Don’t get Cheated by Your Mechanic

It’s never fun to bring your car in for service or repairs at the garage shop. We’ve all heard the tales of people being ripped off and charged for services which they didn’t need. Here are a few steps to avoid getting ripped off.

Use the recommendations of people you know in order to find a mechanic that you can trust. If that’s not an option you can easily find one by browsing online. Sites such as Yelp are excellent tools in helping you gauge the level of service a business provides. Of course these review sites don’t always tell the entire story, but they are a good way to gauge the level of service. Beware of fake reviews posted by the business themselves. Obvious signs include multiple reviews posted on the same date or within proximity to each other using similar language style.

Confirm that your mechanic is following the recommended service listed in the owners manual. Be suspicious of any mechanic who tells you to do otherwise than what is recommended by the maker of your vehicle. Always inquire if they will be using parts from the original equipment manufacturer or aftermarket parts, since aftermarket products may not provide the same level of quality. Look for shops that are approved by AAA, as these businesses have passed quality control inspections.

You can always get a second opinion on the Internet. If you have a Dodge join a Dodge forum and if you have a Toyota, you can find a Toyota car forum. Many of these forums have members that are very knowledgeable about repairs. If you have a digital camera, you can even take a photo of the parts in question and ask other members for their input. Use search engines in order to research any services that you are unfamiliar with.

Don’t commit immediately after receiving an estimate but call around first and see if you can find any better deals. Make sure that no work is performed unless you specifically authorize it. If you feel that the cost for parts is too expensive, it’s possible for you to obtain those parts yourself if you would like, and then simply pay the mechanic for labor. You can even purchased used parts, either from Ebay, an online retailer or a junkyard. If you don’t feel comfortable with an estimate, never hesitate to hold off on making decision until you can get home and do more research. A business with ethics should never pressure you or make you feel uncomfortable in any way.

It’s best to walk in with a positive attitude and give the mechanic a chance to explain what he or she feels needs to be done. Maintaining and servicing your car on a regular basis will go a long way in extending its longevity and could be a good way for you to strike up a repertoire with repair shop that you can build trust with.

Jaguar XK 150 Tow Car

The car started life in 1959 as a standard 3.8 XK 150 S coupe (chassis No. S. 825043 DN). The original engine (VA 1219-8) was later swapped (LB 2049 according the logbook.)

Handwritten records of the car seem to indicate that the original color was Cream with a Maroon interior. The logbook shows that the first two owners lived in Cheshire, UK

The car’s colorful life began on the 14th June 1964 when Douglas Hull Ltd. from Finmere, Buckingham, UK, bought it. Mr. Hull owned a garage not far from the Silverstone race track and needed a fast practical car which would also be good for towing. He asked Douglas Wilson Spratt, who was well known at the time for fettling, racing and building fast Sprites, to transform the XK 150 S.

Jaguar XK 150 Tow Car

In 1968 Wilson Spratt sent the XK to PEELS of Kingston upon Thames, Surrey UK. There, coachbuilders Alec Goldie and Les Faulkner grafted on a Shooting Brake body and – very important – a towing hook (see photo nbr. 1 in the picture gallery). It was then that the car was first painted metallic grey or gunmetal. There’s a rumor that Frank Feeley of Aston Martin fame had something to do with the swooping design of the rear wings. At any rate this is probably the best looking station wagon conversion of a Jaguar XK.

While the body was being converted, Wilson Spratt modified the engine to a full blown 3.8 E-type race engine. Soon the XK with registration 6797 N got attention within the amateur racing circles in the UK and was surnamed the ‘tow car’. It was frequently used by the late Hon. Patrick Lindsay for towing his famous ex-Bira ERA Remus to its racing successes. Continue reading “Jaguar XK 150 Tow Car”

Bugatti Type 35 – the winning type

It was behind the wheel of a Type 35 that Ettore Bugatti wrote racing history. Between 1924 and 1931 Bugatti notched up more victories than any other manufacturer. Today, this record-making Bugatti ranks amongst the stars of any classic car event…

It was in 1924 that Ettore Bugatti first presented the car at the “Grand Prix de l’Automobile Club de France” in Lyon that was later to become the Bugatti, namely the Type 35. The success of this legendary car is partly due to its 8 cylinders, 24 valves with overhead camshaft, 2000 cc displacement, light alloy wheels and a simple but effective body.

Bugatti Type 35
The Type 35 was built in a number of different versions, these being fitted with a range of engines from a 1.5 l version without a compressor up to a 2.3 l version with a compressor.

Within the space of 3 years drivers such as Louis Alexandre Chiron and Tazio Nuvolari and their numerous racing successes behind the wheel of the Type 35 laid the foundation for the legendary reputation of the “most beautiful racing car” of its day. It is said that the Type 35 won 2,000 races, including regional mountain races.

In addition to what was in those days outstanding engineering, the Type 35 also stood out due to its external appearance. Ettore Bugatti wanted to build a “beautiful” racing car. Starting with the cooler, which, as in numerous other models, symbolised the shape of a “delicate bow of a slim boat”, Bugatti presented his most successful racing car with eight broad aluminium spokes. Even from today’s viewpoint, the Type 35 is a technical and stylistic masterpiece by Ettore Bugatti.

Bugatti Royale Kellner Coupe

All of his life Ettore Bugatti was swimming against the tide. At the beginning of the 30’s – while the impacts of the stock market crash were still perceptible – Bugatti was already planning a big coup. He wanted to conquer the prestigious British market with an unsurpassable luxurious automobile. To implement this coup, Bugatti instructed the famous French coachbuilder Kellner who had worked for Hispano Suiza and Duesenberg. The result of their cooperation: the Kellner Coupe – based on the Royale chassis-nr. 41 141. On the Olympia Show in London, the unique vehicle was by far most expensive car in the world.

Kellner Coupe

The Royale Kellner Coupe was celebrated for its nobility and timeless elegance that – with it’s dimensions of a total length of six metres – seemed to be art or an illusion rather than an automobile. Eventually, it was never sold. Together with another Royale, it remained the property of the Bugatti family. During WWII, the family struggled hard to move the automotive monument on the way from one hiding-place to another.

In 1950, Ettore Bugatti’s daughters sold the Kellner Coupe to Briggs Cunningham, whose collection, The Cunningham Museum, was literally crowned by the Royale. In 1987, Robert Brooks sold the Kellner Coupe during a sensational auction at Royal Albert Hall in London. It was purchased by a Swedish investor, paying more than 4.830.000 Pounds. A record – the famous Coupe became the world’s most expensive car. Three years later the record was beaten by a Ferrari 250 GTO that was sold for more than 5 million Pounds by Sothebys.

Lately, the current owner of the Kellner Coupe instructed Bonhams & Brooks London to sell the royal automobile. Simon Kidston – President of Bonhams & Brooks Europe – will take care of the discrete sale. Not open to public. A price of around an eight-figure-sum – US Dollars, of course…

BMW – The products

The Motorcycle for the Die-Hard Rider

It is said with pride that for a long time, BMW motorcycles were more famous than the automobiles and that they were compared to Triumph, BSA, Norton and Harley Davidson after the war. But oh, then came the Japanese flood causing the demise of most of the European manufacturers.

All except a few Italian ones … and BMW. Why?

In France, the motorcycle patrols of the Garde Nationale (National Guard) ride BMWs and are imitated in that in more than a hundred countries. But the orders of these “die-hard” riders cannot explain the production volume. At the end of the 70’s, BMW decides to develop the GS 800, a recreational machine to participate in the Paris-Dakar Rally. Success comes and proves that BMW has glamorously made the switch from a utility to a recreational motorcycle. The company is soon going to celebrate 80 years of motorcycle production.

GS 800 bmw

Incidentally, this longevity is explained very well in Munich. The motorcycle has twice allowed BMW a rebirth. It is logical that the car had to push the motorcycle somewhat, too.

The motorcycle department has attacked the Japanese on their favourite ground – the cycle for young people – and BMW has produced the F 650, the first “European” motorcycle (the engine is by Rotax; Aprilia is responsible for the assembly). This machine shows that the brand is able to compete in all areas.

F 650

Production of the F 650 can barely keep up with the demand, which proves that the goal has been reached: The motorcycle pays for itself and supports the image of BMW.

In 1999, the appearance of the C 1 hits like a rocket. This two-wheeler provides a roof (or: a survival cell) that protects against bad weather, and a seat belt. In other words, the advantages of a motorcycle without its disadvantages. All that for less than DM 13,000.

Once again, this hits the jackpot, and the order books are full.

A One-in-a-Million Car Mechanic

At BMW, the engine cult goes back to the first days of the company in 1917. The 30’s were rocking with the sound of the six-cylinders. Ten years ago, the company re-introduced the V 12 after 50 years’ absence. Not to mention the two-cylinder boxer and the current turbo diesel with direct injection.

Before BMW became a design engineer, it was an excellent metalworking shop. The style and the aesthetics of the characteristic engines contribute to the success of the models.

However, instead of racing to the bitter end which often leads to excess, the people from Munich bank on refinement. The buyer of a BMW demands an engine with a generous torque, to be sure, but it should also be quiet, pleasant and sporty. Primarily, however, it needs to be beautiful. BMW wins first prize here in every aspect, and the whole world cherishes the typical “Old World” engines.

The group accepts any technological challenges: The 750i (V12) uses no more than a six-cylinder of 1992, and the extremely abstemious 330d and 530d are at the same time the most powerful on the market for turbo diesels with direct injection. Continue reading “BMW – The products”