know my car as there were no headers on the car. The day AFTER he was supposed to have it running I called for an update and he said "oh, which headers do we need for you?" How was he supposed to have it running with no headers? Also:

We spoke many times about the fact that the engine had not been run since being rebuilt by Tinney. Despite this, Daron forgot on multiple occasions that the engine had to be broken in. The last time, he said "oh, good thing I asked!" I had even taped a "NO OIL" note to the engine...

Based off of Daron's recommendation, we decided to go with a '69 dash, grille, and center console. Despite that, the other month I received a photo of my original center console that had been recovered. I received a bill for the work done and asked if they had mistakenly done the wrong console, and asking for an answer before I could pay the bill. It's been almost a month with no response from Daron.

My last conversation with Daron I thanked him for his hard work (I have been extremely cordial this whole time) and said I would try not to call him too much, but to please let me know how the work was going. He had the nerve to tell me "Oh no, please call. If you don't we might get distracted with other projects." It should not be my job to keep you on track.

Daron has now essentially disappeared. I get no email replies except the one reply asking me to "forward the email to Ariel (his shop guy) as he would be out of office until September 5th." I called on the 5th only to hear from Ariel that he wasn't going to be in until the 6th now and that he would give me a call. Yesterday, at 4:30 I still had no call so I called in. Ariel answered again and told me that Daron had not come in after all, but that I would get a call today...we'll see.


Listen...the work they do is amazing. And I know that everyone says "oh, things always take longer and cost more," but FREAKING COMMUNICATE WITH ME. And don't make false promises! I had promised my girlfriend a tour this summer my mythical Alfa, that she doesn't think really exists. Now I have to go back on that promise.

I pray that in a few more weeks this will all be a nightmare I can forget. I will have my beautiful car back, I will tuck it away for the winter (thanks for missing another driving season) and then I will pull it out and enjoy my 7 year dream.

Patillack1961 09-08-2016 08:52 AM

Man, what a horrible experience. I like to occasionally surf their vids on youtube. Sounds like he needs to keep better records as he has too much work to keep track of just mentally. On the videos the cars seemed to stay around for a long time to me, but I just thought it was a shop for people with deep pocketts. ( their work does appear to be top of the line.) I pray your car will be done soon to standards above what you expected and all will be well( and soon).Remember, brother" This is only a test."Seems like you're passing.

Scalino1300 09-08-2016 08:59 AM

I feel sorry for you, what a nightmare. I hope it will all turn out well in the end (apart from the massive amount of extra time), but it doesn't look like it. I really enjoy watching their videos, top work they can deliver. It's a shame that's not the way they communicate.
Regarding communication, I think that is the single most important thing while working on someone else's belonging. Sadly that lacks quite often. As you say, things almost never go to plan with classic cars, but at least be open about it and work it out together with the customer. My father recently had a similar experience (with what should have been regular maintenance), a lot of money and time down the drain, as well as a lot of frustration. Hopefully my fathers car will be on the road tomorrow or the day after. I hope your car will soon be too.

101/105guy 09-08-2016 09:05 AM

Unfortunatly,
this is a common trend with car painters / rebuilders / restorers.....
They start small, do remarkable work, and recieve many kudos.

Then the flood of customers come.....

Quality falls down, schedules go out the window, and little lies turn into major subversions.....

Parts disappear as they are needed to get other customer cars done.

All you can do is get your car out of there.

velocedoc 09-08-2016 09:45 AM

If you are that concerned, I would hop a plane, go to the shop and at worst, rent a truck/trailer to take it home. If you are standing right there, all the BS goes out the proverbial window.

cavilry 09-08-2016 09:52 AM

Thank you all for validating my fury. Haha. Good to know I am not crazy.

Just got off the phone with Daron and it will be running today apparently (though he "doesn't know how your battery got so dead."...maybe because you've had it sitting for 17 months?)

My fear of picking it up is that A) they've already been paid, so why would they care? and B) I have no idea where they are at with a lot of things and I don't know that I could finish any of their incomplete work.

Alfar7 09-08-2016 10:06 AM

Hmmnn...
 
I bet you could find a member of AOC in Tacoma that might be, or know an attorney that could be paid to drop by the shop and have a serious discussion with your contractor. And give him a completion date.

That or go get your car on a trailer and then break his knee caps.

I`m surprised you sat on your hands while this has gone on so long!
You should have done monthly visits after the 5 months past....

Shame on you!

101/105guy 09-08-2016 10:11 AM

"That or go get your car on a trailer and then break his knee caps."

A little uncalled for.......

paulie123 09-08-2016 10:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 101/105guy (Post 7195529)
"That or go get your car on a trailer and then break his knee caps."

A little uncalled for.......

Sometimes that's all people understand. I always state that if there's a problem with a contractor it will be more than a business problem. Lots of scumbags out there.

ossodiseppia 09-08-2016 10:43 AM

I've heard great things about Daron and his shop. However, I will never do business with that man. In 2007, my dear friend Papajam shipped his car to Vintage Customs. Somehow, the trailer his car was in and his car disappeared. The trailer an the contents were reported stolen. Daron, handled this very poorly and it became a battle between Jim and Daron's insurance company.

http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/pict...tml#post340950

http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/alfa...ar-stolen.html

If I were you, I'd cut my loses and get the car.

mygtveloce 09-08-2016 11:14 AM

XXX
 
XXX

cavilry 09-08-2016 11:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mygtveloce (Post 7195625)
I would expect weekly/daily increases in expenses, delays and complications. I would plan to smile and throw money at it each and every time in order to stay on the good side of your provider.

Sorry, and obviously not directed at you, but I think that is just a big crock of sh*t. No other industry underbids their work, both on time and money, to such an extent. And then says with a smile "welp, that's the nature of the work!" I understand unplanned issues and the costs, but not 400% longer on time and 50% higher on cost (so far).

I worked hard on this car to get it within 80% of finished, this is not a full restoration.

And ultimately, what really pisses me off is the lack of communication, the lack of transparency, and the obvious inability to track my project. I know this is a far cry from Canepa, but when I walk into their garage everything is perfectly organized with lists of EVERYTHING to do, including polishing the key fob. How difficult is it to produce, and follow, a build list and properly catalog parts (which, btw, they invoice me for everytime they do work).

ossodiseppia 09-08-2016 11:39 AM

It's not uncommon for things to be uncovered while a car is undergoing restoration. I had quite a few surprises on mine while it was in the body shop.

cavilry 09-08-2016 11:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ossodiseppia (Post 7195689)
It's not uncommon for things to be uncovered while a car is undergoing restoration. I had quite a few surprises on mine while it was in the body shop.

Totally, I am not arguing that. With the two other people I worked with that happened. But again, the body had already been restored. The engine, transmission, and diff had already been finished. With a few exceptions, every piece of work Daron has done was outlined before I ever even brought up the car.

ossodiseppia 09-08-2016 12:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cavilry (Post 7195705)
Totally, I am not arguing that. With the two other people I worked with that happened. But again, the body had already been restored. The engine, transmission, and diff had already been finished. With a few exceptions, every piece of work Daron has done was outlined before I ever even brought up the car.

My comment wasn't aimed at you.

I hope you get things resolved and get your car.

Alfaboutvegas 09-08-2016 04:58 PM

my heart goes out to your situation, hope it is resolved SOON!

acurtiss 09-08-2016 08:07 PM

Man, I sure hope this isn't the new 'normal' for our vintage Alfas. I'm having similar issues (though on a much smaller and less frustrating or expensive scale) with a shop I won't name here, primarily because the owner is at least acknowledging his lack of communication as a fault of his, and taking responsibility for the situation. Anecdotally, I know of at least one other experience with Vintage Customs that was not positive. Good luck with your GTV.

Alfoonery 09-09-2016 02:41 AM

Join the club - and yes he is really that bad..........

Alfoonery

BostonBertone 09-09-2016 06:46 AM

352 Attachment(s)
I could have written this post given some experiences I had - the fall off in communication especially. I does seem to be a pattern with shops as another poster shared. My advice sadly is to get the car back and finish it yourself. I had to do this and got over it in the end. My confidence is so much higher now. I think with the support of this forum almost anyone can do it if they take their time.

I hope this isn't the case for you but the next stage when you get the car back may not be fun either. As you go over the things you paid them to do you may find some were not done perfectly and you will want to redo it. e.g. Radiator rubber mounts weren't used, exhaust heat shield wasn't installed when a new exhaust was installed, parts you gave them are missing and need to be tracked down.

I think if you want it done really well you have to pay a lot more than you want or do it yourself.

ossodiseppia 09-09-2016 06:53 AM

I cannot find Vintage Customs listed with the BBB, but don't let that stop you from filing a complaint. You can also post a review on Angie's List. It's now free.

cavilry 09-09-2016 09:50 AM

Thank you all for the continued support and suggestions.

Surprise surprise, I got no video of a running car and no photos of the installed dash and console as promised.

Other than spreading my experience for the benefit of other Alfisti and BB members contemplating their services, does anyone know of any other recourse available?

Any thoughts on picking up a 90%-completed car? How many headaches will that present?

ossodiseppia 09-09-2016 10:44 AM

As long as you and Vintage Customs agree to terminate the job and there are no outstanding bills, you should be ok. Hopefully, your car is not missing any parts.

Maybe a surprise visit might be in order. You can put your eyes on the car and document the condition and any missing parts. You might never see the missing parts, again. Once you document what is on the car, you'll have proof should you go with legal action.

cavilry 02-07-2018 10:12 AM

For inquiring minds, I still don't have my car back...a year plus since my last post...

Though I have seen more progress after sending an email calling them out. I do feel bad for Daron as I know he has some health issues but I just can't believe how long it has taken. Below is my email...just to give some perspective on why I am so upset.

January 24th, 2018

Daron...I've been as patient as I think any man can be. I've been as respectful as I possibly can to everything you have going on. I've understood and commiserated with you over illnesses and stress, I've done everything I can to ensure I don't add to that while still trying to keep a handle on my car. So please, do me the respect of reading the following and replying or calling me back.

You've lost parts of mine and charged me for them. At my urging that yes, indeed they were there, you miraculously found them. (brake lines, brake calipers, turn signal stock, etc. etc. etc.) So when you tell me I am missing something, why should I trust you (I have, and I've paid for it).

I've reminded you multiple times when you've FORGOTTEN what you were supposed to do to my car. I had to spend an hour going back through every communication to piece together a build list for you. I have very little confidence that what I initially requested will be fully realized with my car when you keep forgetting what we agree to.

When my 15k budget was blown to oblivion, I understood and paid my bills without complaint on time, every time.

When my 4 month deadline passed, I understood...When my 1 year and 4 month deadline passed, I understood. When my 2 year and 4 month deadline passed, I understood. Because of this I've missed out on cruises with my father, dates with my wife, car shows, car rallies, etc. All of this would have been possible before, which is why I bought the car. Now I have a baby on the way and all of the ways I'd planned to enjoy my car will be different or not possible at all. I missed out on a huge part of my life with this car because of YOU. The way I had you build the car was for me in a different part of my life...now that part of my life has passed. For example, I would have put the back seat back in if I'd known I would have a car seat in my life.

This was the car that I've wanted to use at my wedding since before I could drive, before the car ever existed. Ever since I was a kid I've dreamed of having an Alfa at my wedding...I didn't. In fact, in the time you've had my car I've MET A GIRL, PROPOSED, MARRIED HER, AND AM NOW EXPECTING A CHILD WITH HER. The crazy part? SHE HAS NEVER SEEN MY CAR!

I've spent almost 3 YEARS waiting for my car.

My fresh paint job I paid so much for...isn't fresh. My tires I bought are now a year and a half older than they were. My wheels that I scraped money together for...I haven't seen and god knows how they're doing after sitting for three years in a shop.

And all along through this process I've kept my cool as much as I can. All I've asked for is honesty, transparency, and communication.


Do I need to be an *******? Do I need to contract my lawyer to dig through all of the various communications we've had? Do I need to be a millionaire who you're intimated by? Do I need to be a guy with a race season coming up? Because I'm sorry, but I'm not. I'm a guy who has money for one car...one car that you have had for 3 years come April.


You told me on December 13th to give you two weeks to provide me with a delivery date for my car. I've now called weekly ever since. I've talked to Jacob and left a message, I've talked to Ariel and left a message, I've left voicemails...and never a call back. How on God's earth do you run a business like this Daron?

Please...please Daron. Tell me when I can have my car back.

Chris

horsewidower 02-07-2018 10:53 AM

Heartbreaking.

It's experiences like this that make me keep doing my own work.

I hope you can come to a satisfactory resolution.

Bob

kpc655 02-07-2018 11:16 AM

You're a patient man!...

Go get it, throwing good money after bad is never fun. if it truly needs a professional hand to finish, try santos.

ossodiseppia 02-07-2018 12:09 PM

This is so sad, Chris. IF you haven't paid them a visit, please do. If you pay them a visit, you will be able to see exactly how good or bad things are at that shop.

You really should consider a visit. Phone calls and emails are not sufficient.

If your car is painted, you really should just go get it.

JJr 02-07-2018 12:14 PM

This was a excruciating read! You are well beyond patient.

I can't imagine this happening. I spoke with Daron a year ago and he seemed well and ready to take on my GTV project had I been ready to go.

I agree with kpc, fly up, grab a one way truck & trailer, have proof of ownership, maybe even inform the local authorities (should you think there may be a issue) prior to traveling.

Are you sure your car is actually there?

Good luck!

nealric 02-07-2018 12:23 PM

Sorry to hear about the saga- it's the stuff nightmares are made of but surprisingly common with shops that do this sort of work. Shop owners get in over their head for one reason or another and can't complete the work.

Since they've not made any moves towards getting their act together, I'm going to agree with others to say that at this point you should probably just go get your car regardless of what state it's in. As someone who recently did the newborn baby thing, I will say that you CAN continue to make progress on your car. Even if it's slow, you know the work is getting done.

VenturaAlfa 02-07-2018 01:12 PM

Vintage customs
 
Hi Chris,

So sorry to hear about this. 3 years on a car that was 80% finished when you took it to him is just completely unacceptable. You really need to do one of three things: Go visit them yourself and see if progress has been made; have someone on this board go pay them a visit and check the car out for you; hire an attorney to write them a demand letter and be prepared to follow up on it. (I would only do the last one after you have done one of the first two).

Two custom shops in my area have relatively recently been closed due to fraud and their owners sent to jail. Both were highly regarded shops prior to this happening. One was in the VW community of guys; you can read about it on the Samba board under Robert Kalstrom or Endless customz. The other was a shop preparing pro stock and pro touring cars. I helped get back the 66 Chevelle that was at the pro stock shop. After being told for two years and $50,000.00 that the car was near completion the owner flew over here from Sweden. What we found when we got there was body in primer, no engine and no interior. There were a few miscellaneous parts but nowhere near a complete car. The shop owner disappeared while we were looking for the car. He was later arrested working at another shop 3 hours away. What got him arrested was that he began bragging on another board about what a great job he had done on this particular car. Riverside police arrested him and they prosecuted him for theft and fraud. Last I heard he is still in jail.

Good luck, I think your going to need it.

Ventura Alfa

VenturaAlfa 02-07-2018 01:30 PM

Vintage Customs
 
Sometimes a little sleuthing can possibly help. If yours is the burgundy 72 with the gold rims and 69 interior there are 4 current pictures of it on instagram. You say he doesn't contact you, well they seem to find time to post on instagram on a regular, almost daily, basis.

If you haven't before now google "Vintage Customs, llc." You will find an instagram account and 4 pictures of a burgundy 72 GTV like I described. The copy with the first picture says the car will be leaving them "very soon".

Hope this helps.

Ventura Alfa

cavilry 02-07-2018 02:03 PM

Thank you all for the words of support and encouragement. Makes all of this BS a bit easier to handle.

One nice thing that I can say about VC is that they opened up a photo stream at the start of the job. They then regularly share photos along the way. These photos went from a few per week to a few per month to a few per quarter. Since my email, I am back to a few per week. So unless they have a cache of photos from before that they are just feeding me, the car is there and it is being worked on. The day after the come to Jesus conversation I got sent a video (can't post here, but below is the link on my Instagram) that showed a lot of progress.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BeasvlAH...n-by=ctnaegele

I will say a few things to counter my negative narrative about VC:
• They have acknowledged they messed up and as a result are only charging me for a minimal amount of work and any parts that have to be ordered.
• The work is admittedly...amazing
• One of the issues could have been on me. Apparently there were two unpaid invoices from 2 years ago that no one ever mentioned...I can only assume they were accidentally deleted from my email without me noticing. They totaled less than $1,000 but it was always showing me as not paid up. Apparently, whenever Daron would sit down at the start of each week to make the work list for what cars would be worked on, he took unpaid invoices into account. I just don't know why no one ever told me or why he made those decisions without checking in with me.
• Daron has offered to arrange delivery (if) when the car is done.

cavilry 02-07-2018 02:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VenturaAlfa (Post 8051945)
Sometimes a little sleuthing can possibly help. If yours is the burgundy 72 with the gold rims and 69 interior there are 4 current pictures of it on instagram. You say he doesn't contact you, well they seem to find time to post on instagram on a regular, almost daily, basis.

If you haven't before now google "Vintage Customs, llc." You will find an instagram account and 4 pictures of a burgundy 72 GTV like I described. The copy with the first picture says the car will be leaving them "very soon".

Hope this helps.

Ventura Alfa

Great find. Yup, that is my car. "Million boxes" You gotta be kidding...

papajam 02-07-2018 02:24 PM

Just as an FYI, Daron's last post on this BB was on 08 June 2014.

ossodiseppia 02-07-2018 03:13 PM

Well, those pictures give me some hope the car is really there and that they are working on it.

You are not the only customer that has been jacked around by this guy.

I'd still go get the car.

classicalfas 02-07-2018 03:41 PM

Just brought back some very angry, frustrating Vintage Customs memories of my very own. My car was out 4 years total. I received it back after 2 years with an absolutely horrendous paint job, fully paid and 100% over budget, they took it back and repainted it, after another 2 f'ing years! He is full of stories, apologies and excuses. A real con artist, funny thing is everyone thinks he walks on water. I have spoken to a bunch of people after my experiences and they had the same outcome. Willing to take their car back in its condition for the sake of getting it back period. Whoa, take a deap breath now and pour yourself a nice drink.
Chris, take my advise in my PM.
Rant over.

classicalfas 02-07-2018 03:44 PM

Oh, and I still have the photos from when the car came back the first time if I am not to be believed.

101/105guy 02-07-2018 05:27 PM

Hmmm...

I should check with a local friend who sent his Giulia Super Colli wagon to them a few years ago.\
Not heard if he got it back !!

180OUT 02-09-2018 10:51 AM

If there's an axiom that everyone pursuing restoration work should follow it's this: One of the biggest mistakes you can make in having restoration work done is to simply drop your car off . . . and then go away and wait for it to be finished. While there is a logic for this since this is how most people interact with car shops, the restoration process is vastly more complex and an entirely different experience from taking your Alfa in for a service and tune-up. Restoration can easily, although not always, take years to finish and can involve multiple specialists doing work on your car that are no longer employed by the shop. For reasons unknown or simply odd, delays can and will probably happen and estimates and timelines with both escalate and disappear. At one end of the restoration process you can have a splendid result, a car that exceeds your expectations---while at the other end you can have a shop going out of business and actually abandoning your restoration.

What I'm talking about here is simply the practical reality of the car restoration business. While there are variations on my examples, I think I'm right in describing what you can expect to encounter. That said, I think it's also important to stress the importance of staying on top of the job. If you are having restoration work done plan on regularly visiting the shop doing the work. This can pose some problems if you happen live some distance from the shop but, IMHO, it's important to physically visit the shop and see the work being done with your own eyes. You need to be there, preferably once a month or, even better, every other week at least. Ask about where your parts are stored and, if necessary, do your own inventory on "unobtanium" parts. Make a point of being informed of the various stages of the restoration so that you know when and how specific work is being done---and by who. Shops are busy places and with people coming and going, parts can easily go walkabout.

Good shops will welcome this kind of attention and understand completely why you are doing it. Any shop doesn't want to let you see the work they're doing or talk to the guys doing the work isn't a shop you want to be doing work on your car. Recently, I visited a "restoration" shop thinking they might do some work on my Super. When they wouldn't let me talk to the staff or visit the work areas "due to our insurance" I promptly left. Simply put, if a shop doesn't want paying customers around, you're in the wrong shop.

Alfajay 02-09-2018 11:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 180OUT (Post 8054977)
I think it's also important to stress the importance of staying on top of the job. If you are having restoration work done plan on regularly visiting the shop doing the work. This can pose some problems if you happen live some distance from the shop but, IMHO, it's important to physically visit the shop and see the work being done with your own eyes.

Right! Phrased a different way, having to chose between a local shop who may not be a specialist in your particular marque, and a "big name" shop located some distance away, the local guy is usually the right answer. Yes, you will have to pay for the local guy's education, but you will save overall by regularly monitoring the job.

Quote:

Ask about where your parts are stored and, if necessary, do your own inventory on "unobtanium" parts.... Shops are busy places and with people coming and going, parts can easily go walkabout.
When I was having my Sprint GT restored, I would visit the shop ~ weekly, bringing and retrieving the trim parts (grilles, tail lights, etc.) as they were needed. I didn't allow them to sit around the shop any longer than necessary. I trusted the proprietor and employees of this shop completely, but random people were coming and going from the facility. Also, "unobtanium" parts that go walkabout aren't necessarily stolen - they can get inadvertently thrown out, packed with a different customer's car, stepped on, driven over, or just irretrievably lost.


I hope this doesn't come across as criticism of cavilry - when he sent his car off to Vintage Customs, the proprietor was active on the BB, he was posting videos on YouTube, ...; in other words, he seemed credible. But apparently health issues, financial issues, or ??? have arisen since that time. At this point, a trip to Washington is probably cavilry's best next move; sending more emails probably won't accomplish much.

180OUT 02-09-2018 02:18 PM

Quote:

Also, "unobtanium" parts that go walkabout aren't necessarily stolen - they can get inadvertently thrown out, packed with a different customer's car, stepped on, driven over, or just irretrievably lost.
Well said! My 1750 GTV is a good case in point. A number of years ago the previous owner put the car in a friend's shop for a bare metal respray and interior refurbishment. For some reason---nobody at the time could explain why---the interior fittings: door hardware, door cards, arm-rests, carpets---literally everything but the seats---was thrown in the dumpster and hauled off before anyone noticed. This was a disaster because Alfa USA wasn't supplying trim parts for cars this old and the vintage parts suppliers were not yet in business. As a result, my GTV was sold to me with a "make-do" interior which can now fortunately be relatively easily replaced with proper door cards and sundry hardware. But as these "unobtanium" parts couldn't be replaced their absence caused considerable angst with both the shop and the GTV's owner. I will add that my friend's shop was a reputable and well respected shop which turned out first class work. Although they don't like to talk about it, even the best shops can screw up.

I'd like to add that over the years I've gotten to know Daron and consider him a friend. Every time I've called with a question, Daron or one of his guys has taken the time---and this is a busy shop---to help me solve my problem. Not many shops will do this and, like letting you see the work being done, this is one of my litmus tests for a good shop. I've also had an opportunity to closely inspect several examples of the work performed by his shop---both full-tilt restorations and less-complex repairs---and the quality of the work on these cars was unwaveringly first-class.

Please note that this is not intended to be a rejoinder to this thread but rather an observation that I've made of some examples of Vintage Custom's work. In particular I can mention the Giulia Super owned by our club president. Simply put, this car is the finest restored Giulia Super I've ever seen. This is saying a lot since the body that Daron had to start with was quite honestly more rust than metal: the entire bottom third had to be remade.


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