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Author Topic: Why are repair agencies for our cars hard to find?  (Read 2249 times)

Why are repair agencies for our cars hard to find?
« on: August 17, 2016, 12:14:44 AM »
There have been countless posts discussing either the lack of repair facilities or the problems experienced with repair facilities we try and find for our cars.  Lets look at this realistically.  There are probably no more than what, say 100,000 "classic" Cadillacs between the years 1935 and 1985 on the road (or in garages) today. There are somewhere around 35,000 cities and towns in the US, and I think it is fair to divide the cars relatively equally, since the per capita "classic" car ownership is greater in small cities than in large metropolitan areas.  That works out to something less than 4 classics per town.  Now let me think.  If I was going to invest a lot of money and a large amount of my talent and skill in something, would I plan on a business with a potential of 4 clients?  Hmmmm.
I think this subject has been beaten to death.  The original idea of a car hobby was to find a car and fix it up yourself and keep it running by your own hand.  If for what ever reason you are unable to do the mechanical work or just don't want to, the thought of searching out and finding and paying a lot of money to one of the hand full of reputable acknowledged specialists that can should not even be an issue for discussion.
Just my thoughts
Greg Surfas
Cadillac Kid-Greg Surfas
Director Modified Chapter CLC
CLC #15364
66 Coupe deVille (now gone to the UK)
72 Eldo Cpe  (now cruising the sands in Quatar)
73 Coupe deVille
75 Coupe deElegance
76 Coupe deVille
79 Coupe de ville with "Paris" (pick up) option and 472 motor
514 inch motor now in '73-

Offline Scot Minesinger

  • Posts: 6004
Re: Why are repair agencies for our cars hard to find?
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2016, 08:17:32 AM »
Greg,

Agree with your post, because it has proven true that we generally have to fix our Cadillacs ourselves if it is to be done correctly.  Agree with your reasoning on why few shops exists - low demand.  However a couple of things to consider:

1.  The Hobby would have way less participation if only those that worked on their cars themselves participated.  In the Potomac Region of about 180 CLC members, there are maybe 5 or 10 that do their own mechanical work and left to do it themselves we might be down to 5% of our membership.  I think the hobby has room for people who do not want to perform their own mechanical work.  Plus not everyone can do everything, as for example I'm not good at sewing interiors.

2.  The Washington DC area has enough classic cars to support a good classic car shop or two, using your math our area has about 5% of the population and so that might be 5,000 potential customers, 4,500 who do not perform their own work.  The problem in DC area is the irresponsible society Bruce coined, which is so right.  The DC area can thrive on no repeat customers, and it seems does not have incentive to do a good job ad treat a customer as they would want to be treated.  Further to that the DC area has too many "spoiled" people and their customer service level expectations are so high.  There are a few nice shops for classic cars in Hershey PA area because that has an extremely high concentration of classic cars.

3.  The best paying job a recovering drug addict with no skills can get is an auto mechanic in our area.  They go to school for six months and off they go to a shop, as employees are so hard to find in our area.  The skill level is so poor in normal shops.  Heck, I even bought my own tire mounting and balancing (road force) because tire shops put their least experienced workers on this vital task.  Even the dealers are inept:  Two weeks ago receive a recall notice on my 2006 Dodge Charger w/Hemi for an air bag inflator - they hound me with a text and e-mail daily, and brought it in yesterday which is a pain, need a ride back and etc.  At the dealership they tell me they do not have the parts to repair it.  I just wasted two hours of my time that I will never get back!

I agree with this topic.  However I got into the hobby with the idea that other would fix my classic and changed over to doing everything myself out of necessity.  It has been a lot of fun and rewarding, so sure glad it happened that way for me.  Also, I have classic car owners from as far away as NJ bringing their cars to me to fix climate controls and other items.  The first climate control repair was on a 1975 Fleetwood in 2009 that is still functioning 100% 7 years later.  The problem was the electrical connectors on programmer were bad and I repaired them.  This car went without climate control from 1985 until 2009 without climate control!  It was extremely rewarding when I found that problem and fixed it.

Glad people are in it though who do not work on their cars, as otherwise Jay Leno might not be in the hobby along with many others - the more the merrier!
Fairfax Station, VA  22039 (Washington DC Sub)
1970 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
1970 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1970 four door Convertible w/Cadillac Warranty

Re: Why are repair agencies for our cars hard to find?
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2016, 12:01:42 PM »
Scott,
5% of the population would be 16,500.000 people.  I believe the population of your area (greater DC Metro) is about just over 6 million which would be 1.8% which would work out to less than 1800 cars in this category (Cadillacs).  The entire population of Virginia is just over 8 million.  Again looking at this not for any one specific region, but to answer the question of why there aren't more repair shops capable for one reason or another of quality work on our cars.  I'll bet there are a lot more shops that can work on Ford and Chevy classics.  There are a whole bunch more of them out there.
If we want something unique we need to accept its uniqueness for all their aspects.
Greg Surfas
Cadillac Kid-Greg Surfas
Director Modified Chapter CLC
CLC #15364
66 Coupe deVille (now gone to the UK)
72 Eldo Cpe  (now cruising the sands in Quatar)
73 Coupe deVille
75 Coupe deElegance
76 Coupe deVille
79 Coupe de ville with "Paris" (pick up) option and 472 motor
514 inch motor now in '73-

Offline rlachance

  • Posts: 17
  • Name: r lachance
Re: Why are repair agencies for our cars hard to find?
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2016, 03:17:41 PM »
Greg,
Sounds like you have too much time on your hands, some of us would love to be able to wrench our own vehicles but unfortunately life gets in the way, I personally would rather pay someone else to maintain my classic than give up what little personal I time left for me and my family after working, chores, lawns, ect.ect. Instead of you quoting some long winded statistical mumbo jumbo that may or may not be accurate you could have shortend your reply to "I don't know" this would have saved you enough time to go to your garage and check the oil in your classic.  And by the way when the the original idea of a car hobby was born they had wodden wheels and no tops or doors. :( 

Offline LenInLA

  • Posts: 124
  • Name: Leonard Grayver
Re: Why are repair agencies for our cars hard to find?
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2016, 05:05:54 PM »
All good points, but seeing how a classic car tends to spend much of its time with a mechanic, mechanics make a lot more per classic car than per a modern car. So that by itself could justify investing in training your staff on classic cars.

Plus, I bet that a lot of mechanics are good enough to pick up enough knowledge/experience or figure out new stuff even if they don't work on the classics on a regular basis.

Leonard Grayver

Re: Why are repair agencies for our cars hard to find?
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2016, 05:39:02 PM »
Whew,
Mr Lachance, it looks like you have been eating meat again.  Stick around the forum for a while and you will see the question repeatedly asked that was the subject of this thread.
Why are repair agencies for our cars hard to find?
Not whether to do the weork yourself or not, but Why are repair agencies for our cars hard to find?.
Not to be defensive, but to me cars have been an intregal part of my life for the last 60 years, and I enjoy working on them as well as driving and racing them.
Too much time? Yup I've worked enough, saved a bit and now the only thing on my must do is spend my money before I die.
As far as the statistics, if you look at the subject the numbers identify the answer.  "Mumbo Jumbo"?  Is that a technical term?

Len,
There are more good classic car mechanics in the LA area than just about anywhere else.  20, 30 and 40+ year old cars are nothing unusual (the ages) in So. Cal
Greg Surfas
Cadillac Kid-Greg Surfas
Director Modified Chapter CLC
CLC #15364
66 Coupe deVille (now gone to the UK)
72 Eldo Cpe  (now cruising the sands in Quatar)
73 Coupe deVille
75 Coupe deElegance
76 Coupe deVille
79 Coupe de ville with "Paris" (pick up) option and 472 motor
514 inch motor now in '73-

Offline Scot Minesinger

  • Posts: 6004
Re: Why are repair agencies for our cars hard to find?
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2016, 09:23:47 PM »
I can always count on a "crispy" (my teenage daughters latest lingo) comment from you Greg even when we agree - we are friends.  The DC area I maintain does have about 5% of the classic cars, and most of the population of DC, VA, De, MD, and WV are centered enough around the Capitol with higher affluence than average to reasonably presume that a classic car shop could be supported.  No one has capitalized on it, and no one is willing to pay what it costs to actually do the work (an hour to loosen a frozen bolt without breaking it for example!!??).

rlachance,  I agree, but what I did was pay people to cut my lawn (it used to be my fitness program) so that there would be time to work on cars.  Sadly, never been very happy with the work of other shops and maybe because I'm too much of a perfectionist.  We have to do what makes us happy.  Really enjoy fixing something.  There is a satisfying feeling when something older really works well.

It is not a matter of money, but finding a place that can do the work, and have not found any place yet.  One kind gentlemen  in his 80's told me he was going to sell his 1970 Buick if he could not find anyone to fix his a/c.  Turns out it was just a dash switch - no refrigeration issues.  It was so cool to fix it for him.

Back to the main point, no sense asking if there any good shops to work on our classics, because most are terrible.  When someone asks about a good shop for older cars in some area of the Country on this forum, I agree with Greg there are none (or very few due to low demand) and no point in asking.  Best to just learn and do it yourself - after all if you are smart enough to acquire the means to own a hobby car, you are probably smart enough to fix one - just need to read.
Fairfax Station, VA  22039 (Washington DC Sub)
1970 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
1970 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1970 four door Convertible w/Cadillac Warranty

Offline Jeff Rose CLC #28373

  • Posts: 2322
  • CLC Number: 28373
  • Name: Jeff Rose
Re: Why are repair agencies for our cars hard to find?
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2016, 11:34:59 PM »
For me it is a matter of money. It certainly helps that I ENJOY the hell out of working on it. Not really sure what I will do as I get older and may not be able to do the things I used to. Bit the bullet and had the engine done by just about the best recommended place in town-and it has been/still is a mess.
I have accumulated a fair amount of tools for a shadetree guy but I have no real way to lift the car. Just after I got it I traded a guy a ride in the plane for access to his brother's lift to replace the seal on the pumpkinhead. I don't have that access anymore tho.
I am thinking of pulling the oil pan. Not overly excited about it but it will probably be fun however the jackstands only go so hi-- and I don't fit under there like I used to (donut anyone?). Not sure what I will do in 20 years when I cant do this anymore..... And it's too damn far to drive all the way to Scot!
Jeff
Jeff Rosansky
CLC #28373
1970 Coupe DeVille (Big Red)
1955 Series 62 (Baby Blue)
Dad's new 1979 Coupe DeVille

Re: Why are repair agencies for our cars hard to find?
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2016, 11:56:02 PM »
Don't worry Jeff.  Scott will be buying a roll back soon so he can pick up customer's cars from all around the country.
Greg Surfas
Cadillac Kid-Greg Surfas
Director Modified Chapter CLC
CLC #15364
66 Coupe deVille (now gone to the UK)
72 Eldo Cpe  (now cruising the sands in Quatar)
73 Coupe deVille
75 Coupe deElegance
76 Coupe deVille
79 Coupe de ville with "Paris" (pick up) option and 472 motor
514 inch motor now in '73-

Offline Scot Minesinger

  • Posts: 6004
Re: Why are repair agencies for our cars hard to find?
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2016, 12:10:11 AM »
Jeff,

I do all my work on jack stands.  The shop manual always states for 1970 Cadillacs "raise on jack stands", never raise on lift.  Accordingly, executing repairs with specified shop manual practices.  There is no way you need anything but jack stands to replace the differential gasket.  Very likely the oil pan gasket was replaced with engine re-build-should not be required.

If you want to pull the oil pan, it easily can be done on jack stands, and I have done it several times.  You will need to drop starter, flywheel cover, center link, and Y pipe.  Then make a strap to connect to two top bolts of compressor, loosen the front engine mount nuts almost all the way, and using engine crane pull engine up about 1/2", then the oil pan will come off.  This is kind of a job if exhaust is not real new.

Also have removed transmissions by raising car up real high and lowering trans down on to plywood and sliding it out from under car.  There is no service you cannot do with jack stands on a 1970 Cadillac.  Would a lift make it easier - maybe?, but it takes up a lot of space.  Of course I use a floor jack, not a bumper jack to raise the 1970 Cadillacs.
Fairfax Station, VA  22039 (Washington DC Sub)
1970 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
1970 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1970 four door Convertible w/Cadillac Warranty

Offline The Tassie Devil(le)

  • Administrator
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  • CLC Number: 18992
  • Name: Bruce Reynolds
Re: Why are repair agencies for our cars hard to find?
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2016, 01:53:26 AM »
......I do all my work on jack stands.  The shop manual always states for 1970 Cadillacs "raise on jack stands", never raise on lift.  ....
Hang on, you have to raise the car by the Jack first, then use the Jack Stands. ;)   But, I have actually used the screw-type Jack Stands to raise the car a little higher than the jack will lift.

I only used to use the single post hoist an my old garage, then they got a four poster, then the two posters, which I detest.

Our cars, well, mine, were designed to be lifted by the diff and front crossmember.   The 2 posters are no good for convertibles of old.

Bruce. >:D
'72 Eldorado Convertible (LHD)
'70 Ranchero Squire (RHD)
'74 Chris Craft Gull Wing (SH)
'02 VX Series II Holden Commodore SS Sedan
(Past President Modified Chapter)

Past Cars of significance - to me
1935 Ford 3 Window Coupe
1936 Ford 5 Window Coupe
1937 Chevrolet Sports Coupe
1955 Chevrolet Convertible
1959 Ford Fairlane Ranch Wagon
1960 Cadillac CDV
1972 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe

Offline StevenTuck

  • Posts: 1050
  • CLC Member # 16507
  • Name: Steven M. Tuck
Re: Why are repair agencies for our cars hard to find?
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2016, 06:56:07 AM »
I can always count on a "crispy" (my teenage daughters latest lingo) comment from you Greg even when we agree - we are friends.  The DC area I maintain does have about 5% of the classic cars, and most of the population of DC, VA, De, MD, and WV are centered enough around the Capitol with higher affluence than average to reasonably presume that a classic car shop could be supported.  No one has capitalized on it, and no one is willing to pay what it costs to actually do the work (an hour to loosen a frozen bolt without breaking it for example!!??).

rlachance,  I agree, but what I did was pay people to cut my lawn (it used to be my fitness program) so that there would be time to work on cars.  Sadly, never been very happy with the work of other shops and maybe because I'm too much of a perfectionist.  We have to do what makes us happy.  Really enjoy fixing something.  There is a satisfying feeling when something older really works well.

It is not a matter of money, but finding a place that can do the work, and have not found any place yet.  One kind gentlemen  in his 80's told me he was going to sell his 1970 Buick if he could not find anyone to fix his a/c.  Turns out it was just a dash switch - no refrigeration issues.  It was so cool to fix it for him.

Back to the main point, no sense asking if there any good shops to work on our classics, because most are terrible.  When someone asks about a good shop for older cars in some area of the Country on this forum, I agree with Greg there are none (or very few due to low demand) and no point in asking.  Best to just learn and do it yourself - after all if you are smart enough to acquire the means to own a hobby car, you are probably smart enough to fix one - just need to read.
Scot,

You are being a bit too pessimistic.

I moved to the Tampa, Florida area in 2007. I had done some research for a good shop prior to moving. I found Realistic Auto Restorations. Their skill level and attention to detail was exceptional for this perfectionist. They do everything except chrome. They even have 50+ year equipment for those specialty jobs. Their head mechanic, Charlie, was similar to Wayne Carini's from Velocity. He would also talk to you about a problem if you needed advice.

I also found a painter who's basic work was small fix it jobs. He also does RV fix it jobs. I was impressed with the front air dam work he did on my husband's Saturn Sky prior to us selling the car. I had him do a small chip touch up and was very much impressed. He also liked me and my husband so much he refused to charge us. He has continued to do small fixes for me at no charge. I also made a car show sign for his son and my husband gave him a piece of his art made from neck ties. We were invited to his wedding and now have an invite to Thanksgiving. So yes there are good, knowledgeable and skilled repair people out there.

Since I have moved I began to do many mechanical fixes and maintenance myself. I did so not out of necessity but because I wanted to learn and be able to do it myself. It gave me a since of satisfaction that I worked on my own car. But then out of the blue I had an aortic aneurysm and almost died. Now I can't do what I once did. My situation is that of other collectors. Their health precludes them from doing the work. Then there are those who don't have the space, tools or mechanical inclination to do it. Their entire lives they have had a mechanic work on their cars. So there are many different reasons for a collector not doing the work themselves.
1962 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz
http://bit.ly/1NfPNHE
Car Show Signs and Car Photo Books
http://carshowsigns.net/

Offline Scot Minesinger

  • Posts: 6004
Re: Why are repair agencies for our cars hard to find?
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2016, 08:00:16 AM »
Steven,

My negative attitude is based upon reality.  There are good paint/bodywork shops and good upholstery shops in this area and I am loyal to them.  There are no mechanical shops (that I know of) here that are any good.  With 180 members in our area looking for shops to work on their a/c or other problems, no one has found a good one yet.  Things changed in 2008 too with recession.

I have heard that the antique car hobby is well supported in Florida.  It also in Hershey, PA area too.  Just not in DC area for sure and the population and quantity of classic cars could justify its existence.  Heck, I have half considered starting a classic car repair shop as my retirement income, but may not be as relaxing as will be required.

Guess in a nut shell, I'm trying to agree with Greg that there is low demand in general for shops, it is a good idea to do the work yourself, and (me only) there are very few good shops (none in DC area).
Fairfax Station, VA  22039 (Washington DC Sub)
1970 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
1970 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1970 four door Convertible w/Cadillac Warranty

Offline Jeff Rose CLC #28373

  • Posts: 2322
  • CLC Number: 28373
  • Name: Jeff Rose
Re: Why are repair agencies for our cars hard to find?
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2016, 08:16:31 AM »
It was the rear pinion seal and a lift was much easier.
As far as the pan---crap. Manual doesnt say anything about lifting the engine. I dont have an engine hoist. I was concerned about getting the steering out of the way because it is original and I wasnt sure if I could get it loose. Then there is the starter (not hard but just heavy lifting the darn thing). Will have to rethink this if I need.an engine hoist.
Jeff
Jeff Rosansky
CLC #28373
1970 Coupe DeVille (Big Red)
1955 Series 62 (Baby Blue)
Dad's new 1979 Coupe DeVille

Offline Jay Friedman

  • Posts: 2533
Re: Why are repair agencies for our cars hard to find?
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2016, 08:54:32 AM »
Jeff, here in the Atlanta area some tool rental shops will rent an engine hoist.  You do need one to change motor mounts on a '49 like mine and probably your car and, from what I've read above, to drop the oil pan on your car.

Scot, also here in the Atlanta area while there may be shops that specialize in old cars, I don't know of any.  (It's a metropolitan area of several million, maybe as large as the DC area.)  However, there are a number of general auto repair shops, auto machine shops, driveline / spring shops, a wheel alignment shop, a hydraulic hose shop, even an old time independent auto parts store that in addition to their main business of modern cars also like to work on old cars.  Many are honest and competent.  There's even an old curmudgeon who is a Hydra-matic genius.  To gather this info, not long ago our Peach State Region president, Doug Bailey, sent out a questionnaire to all our members asking them to list shops etc. that they would recommend.  Since it was the combined knowledge of 100 + guys, he got back a comprehensive list.  So maybe in your area there are some hidden gems and perhaps you could persuade someone in the Potomac Region to do some research like that. 
1949 Cadillac 6107 Club Coupe
1932 Ford V8 Phaeton (restored, not a rod).  Sold
Decatur, Georgia
CLC # 3210, since 1984
"If it won't work, get a bigger hammer."

Offline Scot Minesinger

  • Posts: 6004
Re: Why are repair agencies for our cars hard to find?
« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2016, 01:55:30 PM »
Jeff,

The manual does not say to lift the engine, but it makes the job way easier.  There is about one thousandth of an inch clearance to get it out, and it scrapes against gasket dislodging it on reinstall.  The folding engine cranes like I have cost $250 brand new.  They are also handy for lifting heavy things, such as when I loaded my parents 800lb safe into a pick up truck, loaded a 36" metal working lathe on to a truck, and etc.  One or two uses and a rental is paid for.  Lifts can make things easier but I don't think it is difficult laying on my back in a restful position either.  The starter is not heavy at all when you are laying on your back - easy to hold in place and install.  I have never worked with a lift.

Jay, not a bad idea.  Just people who pay others to work on their car and say they are great usually are not great judges of what is good work or not.  I have looked over some "great" work before and it was not that good.  One of my friends had the shocks in his 67 Caddy replaced and after that there was a whistle squeak - beyond annoying.  Turned out that the washers used on top of shocks contacted the upper control arm when it rotated about shaft during normal driving.  I replaced it with a smaller washer and no more squeak.  He said it was a great shop. If you can't even change the front shock on a 65-70 Cadillac you might as well quit.
Fairfax Station, VA  22039 (Washington DC Sub)
1970 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
1970 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1970 four door Convertible w/Cadillac Warranty

Offline Jay Friedman

  • Posts: 2533
Re: Why are repair agencies for our cars hard to find?
« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2016, 03:43:59 PM »
Scot, although the subject is why repair places are hard to find, I'm one of the minority you mention who works on their own car.  Nonetheless, having said that, there are still certain things I can't or won't do myself.  As I mentioned in my posting in your other thread on why we work on our own cars, I occasionally take it to pros for messy jobs like changing the anti-freeze or exhaust work, or jobs requiring special equipment I don't have such as wheel alignment, driveshaft rebuilding or rear spring work.

The guys who contributed to the research we did on repair shops in the Atlanta area included both kinds, those who work on their car and those who don't.  The guys who are more knowledgeable contributed the most qualitative comments if you want to call it that while the others provided the quantity.  The results were gone over carefully and it was concluded that there are a few good men (and women too) out there.  My only point is that while there are plenty of charlatans, incompetents and mere egotistical jerks in the auto repair business, both for modern as well as old cars, if you look hard enough you can find a few who are nice guys, competent, honest and who like to work on old cars.  From the point of view of having worked as a professional mechanic in my long, lost youth, I certainly think that is true.   

1949 Cadillac 6107 Club Coupe
1932 Ford V8 Phaeton (restored, not a rod).  Sold
Decatur, Georgia
CLC # 3210, since 1984
"If it won't work, get a bigger hammer."

Offline savemy67

  • Posts: 1364
  • Name: Christopher Winter
Re: Why are repair agencies for our cars hard to find?
« Reply #17 on: August 18, 2016, 09:08:28 PM »
Hello all,

Jay - I like the fact that you polled your members and compiled a reference.  I will suggest this at the next meeting of the Potomac Region.  Many members of the Potomac Region (Scot included) are very busy with planning the GN17, so I don't know how much progress the Potomac Region could make on such a list as the one you compiled, but I think it would be a worthy endeavor, and I would be willing to help in the effort.

Jeff - If I recall correctly, you can raise the engine in the car without a hoist.  Remove the through bolts securing the motor mounts to the frame/bracket.  Place a 2 x 4 under the harmonic balancer and use a bottle jack to raise the front of the engine a fraction of an inch.  If you need more lift, you may need to loosen the transmission mount and any other engine attached linkages that could bind.  Be careful.  Be careful too when using jack stands.  If your driveway or garage floor are not near-perfect (smooth, level), you may want to use wood blocks under the wheels to support your car while wrestling parts from underneath the vehicle.  Four thousand pounds of metal, and gravity, are unforgiving.

Scot - Your first stop after acquiring a rollback should be San Antonio  :)

Pages 0-6 and 0-7 of my '67 shop manual state that the preferred method of raising a '67 rear wheel drive Cadillac is to use a lift that contacts the flanged area of the front lower control arms, and the rear axle, or a lift that contacts all four wheels.  The manual also states that alternatively, a frame engaging lift can be used on specific areas of the frame including the areas just behind of the front, and just ahead of the rear, wheels, the center of the front cross-member, and the differential.  I think the '70 frame is essentially the same as the '67 (fully boxed, perimeter type) frame, so I think the '67 lift instructions would apply to the '70.

Respectfully submitted,
Christopher Winter
Christopher Winter
1967 Sedan DeVille hardtop

Offline cadillac ken

  • Posts: 700
  • Name: k caskey
Re: Why are repair agencies for our cars hard to find?
« Reply #18 on: August 19, 2016, 11:56:43 AM »
Even though it is tough to find a reputable shop, once one is located, the first item of contention seems to always be the price the shop charges.

As a shop owner I hear the horror stories. I get that.  Yet with a spotless reputation and over 25 years in my shop, Customers seldom seem to understand what they are paying for.  As my mentor told one of his customers' many years ago: "remember, this is your hobby, but it is how I make my living.

Most customers are very unrealistic about what they "believe" they should pay for when seeking professional service.  It is important to understand that what a person wants to pay for something is in no way a valid reason why a professional should charge for their service what the customer is comfortable with. If I had a dollar for every time I heard the words; "that's more than the car is worth"... Folks don't seem to understand that as a shop that is irrelevant and has no bearing on how much must be charged to meet overhead and make a profit.

When folks see our paint work I'm always asked what I charge to do a "paint job". They tell me the local bodyshops don't want to paint their (insert model and year) old car.  I always ask why do you think that is?  And then I explain that most times for what someone expects to pay for a "paint job" it is far less than the job can be done for and simply not a profitable situation for the bodyshop. Problems with rust, previous poorly done repairs, and a whole laundry list of other liabilities turn off most body shop owners as a job that just requires way too much aggravation.  They make more (easier) money on collision repairs.  They get paid by the insurance companies and almost never have to "chase down" their payment for the job. My favorite saying is folks always say they don't want a "show paint job" --- until they come to pick the car up.  And for the record we do not paint cars.  We only paint projects we have done.

The same goes for upholstery, repairs to mechanicals, etc.

The point here is that perhaps not only is there simply not enough "old cars" to work on to maintain a fully equipped shop with qualified well paid professionals, most old car folks don't seem to want to pay for a fully equipped shop with qualified well paid professionals-- even thought that's what they say they are always searching for.


Re: Why are repair agencies for our cars hard to find?
« Reply #19 on: August 19, 2016, 02:50:49 PM »
Ken,
You have hit on one of the main reeasons those that could do this work hesitate or refuse. It's amazing how someone that will gladly pay $650.00 for a bumper exhaust tip wil balk at paying the $85- $100.00 per hour labor rate a commercial shop has to charge to stay in business.
What percentage of "classic" cars that come to your shop for repairs are Cadillacs?
Greg Surfas
Cadillac Kid-Greg Surfas
Director Modified Chapter CLC
CLC #15364
66 Coupe deVille (now gone to the UK)
72 Eldo Cpe  (now cruising the sands in Quatar)
73 Coupe deVille
75 Coupe deElegance
76 Coupe deVille
79 Coupe de ville with "Paris" (pick up) option and 472 motor
514 inch motor now in '73-

 

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