This goes out to anyone contemplating getting more service life from an older car, or having a car
which you have owned for a long time restored. If you want to find a car to have restored please get
professional advice BEFORE you let your impulses cost you a bundle. Let them help you find an
Facing the possibility of end of life of a vehicle which may have served a family's needs for a long time
and become almost a family member itself, is a stressful juncture often met with considerable emotional
Making a decision to get professional advice before your car is too far gone may enable it to be
resurrected. So procrastinating can be very costly in these matters.
Having as absolutely as much information as possible to make well founded decision is important.
Checking your car over even at multiple venues (different shops may have different specific
knowledge) even for a cost is worthwhile to enable you to compare opinions. This is the time to listen
Moving away from an emotional decision is advisable particularly when it comes to having repairs
performed on what may be judged to be either unrepairable or impractically repairable. Practical
options should at lest be entertained. A good shop should be able to help you with this.
Specialists do it best. Generalists may not be familiar with particular issues your car may have/or be
able to source the right parts/or have had experience particularly with disassembly and reassembly with
your particular car. The general aspects like body work may be handleable at a variety of venues; but the
details may be more challenging for a general shop. Never consider multiple shops handling multiple
aspects of the work unless it is sublet by the shop doing the work. That can be sure death to the project.
Establishing a trusting relationship with a repair shop is. Do you have a rapport with the people there?
Are they really listening to what you have to say? Do the answers you get give you a sense that they
understand what it is you want to accomplish?
If they have been doing what you are asking for many years they're probably proficient at it.
Each shop has its procedures. Just because you may not initially agree with them does not make them
bad. Try to get an explanation. If you absolutely can't live with it just walk away politely. Attempting to
change the shops procedures or ways of thinking or doing business to your ways of thinking will only
cause friction and ultimately alienate you from their process and could cause worse fall out such as
your giving up on the project. Sadly this is the number one cause of customer dissatisfaction but can
be averted by following reasonable guidelines. Examples of mutually beneficial guidelines are:
l) We can't work on your car without a signed repair order. It's a contract.
2) We photojournalize all the work we do and send you pictures weekly.
3) You are billed at the end of our work week for the previous week's work. No exceptions.
Get references. They may be confusing but can help you, particularly if you are satisfied with
generalities like: were you satisfied with the quality or timeliness of the work? Did they listen to what
you had to say? Did they communicate the car's needs? Did any issues arise after the work was done?
Estimates: fogettaboutit: good shops don't give them except for very mundane/ simple work like
Rust: any amount particularly in the structural department often equals end-of-life for your car unless
you want to enter the area of "re$toration". Anything can be done with enough resources by the right
shop. Our policy on this matter (we believe it makes very good sense) is to, if at all possible, offer our
customers alternatives to "rustoration". It is almost always cheaper to find an alternative subject car
than restore a rusty one; and usually the replacement can be made to resemble the original in all
respects. In the case of later RWD models like the 240 and 7&940 these cars can be a relative
transportation bargain. We can and do save our clients headaches and expense by finding better
subjects to restore.
Enjoy the process. If it makes you cringe to think about doing this; or any aspects of the process such
as paying for it OUTWEIGH the enjoyment you anticipate deriving from looking at, driving, or
otherwise enjoying the end result of the work you better think twice about doing it / save the shop and
yourself the misery of your mislead decision.