Anyone that likes to flick around on Freeview will know that Dave (Ch12) and Quest (38) are where the best reality and factual TV shows are. For snack TV I love those auction shows like Storage Wars and Auction Hunters and I’m recently getting into classic car restoration stuff. Shows like Pawn Stars and Storage Hunters are getting too scripted now and so I’m straying towards shows like Salvage Hunters, American Pickers and Chasing Classic Cars. They feel more genuine and we actually get to discover interesting and historic things and sometimes restored to their former glory, rather than larking around chasing an idiot audience. There is something about old stuff being repurposed that appeals to me. We have a small family antique business and my mom tends to buy all that ghastly brown wood stuff and mantle piece clutter that older people tend to buy for decorative reasons and just look at, rather than use it. I just don’t get that. Shabbychic and vintage is all the rage, of course, but restoration is more my thing. The mark up can be big if you know how to fix old stuff. It’s amazing how much money people will pay for old stuff.
My classic motor interest started with Chasing Classic Cars on Quest. It’s a really laidback and relaxing show as a highly experienced and avuncular American chap called Wayne Carini buys, restores and sells expensive classic cars, be it barn fresh restorations or the top end show cars. The guy knows his stuff and loves the cars as we dig out extremely rare and sexy vehicles from trash in field barns in Iowa to auctioning rich guy’s classic car-packed garages in California. There is something about a 1950s sports car that has been lost forever in car design.
Enjoying that show naturally led to the extremely cheaper version over here called ‘Wheeler Dealers’ which originally went out on Discovery. It’s hosted by pseudo wideboy and ex car trader Mike Brewer and a rather middle-class mechanic called Ed China. Mike drops more aitches than wrenches and Ed tries hard not to be posh, even though his hair comes straight from Brideshead Revisited. They work well together and get across their point on restoring and buying old cars really well.
The set up is they have a budget between 3 and 20k to buy a car and restore it and so sell it on for more. The Ferrari Dino 308 GTB was their highest ever purchase. They generally buy an old Triumph Stag or something from some middle aged businessman in the Midlands and do it up and sell it to another middle-aged businessman in the Midlands for a grand or so more. The format is not aimed at car traders so much but enthusiast who want to do up their own projects so lots of tips on car DIY in the show. The sell on price includes new parts and external services procured by Ed and Mike but would not include their labor that would make profit unlikely. They don’t always find a buyer though and the cars often sold on the shows website. Later shows would see the lads go to Europe and beyond to look for cars with the same format. The series is well over ten years old. Brewer also did a spin off show where he intended to continually trade up cheaper cars for better ones with a little TLC with the mission to go from a $500 car to a really classy car in just two weeks in India. I think its starts on Quest next week.
This episode looks at the restoration of a classic Jensen, the poor mans Aston Martin. Cars like the ‘Jensen Interceptor’ from that time had cooler names than actual performance and would have more leaks than a Welsh Farmers and Tory Budget put together. But give me a metal classic from the seventies to these modern day plastic boxes any day. You walk down a street now and all the cars look the same and simply designed to carry 4 people in comfort as they listen to their IPod. Who hits more than 70mph today with the window down today?
Mike picks up the white Jensen for five grand although in worse shape when they get it up on the jacks. Rust and bent chassis are a mechanic’s biggest problems. Your regular grease monkey will always overcharge you for easy fixes and cheap parts on your cars because they have the knowledge but when they charge you a lot on rust and rear end damage then they worked for it. Most car problems are pretty basic and easy to fix and they don’t want you to know that.
Jensen’s were built in West Bromwich between 1966-1976. What tends to happen with sports cars is they are driven at speed by posers and that kicks up water from the tires on to the underside and so rust, the base pretty much gone on this car. Time for Ed to get the welder out. In the 1970s and 80s you could literally fall through the bottom of British cars on the motorway.
The Jensen is still a much desired car but the ugly big back window makes it not one of my favorites. Its Italian designed and packs a straight V8 engine. I’m guessing parts are hard to find but the boys find them and the car is made roadworthy and test driven. It was a rare episode where the markup was slim. It’s a lovely car from the front and very Aston martin DB6 but from behind a Citron Xantia.
It’s a good hour long DVD and any TV show that teaches you something practical and restores well designed things from the past has to be worth watching if you have an interest in the subject. The presenters are gently over-the-top in their presenting style but likeable and articulate the cars history and how to fix it really well. Its one of those shows were not that much feels contrived and forced. These guys know their stuff and they want you to know their stuff.
I was looking to downsize from a BMW 520d Touring to something a little smaller as parking in London is a nightmare.. so I found a nice 325d Touring (Estate to you and me) on AutoTrader.
The company selling it was Guest Motors of Withybrook (near Coventry), it was on a 2008 plate, said it had all the mod cons, leather interior, climate control etc, just one previous owner. I had a look at some of the pictures, but they didn't marry up with the product, there was a pic of a funny looking hole next to the Start button, which instantly made me think of Ex Police Traffic Car / Unmarked vehicle. (I used to own one so I knew what to look out for). I asked the dealer about it, he said it's never been an ex-copper, come up and have a look.
The weather wasn't great (we had just had mega snowfall), which made me think, there won't be many people there and he would have time for me if I visited from London.
After nearly killing myself on the icy backstreet where the dealer was (BMW's hate icy snowy hilly roads with ditches), after an hour or so I was there.
I trudged in the snow to the door (the place looked more like a Stolen Recovered yard they have at the police) thru lines of cars with numbers on the dashboard (hope that's not permanent pen!) and said I'd come to have a look at the car advertised. I asked him if he would like to look at mine as a part ex. His reply was 'can't be arsed in this weather, just look at this one here. take the key and look round' (loving the customer service!)
As I sat in the car, lo and behold, there was a hole next to the Start button, and the Courtesy Light wasn't fitted in properly and came loose. Eek! The seats were cloth, there was no Climate Control, the ventilation controls looked like something from a 1990's Vectra...
The cage fitted to the back in the boot area was the big giveaway. It was an unmarked cop car. Lifting the centre console to look for the cigarette lighter, there was a dirty great hole, and masses of wires. I'm not sure I'm supposed to see the wiring loom like that O.o
I started the engine and the service warning light, of a car on a stand came on, and the guy said 'that's the suspension setting itself to Sport mode' It wasn't.
I'd seen enough, and thought I'd have to put a lot right if I was to take this car. Again I asked if this was an ex-copper, and he denied it. Ok then, I'll call his bluff. Looking at the grubby V5 he pulled from a foolscap folder, the first owner? The Met Police!
'I had no idea it was a police car' he stammered. Surely he knew when he got it from the auctions? There was no service history, no owner's books or any BMW leaflets or anything. 'I can nick them from another car for you mate' he said....
I saw enough and made my sorry way home, on slightly better roads...
These guys are moving to a site in Northampton on the A45, so be careful of them... It didn't help to read in their local rag (Coventry Telegraph) the local Trading Standards fined him for selling dangerous cars. Looks like I had a lucky escape from Robin (and Batman)...
They can easily be confused with established dealers Guests of Solihull, these aren't them. If you do choose to buy a car here take someone with an eye for cars (Friend / Dad / VOSA inspector)....
All I want is value for Money
I bought a Ford Fiesta Fusion 2 six months ago after I wrote my Focus off. It wasn't a serious accident but the damage was worth more than the car. Had I known the problems and service I was going to get from this Garage, I would have got my other car repaired and hired a car for a few weeks.
I had to return the Fusion 2 to the garage three times because of a rattle in the front of the car and the steering wheel blistered which they put on a cover although I reluctantly agreed. The car juddered when taking off, (with an automatic gearbox I wouldn't have expected that).
I bought the car with a three month warrantee and they gave it a service before I had it, and even then we didn't get it on the agreed date; my wife and I had to pick it up the following day. I have had bad vibes about this car ever since.
Last weekend I visited my mother and on the way home the engine warning light came on. This prompted me to go back to my usual service garage to have a look at it the following morning. What a discovery! Although one cannot speculate when an ignition coil may play up but he also had to replace the plugs which were not replaced at the last service. Whether or not the main dealers were supposed to replace them, it doesn't look good for the company.
I feel that had we paid the extra warrantee, we may have had a full and proper service. I also feel with the technical science of cars these days and the ordinary driver not daring to even change the plugs, we the consumers are more vulnerable targets for rogue traders, unless we can pay a mechanical insurance, which can work out expensive as main dealer services start from around £75 per hour labour which pumps premiums up.
Independent Dealers and Car Dealers in general tend to have a bad reputation and quite rightly so for most of them.
However I think I may have found a really good one so thought I would share with you all.
The name of the company is Motorseeker and they have been going for only about a year now, but don't let that put you off as the managing director once owned franchises in Vauxhall, Peugeot and Chevrolet for about 20 years so he does know his business!
They set up dealing in used cars only but have now been granted the licence to see new cars and vans.
They have a very small team of staff so its not the type of place you get hounded by many sales people which can make a nice change. Motorseeker deal mainly on the internet but also have a small pitch in Chesterfield,Derbyshire.
As they are such a small company they offer a service called 'Car Location Service' where you can simply email and phone the General Manager and tell him what you are looking for and he will seek it for you! In affect Motorseeker will do the hard work for you. They will also deliver cars or have them bought in from anywhere in the United Kingdom, they are the most accomodating company i have ever dealt with.
Also as they are small and internet based they have very little overheads and can therefore offer the lowest price on cars and can even undercut the main dealers on new cars!!
I have dealt with a few car dealers in the past and it has always been an okay experience but only if it was certain that I was buying car. I found Motorseeker the complete opposite as they go above and beyond the call of duty and offer that 'exceptional' customer service which can be hard to find in any sales environment today.
I would say that if you are looking for a car at the best price with an excellent service then definately try Motorseeker as it doesn't matter which part of the country your in they will help you.
I was putting my car up for sale as financialy it was costing lots to run and I could no longer afford to run it, and we were expecting a baby in a few months time.it was a new shaped Audi sport, and guzzled the fuel! There seemed to be electrical problems with the on board trip computor causing all sorts of problems.
I had two choices as I was pretty skint, either to sell the car and explain to the buyer that there was an electrical problem and probably take quite a big loss in what the car would sell for
to have the car looked at by a mechanic in a garage to see what it would cost to have it repaired-and if it was relatively cheap,say £150 pounds- have the work done and than sell it.
So I took it a ong to the local garage, Ashfords,in Saltash, Cornwall.
The nice guy there agreed to look at it for me ,and like any other time I have ever taken my car to the garage, I was awaiting the phone call from him with the cost and what the problem was.
I heard nothing all day and when I eventually rang him he told me that the on board computor needed replacing and would cost around £500.
That was it, back to plan A, to sell the car and take a loss, I just did'nt have that sort of cash to spend.
It was than that he explained to me that he himself did not have the right diagnostic equipment in his garage to diagnos the problem and without checking with me first, enlisted the help of an electrical specialist!
I was presented with a bill for £130.
What angered me most is that he never told me that he would need to bring someone else in and that it would cost this sort of money just to look at it.
He said the cost of the electrical specialist was £60.00 and the remainder was for his work.
I later sold the car on to a guy, making him aware of it's problems and took a loss close to £1,000!
It was a very difficult situation because to start with the guy at the garage came accross really nice, so having to complain to him made me feel really uncomfortable.
I wrote a letter to him explaining why I felt unhappy that I should be presented with a bill for work I had not consented to and enclosed £60 in cash, thinking he would understand and that would be the end of the matter.
Immidiately after getting the letter he phoned me asking for the rest of the money, I told him i paid him what I thought was fair, he was'nt happy and slammed down the phone.
He keeps phoning me, at home and on my mobile for the remainder of the money.
It has now been two months since the car was sold.
ALWAYS CHECK THAT THE GARAGE HAS THE EQUIPMENT TO DIAGNOS ANY PROBLEMS AND INSIST THEY CALL YOU 'BEFORE' ANY COSTS INCUR
We recently decided it was time for a new car.We had decided on a Vauxhall, having a relative who works for the company we could earn ourselves a substantial discount. We took a trip to our local Vauxhall showroom to make enquiries. We were left standing around for ages before anyone came to help, then had to wait again for someone more senior to become available. The salesman asked us whether we had a car to trade in - we said a Vauxhall, he told us if we had a Ford he could offer us more!! We saw little logic in this! We told him what we wanted, no prompting from the man in the know and told him about the Vauxhall partner deals available to us. He had to go and check memos to confirm what we said was right. We asked if there were any refreshments available while we waited and were pointed in the direction of a Maxpax machine (20p per cup!!!). When it came to the crunch of arranging to buy the car it was like ordering a take away - "we'll have a number 52, a 36 and a 14 in blue please". There was no buttering up although we were spending a large amount of money. It all felt very clinical and not an enjoyable event at all. Are salesmen so sure they will make sales, they need not make the buying of a new car feel like an event for their customers?
On 4th April 2001 I purchased an M reg Rover 220 Gsi from M K Autos in Saltash, Cornwall, when first looking at the car on purchase I noticed that there was a problem with the passenger side electric window, the problem being that it didn’t work at all. The Clutch was also extremely heavy with a noisy release bearing. I pointed out these problems to the Proprietor of M K Autos, He then checked the window and decided that it was the motor, then he proceeded to tell me that both the window and the clutch work and fixings could be claimed on the 12 month warranty that he sold to me with the car, Telling me that I had to wait approximately 3 weeks for the warranty to be put in place. As soon as the time was up I contacted the warranty company to enquire as to which garage I could have the work done at, and I was told to visit Globe Garage In Quintrell Downs, Newquay. The mechanic at Globe garage told me after looking at the car that, the problem with the window was, The window needs a new glass and carrier, and had been disconnected so that it couldn’t be used , they also told me that there had been a bodged up attempt to repair it previously. But it could not be fixed, as it wasn’t covered on the warranty. He also told me that the gear linkage was extremely worn and could not believe that the car had been sold to me with it in that condition. They had also found an oil leak that was possibly the head gasket or another engine oil seal. He suggested I contact the proprietor of M K Autos or contact Trading standards, with regards to my position. Not wanting to be nasty and contact the Trading Standards I contacted the proprietor of M K Autos and informed him of the problem, I was then insured that he would have the problem sorted. He asked me to contact him towards the end of the week, but every time I tried to contact him he was conveniently out. When I finally managed to contact him he in
formed me that he had located the part I need for the window and that he had I clutch kit that I could have. Leaving me with the cost of fittings. I explained to him the problems I have had with the car since the purchase which also includes new front brake pads, which he told me were at 75% when I bought the car, and said that all I was asking for was the repairs done to the problems I noticed when I bought the car, which I deem as reasonable. He then started to get extremely agitated and nasty saying he was doing me a favour already and that if I didn’t like it to take him to court. There is the reason I will never again trust a car salesman