It was like taking a beautiful woman home from a bar and waking the next morning to find… well not quite what you remembered. But you see, I knew she was not perfect when we met, and it took me a while to wear the rose tints from my glasses, however when it did, it was akin to taking home Jessica Alba and waking to find an overweight hairy trucker in a size 8 Glassons T-Shirt.
I learned this by parking her on the street one evening and returned to find the entire RH rear quarter pushed in 15cm in a hit and run. The really worrying part was the 2cm deep filer that seemed to cover the entire guard. It was time for some decisive action.
Now, the last thing you EVER want to hear, and please listen closely, this may be one of the most valuable pieces of information you’ll get; If you EVER hear the phrase “I got a mate that can do a cash job cheap” be cautious, if it’s followed by “Yeah, a bare metal respray will be under 8 grand” back away slowly, palms up, not making eye contact. If you are unfortunate enough to part with said money (as I did) I’m sorry, I’ll skim the next part to save us both reliving the pain.
“The Mate” - 13 months, $4000 and a cut soft-top (because they didn’t know how to remove it, and while stripping the paint with an angle grinder, slipped and ground the top) I was left with what could barely pass for a claw foot bath, some bits were etch primed, some bogged, some welded, in an effort to remove the 1cm thick skim coat of filler that covered the entire vehicle. The last straw is when I went to see the car and it was no longer there, the panel beater had closed down and re-opened under a different name and shifted the car to ‘dry’ storage (now my definition of dry storage and his differ given that my definition does not, and never will include, a back yard, a tarpaulin, bed sheets or old carpet cutoffs) This panelbeater was gracious to give me a courtesy vehicle to use for the duration of this period (and for many months after) I chalked this up to being a victim of unfortunate circumstance.
“The Professional” – 2 Months, $2000 and….well actually not much (although this chap could get the soft top off) Waikato Motor Bodies (I use this name because this business is no longer trading, for pretty obvious reasons) at least stored the vehicle inside, which did make it a little difficult to get it out when he went into receivership (at least a little money came back)
“The Professional Part 2” – 3 Months $1800 and um… a new rear quarter section? I had hope for this one, you see Audrey was parked between a Model A and a Mazda 808 being re-bodied into an RX3 but alas, Audrey was to be kept outside once again to make way for the Car Dealer work that is the bread and butter of so many of these operations. At least it ade it easy to collect her when this one closed down (I was beginning to think she was cursed).
“The Restorer” - 5 Months - $OUCH. Funnily enough about 3 years prior I had some work done on a 1973 Porsche 2.7 911 I had, and was extremely happy, and this fellow and I became very good friends. Unfortunately this (and we’ll refer to him as Mr Wibble) had moved to Poland to start a Classic Mercedes Restoration business, however as luck would have it, chatting to his dad at the local fruit world, he was coming home. Apparently he had purchased a Ferrari 308 in need of restoration and a 3.2 Boxter S that was accident damaged and needed to cash up some of his toys in NZ. He looked at Audrey, and I’m happy to say, saw what I saw.