Avoiding the Restoration Trap
I would like to share a recent story with you about a shop and a client who really got burned. Hopefully this will help I hope to save some of you by sharing his story with you.
A young man had taken his 1969 Camaro to be retrofitted with modern running gear and a paint job at a particular restoration facility in SoCal California. They had his car for over a year and after milking him of over $45,000 they still weren’t finished!
When he told me how much he had in it I fell off my chair, but once I inspected the car I just got plain angry that this unsuspecting car guy had been taken advantage of. His car was not only unfinished, he received lien papers from the body shop saying the car was going to be sold. Had he not received the lien papers he would not even know what was going on. All he knew was that the car was being painted and was not yet completed.
In short, the car was not properly prepared for paint prior to bringing the car to the paint shop and the car was disassembled with missing parts that he had paid for in advance.
The car was worth maybe $10,000! I asked him WHY he kept paying them money. His answer was one I could relate to and understand. He said “I didn’t know, I just wanted my car done and they kept saying they were really close to finishing and needed just a little more money so they could do it right.”
Now he has a shell, no LS engine, no 6-speed transmission, and no pro-touring suspension. Just a car with a big promise to be finished somewhere down the line. More than likely at a big loss.
I want to reiterate, I’m not saying they did bad work. There was no work completed to criticize as being bad. As far as I could see they didn’t do anything but take the car apart and send it out to a paint shop. However, what I did notice was them being dishonest and not having the best interests of the customer in mind.
They took it apart and then they have you by the proverbial ‘balls,’ your car is now in bits – do you take it home or pay them to put it back together? Talk to any reputable restoration shop and they will regale you with similar horror stories to the one above.
The best way to avoid falling into a restoration shop trap, is to ask around. Talk to your friends, and your friends’ friends, and you’ll more than likely find someone that can point you in the right direction.