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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone have experience w/Crown Auto, a small (one man?) operation in Gaithersburg?
 

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I have dealt with Doug Mitchell many times over the last five years or so for repairs and upgrades (including a complete transaxle rebuild) and have always been completely satisfied. Being a one-man operation turn-around times are a day or two longer. (This is partly because he has to mail order parts.) Doug was a mechanic at a local Alfa dealer until that dealer went under after the Alfa pullout of the US.
 

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A big fan of Crown

If I had not met Doug when I bought my first Spider in 1996 I don't know how long I would have kept it. He proved that Alfa ownership can be affordable. Always friendly service at the best prices around. Not the fastest shop since it is small but very skilled, especially on the older cars. My '83 Spider is up there getting synchros rebuilt now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Good to hear. My car is up there at the moment also. He seems to have diagnosed and fixed the problem--along with others--and all of it very reasonable. I'm very pleased so far.
 

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Does the shop have a fenced in lot for cars that are sitting around awaiting service?
 

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Fences? We don't need no stinkin' fences...

No, it doesn't, which can be a good thing--like if you want to drop a car off after hours. I've never had a problem leaving my car there the past dozen years. It's lit, and behind a motorcycle shop.

Now I feel a little bad though about publicly stating something like that... so I'll balance it by saying there is a huge snarling dog named cerberus that will appear and dismember anyone with nefarious intentions. AKA non Alfisti ;c)

--Brewster
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just thought I'd followup for those who are interested to say I was very happy with Crown and Doug Mitchell. The job was more than I expected but for good reason (the one-thing-leads-to-another conundrum, ending with a bottom-end rebuild). But here's a little detail that tells me how honest he is--he bent a tie rod getting the engine out and rather than just charge me to replace a tie rod (and not tell me how it happened, like I imagine less honest mechanics would) he told me and ate the cost. I wouldn't have known the difference. I also know he gave me a generous estimate on what his actual labor probably was. Highly recommended.
 

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A couple of years ago I drove one of Doug's own Spiders, a 120,000 mile car on which he had rebuilt the tranny. It felt like new. In preparation for the trip to Chicago I decided to have him rebuild my 113,000 mile 1983 Spider's. My car was quite drivable as it was, and with double-clutching I rarely ground gears, but it felt its age. After Doug's very reasonably priced rebuild, I can downshift on the fly to second or third. Every shift feels great. I never owned a brand new Alfa but this car now feels like my 20,000 mile Quad did, and much better than my wife's 50,000 mile 1991 Spider. I commend Doug on this job and recommend him to anyone else seeking to eliminate synchro and chipped gear issues.
--Brewster
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Reviving this many-years old thread as I was wondering if anyone knows what happened to Doug and Crown Auto? The number is disconnected - I fear perhaps he's out of business. I was checking as I am back in the market for a possible Alfa (my 78 bit the dust).

Either way if I can sometime soon perhaps I'll swing by, but it's a bit of a hike from where I live.

Absent that, what are other favorite Alfa specialists in the DC area? I know about Milano Motors and the Difatto (sp?) folks in Baltimore.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Update re: Crown. I drove up there today and it is indeed no longer there - now a towing business.
 
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