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$53k body work or $73k body work? You decide

$53k body work or $73k body work? You decide



I dropped off my 67 911 about 2 years ago. The shop owner got $20k for a deposit and regular payments thereafter as he figured the car out (Original estimate indicates $40k). No issues at this point as the car wasn't rusty, but had some battle damage from being a race car for most of its life. All seemed good until the shop owner hurt his back. The quality on my car went downhill fast. He got sick again with pancreatitis and this led to the shop operations getting handed over to his daughter. She told me she was a musical theater person from Las Vegas.

One of the shop owner's last texts to me was he needed an additional $10k to get the car through primer; at this point I'm into the car for over $50k. I complied and paid. When I came to see the car though, it was a disaster. See the photos. Horrifying!! They drilled holes in the new floors to weld them because they didn't have a spot welder. The floors were actually crooked and so was the transmission tunnel. There was a 1/2" of Bondo or more in may places, including the original paint front fenders and a brand new hood. I'll show a movie someday of all of the photos just so everyone can see something more terrifying than Freddie Kruger at Halloween. The quarter panels were mis-aligned and instead of taking them off and making it right, they just covered them over with more and more Bondo. The list goes on and on, but the photos will speak volumes!! Here's one last bit about the quality and then I'll move on. My front serial number was removed from the car sometime in its history to make room for a fuel cell. The shop owner replaced the panel and stamped the same number back into it to match the dash. Only problem was when he stamped them he didn't use the proper size or font. The number 3 was round on top instead of a metric flat-topped 3. When I called him on this he shrugged it off and said, "No big deal, I'll just hit it with a chisel and make it flat".

I wrote a page and a half punch list that his daughter accepted and began working on. She indicated that a body guy no longer with the business had messed up my car and 2 others and she was sorry and would fix it. I should have trusted a dear Porsche friend from New York and taken the car and ran at that point.

Fast forward to this past weekend. There were still outstanding items from the punch list to correct. The daughter invited me over on Sunday to see the car and to give my approval to move on to the paint booth. She said it was ready and would only take a day or two to finish up. I initially agreed then texted back that I wouldn't come out after all to save me another trip as I would have to go there again anyway to see the corrected numbers in the front that she indicated were not finished (the custom ordered set of stamps still had not come in). She texted back that the car didn't need the numbers corrected to move on to the next stage and that she needed $20k more to move forward. I was puzzled.

I reminded her that the last payment made was to get the car through primer and that all subsequent work from the punch list was corrective. If there were extras performed it was not authorized by me and I'd like to know what they did to the car.

I thought we could just part ways and save my heart from pounding any further. She declined and indicated she would lien the car.
I grabbed a truck, trailer, and a former Sheriff Deputy friend and headed over this morning (Tuesday). I asked the shop guy where my hood and decklid were and he pointed them out. I picked them up and put them in the truck. We went back for the car and started to push it out to the trailer when about 6 of the shop guys stopped the car and a couple of them closed and locked the gate. We were trapped in the driveway behind the locked gate. Time to call the cops.

I advised the shop guys that I didn't want any trouble with them and this wasn't their dispute. They were told by their boss they had to stop me, they said. They let go of the car and went to sit outside the gate and wait for the bosses.

My friend and I sat there for the next 4 hours. We watched the lien sale guy come with his book of paperwork. They ran inside and presumably handled what they needed to lien the car. I photographed this process, too, all from behind the locked gate.

The cops finally came and were very nice. Although there was nothing they could do except sympathize with my frustration and loss of money. This was a civil matter.

Unfortunately the police are not in a position to make legal decisions and I totally get that. I had to leave the car there in its sad state. I hope you can see in the photos just how not ready it was for paint and what $50k plus gets you.

Whatever you do, don't trust your valuable Porsche to just any shop. Investigate thoroughly. Don't be afraid to ask questions and don't let them ever say, "Just trust me".








Old 10-19-2017, 10:40 PM
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Wow.....all I can say is I'm sorry!!! What a horrible situation....I hope it turns out in your favor. Unfortunate what some shops will do....
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Old 10-19-2017, 10:57 PM
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What's going on in the area where big divots are ground down in the bondo(way too thick by the way)? Hard to comment as what it should have cost because I didn't see what it looked like previous to any work getting done. What I can say is that the amount of filler and bodywork as it appears in your photos has no business on a car like yours especially when you have paid $50k. When you get your car out consider contacting Steve Hogue to fix your metal. I would love to help with finish body and paint but doubt I will have availability to assist. Good luck.

Last edited by nathanbs; 10-19-2017 at 11:41 PM..
Old 10-19-2017, 11:31 PM
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What we do really need here are real legit photographs of what the car looked like when it was delivered to John. We still have not seen them. Techweenie said that the car, to him, was meant for the crusher and could not really be saved. I would really like to see the before photos on this.


Also, is she really, really said that it was getting ready to go to the paint booth, you've got to be kidding.
Old 10-20-2017, 06:53 AM
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Glad to see some of the comments coming on to this post. The other post will eventually die out as I agreed to remove some of the language. I cannot speculate as to bankruptcy, leaving town, or whether the Esposito's are screwing people over. I can only say that this is the body work that I received from the shop and that I did not authorize any further work only corrections. I can also share my personal experience in trying to get my car back.

I will dig out the photo series of my car showing its "as delivered" state. By description it was a basic old tired race car that had one of its front quarters replaced at some point long ago, no rear damage, original floors and rockers, no rust, bent up suspension pan from what appeared to be impacts from underneath (off-track excursions I'm sure!), fiberglass glassed on rear flares with pie cuts on the body to pull it out to accommodate the flares. Photos coming!

and yes....I was told multiple times in text and verbally that the car was ready for paint. You judge.
Old 10-20-2017, 07:00 AM
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For that money that's just disgusting. Pay as work is done and 20K chunks is just a crazy amount of money. Even up here, shop rate is $175/hr Canadian, you don't 'pre-pay' 20K, you pay when a reasonable amount of work is done and you're satisfied.

I'm so sorry this happened to you.
Old 10-20-2017, 08:20 AM
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An unfortunate situation but how do you get $53k into it without seeing good progress? I think I would have cut my losses after seeing what they had accomplished for the first $20k. I wouldn't give them another dime and would do everything possible to get the car out of there. They can't do anything for you. If they have no approved estimate over the original price I don't see how they have a leg to stand on legally. That said, IMHO based on a few pics, the car isn't worth spending much on pursing legal means at this point.
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Old 10-20-2017, 08:51 AM
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I am not sure why you are pandering to this shop's lawyer letter. I would have told them to go FUCH themselves. Just because you get a lawyer letter, you delete all references to this guy's shop in your post?

Tell them to sue you. You realize how skinny this guys case is?

If Esposito is that broke his lawyer is probably **** anyways.I would keep the pressure on until a resolution is found.
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Old 10-20-2017, 08:55 AM
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When a customer has paid for all work he has authorized, John Esposito or any other auto business for that matter has no right to hold the car.
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I can't afford that.

Last edited by pmax; 11-15-2017 at 02:06 PM..
Old 10-20-2017, 09:08 AM
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The first thread has been deleted. It was 5 pages before that happened. I'm sorry for your loss.

I understand the shop had a STELLAR reputation within the community which is why you probably brought it to them. Let me note a couple of red flags that jumped out at me.

1) a 67 911? Holy crap.
2) a $20K payment before he even touches the car? What exactly was that for? To get in the door? Holy crap #2.
3) progress payments to the tune of $53K? Holy crap #3.
4) you don't have time to go to the shop? Holy crap #4.

You dropped the ball, big time. I'm not defending the shoddy workmanship (or the unprofessional behavior) but man, you shoulda been there weekly, all over this guy, checking every little detail as they went. It's a 67 911, for the love of God. It's $50K. You were spending at least that much just on body work. Where was this project ending up money wise when you were done? Double or triple that I'm guessing. Not now.

Good luck with your case. This whole thing is a complete cluster F*&!
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Old 10-20-2017, 09:18 AM
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My advice....when things like this happen....and yes I feel terrible for the owner here....for the love of god before you do anything, post anything online, etc...go find a good lawyer and listen and do what they tell you. you have $50k plus into the car? Go drop 3k retainer on a good lawyer and have them execute and force this guy to respond. Your lawyer will find your legal leverage points and you can start to execute these against the shop. Clearly the shop owner is not afraid or worried about anything you are doing personally so far. The shop owner has your car hostage and in addition already leveraged u to change your post language. You need to flip the script.
Old 10-20-2017, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sixtyseven911 View Post
Glad to see some of the comments coming on to this post. The other post will eventually die out as I agreed to remove some of the language. I cannot speculate as to bankruptcy, leaving town, or whether the Esposito's are screwing people over.
Took two posts into the new thread for you to name names. Your attempt to remove the old thread and get their lawyer off your back won't work when you've already flip flopped and outed them again.

I wish you the best of luck with your car, but you really should heed Zombiebranz advice. This thing was past amicable resolution already yesterday. Cooler heads will prevail, but those cooler heads will be getting paid $250/hr to meet on behalf of their clients.
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Old 10-20-2017, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SalParadise View Post
What we do really need here are real legit photographs of what the car looked like when it was delivered to John. We still have not seen them. Techweenie said that the car, to him, was meant for the crusher and could not really be saved. I would really like to see the before photos on this.


Also, is she really, really said that it was getting ready to go to the paint booth, you've got to be kidding.
What we also need to see is pictures of those exact same areas as they appear today. Most of those photos are 5 months old. With 40 hour work weeks, that car could have 500-1000 worth of metal work done to it between then and now.
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Old 10-20-2017, 10:49 AM
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I talked to John about this. I have a 71'E that John is working on.

All I can say is that most people wouldn't have even tried to save the poor car that this guy brought in but it was supposed to be a rare race car with a notable history and therefore worth saving. Unfortunately for the owner it turned out not to be that rare race car and now he's upside down.

I know people have wanted John to respond but he's got cars to build and he is literally hands on with these cars.

As for my car, it's coming along and I am very happy with the work. John always seems willing to stop and talk to customers about the cars and anyone is invited to go look for themselves at the car in question and judge for themselves.

Last edited by Bobboloo; 10-20-2017 at 11:32 AM..
Old 10-20-2017, 11:25 AM
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At this point, since no 'before' photographs have been presented, and Techweenie said that the car should have gone to the crusher, I am going to heed the advice that an Italian restaurant owner in Manhattan gave me before I moved overseas.

"Believe nothing you hear and only half of what you see."

There you go.
Old 10-20-2017, 11:52 AM
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I suspected a missing piece. Who on earth is restamping a 67 normal chassis unless the belief is that the number is important.
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Old 10-20-2017, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobboloo View Post
I talked to John about this. I have a 71'E that John is working on.
nice! I own 71E #444 (silver metallic/blk interior). Love that 2.2 with MFI!
Old 10-20-2017, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZombieBranz View Post
nice! I own 71E #444 (silver metallic/blk interior). Love that 2.2 with MFI!
Mine is #249 Olive on Blk interior.
Old 10-20-2017, 01:28 PM
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I read both threads, and been on your side of the fence before. However, I'm even more confused now, primarily:

What do those areas look like NOW?

You have $50K into the bodywork, the shop is holding your car hostage, and yet you haven't sought actual legal representation and revert to rambling on a public forum?

No doubt I'd be livid if that was my car after $50K - regardless if car was "meant for the crusher" in it's before state - but there are way too many unanswered questions here.
Old 10-20-2017, 02:05 PM
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i don't really understand the "we need before pics to understand" look at that work, its total $#it
the car may have been very bad, but for $50K I would expect much better than the above workmanship. sorry op.
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Old 10-20-2017, 02:28 PM
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