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TR6 TR6 restoration $$$ Problems long

SCguy

Jedi Warrior
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Well, here's my story...
6.25 years ago I entered in an agreement to have a British car repair shop restore (ground up) a 73 TR6 for me. Well, finally the car is almost ready (the shop really dragged it's feet and I pretty much gave up two years ago). This past month I received my first finanical update even though I had asked repeatedly for one 1 1/2 years ago. The original estimate was $28147.50 (15,840 labor, 7.000) parts on 11/11/98. Now with only the top and the interior trim to go my revised bill is $18,945.20 labor, $15470.00 parts and $6410.00 sublet (paint and machine shop which was part of labor in the original estimate) or a total of $40,646 and... still growing.

As the project was being worked on (within the first three years) I bought (on eBay) and added, overdrive so there is more labor cost. and of course some unexpected items came up (rust).

With the car almost done, we are almost $12,499 over the original estimate. On Friday I told my mechanic that I was not willing to spend any more money. He said that he would not let the car go as is. I mentioned some mistakes that were made in the car like the bumpers which were rechromed without filling two obvious holes in them. So we both kind of politely, got into it. I'm not sure what to do. Hire a lawer and try to renegotiate the price, mediation? or just pay and make sure everything is perfect. I'm pretty passive by nature and he definately took advantage of this by not making my car a prioity.

Oh, one more thing that I'm not sure how significant is would be that on all the parts, I'm paying retail prices. My mechanic paid wholsale. I'm told that this is normal.



/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/pukeface.gif
 

35thbdaytr6

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You are most likely at the mercy of the garage. An Restorations always go way over, and prices have climbed a lot in the last 7 years. I would ask to see an itemized breakdown of your estimate and current total and check for double charges. Labor is fairly close, check parts prices very carefully. Also ask to see the sublet billing, he may be double dipping on body labor. As for him not giving the car back, it's not really up to him. I don't know that turning it legal will help, it will cost the same, and his side will turn it around on you, wondering why you were not down there several times a week to check on it.
 

vettedog72

Jedi Knight
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I have great sympathy for your situation. Don't just get a lawyer get a badass lawyer. Take your written agreement to the lawyer and see if your restoration shop all ready found the badass lawyer to write up the contract/agreement you have with the shop. If you don't have a legal leg to stand on, you will have to suck it up real nice with your mechanic (gag) or you will just worsen your position. The lawyer may be $200/hr but will likely do more for you than the restoration shop has done.

Does some one have a model agreement for restoration and will share same?
 

Dave Russell

Yoda - R.I.P
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Hi Larry,

This is a real bummer. How much have you paid the "restorer" so far? Do you have a written original estimate? If you have anything in writing, you might have a chance. If not, there is a real problem. Tough call, I would definitely spend a few more dollars & consult an attorney who is familiar with California law in this particular area.

Depending on how much you actually have in the car at this time & how much you really want the car, you might consider abandoning the project & just signing the title over to him. There is really no way of knowing if the work done so far is of a quality to be worth the final cost. Depends on how badly you want the finished product. Obviously, shop costs have gone up a lot in six years, but it isn't your fault that it is taking so long, is it? $40,000 plus is a lot to have into a TR6. Buying the parts wholesale & charging retail is pretty standard.

Sorry you are having a "real big" problem.
D
 
G

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SCguy, just reading your post gave me a stomach ache! I feel for you. Unfortunately, sounds as though you are screwed, putting it bluntly. I like Dave's idea, just give him the car. Add legal fees into the mix and you will have a real headache. I know for a fact that one can put 40K into a total resto on a TR6 but it ain't worth it. I have 30+ in mine but did it myself and it has been my sanity for the last 5 years. Obviously you should talk to an attorney next but I don't see this one coming out on your side. Walking away may be your only salvation. Now, I have this nice little TR6.......

Bill
 

Geo Hahn

Yoda
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[ QUOTE ]
...you might consider abandoning the project & just signing the title over to him...

[/ QUOTE ]

Sadly, there are shops (I know of one) who have a reputation for getting cars this way. OTOH, the mechanic may be well-meaning and thought he had a blank check -- goodness knows a thorough resto of a TR could run into big money when you're paying the shop rate for all labor and many new parts are going into it.

As for agreements -- when I had paint & body done on the TR3A everything to be done was spelled out in writing and the price (not estimate) was stated. Since it took 16 months rather than the estimated 4-6 weeks I was glad of the fixed price but of course kept a close eye on the work.

Good luck - hope your shop can meet you part way on this but if they have put the work and expense into it they may not be very motivated to move off stated amount.
 
OP
SCguy

SCguy

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One more update. My mechanic called to ask if I could bring my paper work and meet him on Wednesday. He said that he had a solution to our impasse. Our impasse was basically that I said I want him to stop adding any more charges or give me the car as is. Oh and someone asked how much I have into the project with him. I have $25,500. All I asked is that I want the car finished for the 16,254 that I currently owe. Well see, but if it means adding expenses then I'll be having him fix the bumper which got recrommed improperly.
 

BOXoROCKS

Jedi Knight
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Sorry, but I'll save my sympathy for someone else. My advise, walk away from the car. You want a warrenty from a Brit car expert who doesen't even know a proper TR6 bumper? You didnt do your homework and you picked a bum. After you walk away from the car whats he going to do with it? His chances of finding another sucker are pretty slim to sell it to for his "charges". Then when he finds he can't sell it for his price, thats when you step back in and make him a ☼☼☼☼ him off offer, that he will eventually take. He wants his money,or some of it, not your car. Wish I could be nicer about this but I see it all the time from people who have asked my advise, but didnt really want it. they spend thier money get F**k*d then want me to help fix thier crap for cheesebugers.These people are usually my club friends with deep pockets and short hands.
 

mailbox

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[ QUOTE ]
then want me to help fix thier crap for cheesebugers.These people are usually my club friends with deep pockets and short hands.

[/ QUOTE ]

The only people that can take advantage of you are the one's you let. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif
 

35thbdaytr6

Senior Member
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Dang Box, that's harsh, but true. As a fellow automotive professional, I am also over giving advice to have it ignored. I posted earlier about a guy that brought a 15k car to me for a pre-purchase inspection. I told him I'd save him the $150 inspection fee and he should walk away. It was a wreck! So he bought it anyway and brought it in for me to fix - to which I had to send him down the road. As for paid restorations and other work, there is a big difference between an estimate and a contract.
 

MDCanaday

Jedi Knight
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Having been on the other side of this "fence" I can tell you it's just as ugly !!!Good quality work is NOT cheap, and there is much better money to be made on collision work. The shop must make $$ or go broke, so restoration work represents fill-in , slack-time work. If it were a quality shop, they likely would have better jobs to repair and not need this type of work. The next thing that comes into the equation is the 80/20 paradox, 80% of the work is done in the first 20% of the time, the last 20% then takes 4 TIMES AS LONG!!!!! By the time the car is getting close to done the tech that has the job can hardly stand to look at it, let alone touch the darn thing.
By now everyone hates everyone, and the car too. Very sad and not good for anybody. The solution??? forget estimates, there is no way on earth any mortal can predict a thing that has so many variables, monthly statements, with the agreement that if costs are too high,pay the current balance and load it up (till you hit the lotto).Never let it be a fill-in, stop in and watch the progress when you can, but dont be too pesty , but insist that the work go foreward.But the most important advise is to never start work on a car in poor condition, that will NOT be worth the final bill. If somebody wants to put time into a labor of love thats cool, but dont expect somebody else to fix it on the cheap for you. The catch 22 is that CHEAP does NOT = Good, it equals GRIEF!!!
MD(mad dog)
 

Simon TR4a

Jedi Knight
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Very sorry to hear of your problems, Larry, and I hope the meeting with the shop will resolve the problem.
I can only suggest that if the car is finished to your satisfaction, and you get 20 years of enjoyment from owning it, that perhaps it won't seem so bad.
A modern BMW Z4 or similar would cost the same, and while having greater performance, would not necessarily give you any more pride of ownership or enjoyment.
Good luck! Simon.
 

71tr

Jedi Warrior
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Sage advice above. Look over your original contract closely, if total cost is specified then consult an attorney. You may also wish to tell your mechanic of your willingness to walk away from the project. He'll be stuck with a car worth about $10k on the open market. When he realizes this he may be willing to negotiate a compromise price somewhere between $10k an $20+k that you both can live with. Keep the lines of communication open and if you don't get what you want wish him good luck in finding a buyer willing to pay his price. He'll come around.
 

Stinky

Jedi Trainee
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I really feel sorry for you.
I can't stand parking my car for 5 or 6 months for the winter. I can't imagine losing my car for 6 years.

I'd try to strike a deal with the shop, and get my car back.

Maybe I'm a bit crazy,...but I keep getting stuck on the part where it says "6.25 years ago". What in the world has this guy been doing for 6 years? I could see 6 years(maybe) if you were doing the restoration by yourself, in your garage as a hobbie. But for a "Professional", where this is his "Business",... to take over 6 years? I'm having a hard time swallowing that. I would have flipped out at one year.
 

Rick O.

Jedi Trainee
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[ QUOTE ]
The original estimate was $28147.50 (15,840 labor, 7.000) parts on 11/11/98. Now with only the top and the interior trim to go my revised bill is $18,945.20 labor, $15470.00 parts and $6410.00 sublet (paint and machine shop which was part of labor in the original estimate) or a total of $40,646 and... still growing.


[/ QUOTE ]
That is simply outrageous. Your initial estimate was reasonable, but topping $40K is simply wrong. I'm afraid you are at their mercy since you did not sign a contract, or at least the estimate you agreed to did not stipulate a ceiling amount. IMHO, they've pegged you as an easy target /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/devilgrin.gif and are going to milk you for all you're worth. Time to consider legal help.
 

Stinky

Jedi Trainee
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Rick's got a point.

Anytime I've had work like that done the shop would always call me to authorize any additional work that might be needed above and beyond the original estimate. I could see a (+) or (-) 10%, or something like that, but anything more than a few bucks they should have gotten your approval to do the work.

Another point is,... How can they jump from $28k, to over $40k without your approval? How do they know if you even have the funds available to pay the extra money?

I can't imagine a shop doing all this work, and expense without approval from you, and then they expect you to pay for it? sure does'nt sound right to me.

I betcha it's "Normal Operating Procedure" for this guy. I bet he works out a comprimise with you. He probably had that planned the whole time.
 

mlarnoldTR6

Member
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SCGUY, My condolences. As a newbie this thread has taught me a very important lesson. I'm sorry it is at your expense (Sincerely). I think everyone has been sympathetic and this forum consists of a good cross section of the people your mechanic is interested in working for. Other LBC enthusiasts in your area may be interested to learn about his rather sloppy, if not dishonest practice of stringing clients along. You have been unabashed about sharing your pain here, you might consider sharing this tale with your local clubs. Suggesting this in your negotiations might give you some leverage. 6 years does seem like an extraordinary amount of time to complete a project for a professional, unless there were conversations that indicated you were happy with that pace. If it was his choice to work at this pace, he should shoulder some of the burden of cost increases that occured over time. If he is a reasonable business man, I think he will see the wisdom of a compromise somewhere between the original quote and his current price. Even he will understand that a solution involving lawyers will cut into his bottom line. One more thought is that any incomplete work at this point might be done in a fashion that does not represent his best work if he thinks he might not get paid for it. Consider telling him to stop and complete the project somewhere else or do it yourself. Best of luck to you.
 
OP
SCguy

SCguy

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Well, I've been really interested in everyone's comments. Box's comments were harse (I didn't really understand what he mean about cheeseburgers), but true in that I share in the responsiblity of my situation. I really should have been on top of this project demanding updates and a more realistic time schedule. I wasn't because I was also going through a really nasty divorce and then a year later I went through a nasty custody battle. Checking on the car was not a high priority.

As I head into my meeting with my mechanic today I see my options as: 1) Pay the balance and demand the car unfinished 2)Let him finish the car, set a ceiling on the cost and demand perfection in the car. 3)Threaten to walk away and be prepared to do it. 4) Pursure a lawyer (my experience with lawyers is that no one wins but the lawyer.)

Wish me luck and thanks for all of your comments.
 

35thbdaytr6

Senior Member
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Please update us with the outcome.
 
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