Kar Karma

All classic car owners love feel-good stories about long-forgotten cars brought back to their former beauty, winning car show awards and making owners proud. And we’ve all heard the scary stories about cars ruined and parts stolen by come-to-find-out disreputable shops. My car story is in the scary/sad category, but now has a potentially happier ending.

After two years I got my Triumph TR8 back from the resto-gone-bad with parts missing, parts ruined in reassembly, completely botched body work and paint job, and seriously deteriorated condition with rusted out

floors and more. When I learned of another TR8 owner ripped off by the same mechanic, I felt compelled to write the article in the last British Motoring issue.
My article struck a cord in the British car community—stories came in from owners who had similar travails with shady, sloppy, unprofessional shops. Some were ripped off far worse than I was, and yet I found itinspiring that all of them wrote off their losses, learned their lessons, and then made a leap of faith to entrust their car to another resto or repair shop to have the work done over. And they were happy they did.

Every single one of the letters that came in encouraged me to forge ahead to get my car back on the road. I had been disillusioned to the point of shock over getting ripped off by a mechanic I worked with for 16 years, so had left the car parked in storage for the last year and-a-half. Worse, my budget on the project was blown long ago just to get the car back in my possession, and now I’ve got far more rust and damage to deal with, plus a long list of missing and damaged parts that need to be replaced. I didn’t even think I could find all the parts that are now unavailable, or afford to acquire them.

I thought wrong.

Through the response to the story, I learned that members of the British car community are protective of one another and their cars. Over 1,000 people read a thread about my car disaster on the British Car Forum. And most heartwarming to me, a number of TR8 owners stepped forward to help. One has started to organize owners with parts cars to see if they can help me assemble the parts I need to move forward, especially those that aren’t available new through specialty catalogs. They’ve enlisted the help of their club contacts too.

I was blown away by the offer…it was beyond nice…it was downright noble and generous to help someone who had given up hope of ever having her once-cherished car back on the road. I am humbled by it.

We’re in the early stages of this effort, but I’m renewed by such kindness. Another owner offered his time to go over the car with me and put the list of needed parts together. I’m once again thinking about the day when I can put the top down on the TR8 and go for a long-awaited cruise.

It all goes to show that this hobby goes far beyond the cars–it’s about the people and the support they show fellow enthusiasts. It’s a generosity of spirit and solidarity in ownership. And it shows the value of car clubs and forums, and what people can accomplish together.

Thank goodness for Kar Karma. I have since heard of other TR8 owners ripped off by this same mechanic, so the word is out on him. What goes around, comes around. And on the flip side, the guys who have offered help, support and encouragement to me and my car will get their positive vibes returned to them with magnified power. At least I like to think it works that way. Kar Karma will keep their cars running happily, long into the future.

See the full story: www.triumphexperience.com/article/tr8-resto-disaster.html

By Kathleen M. Mangan

'Kar Karma' has 1 comment

  1. May 15, 2012 @ 6:53 pm Gene Lucas

    Glad you are about the get that TR running. Here is the link to my project car! http://www.genelucas.com/midget.html I just put 18 miles on it before it got vapor lock. I just jumped on your site to see if there where any tips on this issue on this midget.


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