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Classic car inspection?



  • I'm sorry Mr. Siftright but you are quite wrong. At the risk of sounding like a cheerleader, you really shoud try them before passing judgement. As I said before I can only attest to my experience, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them whole heartedly.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    edited August 2010
    I wouldn't professionally recommend this *type* of inspection service to potential buyers of exotic or vintage foreign cars. It's not about so-and-so company, it's about the "type" of inspection service, of which the one you mentioned is just one--so I'm not singling them out, believe me. No brokered inspection service in this price range is probably qualified, IMPO. I do know what it takes to do this type of work on exotics and specialty foreign or rare muscle cars, and $350 can't do it adequately. No way, especially when the brokered agent and the national service are splitting the fee.

    So I'm not attacking your favorite service. I'm offering skepticism that this type of low-end service can do Ferraris and the like. I think this is a reasonable objection.


  • Hi Jeff the Chef......

    I read your response with interest. No, its not "sour grapes" at all. I am not a dealer but a Rolls-Royce enthusiast and so whether this particular buyer bought the car or not, does not particularly phase me. What concerns me is that companies like Autombile Inspections claim themselves to be experts and they are far from it. And, so what happens, no-one gets the benefit of their inspection other than teh inpection company. Its like putting 2 useless lawyers on a case. Who are teh only winners?

    Personally, I do not need to inspect any Rolls-Royce. I can tell entirely on my own but then, I AM AN EXPERT. That is my very point.

    I only allowed the buyer to have an inspection becuase he said he wanted to check "the basics" and thats what I thought there would be. Not a detailed review by an inexperienced bafoon who had no idea (amongst several other things) that Rolls-Royces had brake pumps and thought the cold start pumping sound from these were worn lifters/cam-shaft. Then when I had to explain, he wanted to argue with me. Fortunately, in my case I have a show display engine mounted on a stand in my workshop and all the Rolls-Royce manuals at my disposal so I could explain to him what was "normal" and what was not. Only then, did he swallow his words but I am sure by that stage, I had "put his nose out of joint".

    The bottom line is what someone mentioned in a post in this thread after yours. NO inspection company like this has the qualifications for classic and exotic cars and they simply should not promote themselves as such. They should stick to the domestic regular stuff because thats what they can do best. But dont tackle a task that you are entirely incapable of and then try to pretend you are!
  • I guess "Shiftright" has captured it correctly. It's probably not about one company or the other but about them all generally. They are simply not qualified to cover such cars. I guess my complaint then really boils down to; "why do they pretend to?" It gives no one a benefit and surely does not help the inpsection company in the long run either.

    For all those out there that need a Rolls-Royce inspected. Please give me a call!
  • omarmanomarman Posts: 693
    edited August 2010
    "It doesn't matter if the car is a Mustang or a Maserati. The only difference that comes into play is the cost of labor and materials to put it right."

    Hahaha! You've missed the point in every way it's been served to ya Chef! It's a waste of time and money to have an exotic car inspected by any other party than an experienced shop or qualified expert.

    This is not an attack on your most-favored, online-car-appraising-guruDOTcom. ;)

    Edited to add: [insert winking Emotorcon here] Lately they don't show up when I post. hmmm.
  • Hi Jeff..... You are correct. But, remember, I am speaking from the persepctive of the seller. The seller has "no say" in the inspection. If I am more qualified than the inspector and I have to try to teach him whilst doing the inspection which will most likely "offend" the actual inspector, what is the point??!!

    The very reason of me posting my comments is so that buyers recognise that these inspections are only a little more than a guide and perhaps they should consider alternative methods for "inspections".

    I certainly would not use one. I tend to think; if you are the type of person that needs to look at a car, go look at it yourself. I am not such a person - many photos from the seller will do, and a good conversation on the car will usually uncover all. You can usually tell by talking when a seller is "hiding something" as he will be nebulous with his answers.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    edited August 2010
    I think you are missing the point here. A Ferrari engine that needs work is a $30,000 to $60,000 dollar repair. Some Ferraris require engine-out periodic services that must be verified by log books. A Mercedes 560SL engine is $18,000, a Porsche Boxster $15,000 on up. A cracked front bumper on a Ferrari is $4000, a windshield on a Maserati perhaps $3000 on up. An automatic transmission on a newer Mini Cooper is $6800, and the symptoms for defects are quite subtle. The wrong engine # on a big block Mopar is a $10,000--$30,000 hit or more, and all Mercedes 230--280SLs have number coded body panels that must be correct, and must not have passenger car 280 cylinder heads retro-fitted.

    I don't see how Hank the Chevy man is going to know anything about all this.

    If you want a Ford F-150 inspected, then fine, any intelligent person with a pair of eyes can do it.


  • Well you all have a point but there are a couple of issues. One, Ferrari Dealers will NOT do pre-purchase inspections on cars that didn't come from their facility and are likely to be biased about those that did. Two, even if you did find one that would, what exactly do you expect the mechanic to do? Start the engine, check oil pressure, listen for mis-fire or odd noises, check for smoke from the exhaust, possibly dump the codes, maybe a compression check on an older car and then test-drive to check the clutch, brakes cooling system etc. and to see how it performs on the street. The bottom line is he can only tell you how the car is on that day, he cannot tell you if it will throw a piston in 3 months without opening the motor up. Expert or not. He may have an edge by being aware of known issues with that particular model, but that information is typically available to a diligent buyer who researches on the internet. The key is to review the service/maintenance records as these will give you the best indication of the engines condition and potential short terms costs.
    All of this can be done by a savvy buyer and a field inspector. Furthermore, what do you expect a mechanic to tell you about if the car was hit and fixed? Do you expect him to know how to check paint for blend or tape lines, factory chassis welds for repairs or other signs the car was taken to the track? I suppose in an ideal world you'd have the body and frame checked out by one person and the engine and mechanicals by another. From my perspective I believe that if you do your homework and have an unbiased knowledgeable individual inspect the car and document how it performs and looks, you are doing as much as you can to manage the risks involved in a long-distance purchase.
  • You keep making 'THE POINT" in your own answers! Yes, IF the inspector evaluates the car on the day, then that is fine. But Automobile Iinspections (at least) DO NOT! They make assessments and draw incorrect conclusions on what they see/hear on issues they dont understand and so should refrain from doing so.

    You can't "look" at a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow and say that because you hear a tapping sound on start-up, that it is noisy valve gear/lifters. This is drawing an INCORRECT conclusion and is NOT an observation - it is drawing an "inference" based on knowledge of OTHER cars and not knowing a Rolls-Royce (Silver Shadows do not have a brake master cylinder but 2 brake pumps that are driven from the camshaft which make a "tap-tap-tap" noise when cold and on low pressure start-up). You cant "sound-test" the body panels for bondo as this too is "drawing an inference" and NOT an OBSERVATION (Rolls-Royce hoods, trunk and doors are aluminum so "sound" different"). Automobile Inspections LLC did this. Must I keep going on? I am an expert only because I have spent 25 years with Rolls-Royce and even then, I only claim to be an expert on 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s Rolls-Royce. Becuase I have considerable knowledge of these I dont claim to be an expert on a 1950s Wraith, for example. In fact I only know them in a cursory sense. However, Automobile Inspections say; "we know cars so we must know all of them".... How crazy is that?

    When you make the comment; "do you expect a mechanic to tell you about if the car was hit and fixed? Do you expect him to know how to check paint for blend or tape lines, factory chassis welds for repairs or other signs the car was taken to the track?".... I absolutely agree! So they should try to! Automobile Inspections LLC, claim they can on Rolls-Royce! They cannot and do NOT know Rolls-Royce.

    All in all said, if they did just a "general" inspection without drawing inexperienced conclusions they would be ok. But no, they want to prove "how clever" they are which only ends up proving how incompetent they are - no one wins.

    I hope they read this thread.
  • You are re-inforcing my point once again. A lot of Rolls-Royce buyers, for instance, do not know what to look for and whereas I understand that should be the basis for an inspection, they should not be MISLEAD by inspectors who are not in the know. Referring to my comments in my most recent previous post, if an inspector was to report to a potential buyer that a Rolls-Royce has noisy valve gear (which surely suggests it is worn), the buyer will most likely not buy the car or wish to pay significantly less. And yet, the reality is, there is nothing wrong with the valve gear.

    So, the conundrum is; does the inspector NOT mention something he is not experienced in - probably not. But if he makes comment on something he has no idea about, that very clearly says he should not be inspecting that make of car to start with. In the legal system, I think that is referred to as a "non credible witness". And, as verdicts should be drawn "beyond reasonable doubt" THAT witness's testimony should be EXCLUDED.

    The prosecution rests.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,511
    Jeff - do I remember you stating that 'a Maserati is no different than a Mustang' in terms of appraisal? Were you serious? You believe that someone able to appraise a '72 Mustang is equally qualified to appraise a '72 Indy?
  • ..... or a 72 Rolls-Royce?

    some book about some are from Mars and others from Venus?..... Jeff is from Alpha Centauri (and I think also from Automobile Inspections, LLC)
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,599
    Ah, I don't think you have any clue as to the qualifications or the background of our host is.

    If you knew you would not have called him "quite wrong"!
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,511
    Yeah, I got a kick out that, along with his "It doesn't matter if the car is a Mustang or a Maserati." comment...
  • Hello "He that sells Hondas" (need I say anymore).

    I am not sure why knowing "Jeff the Chef" has anything to do with Automobile Inspections, LLC's incompetence, or any other inspection company for that matter? They don't know Rolls-Royce, this has been well proven by their most recent "inspection", so they shouldn't be doing inspections on them. In fact, it is my assumption, there are many other classic and exotic cars they are not experienced in and should not be doing inspections on those either. Of course, in the chase for the almighty dollar in these difficult and uncertain economic times they "are experts in all cars", it appears.

    Now, back again to "Jeff the Chef"? Unless his name is Charles, Henry, Owen and/or any descendent, understudy or indirect employee of these, I am confused to understand why his "existence" and me knowing who he is" makes a difference.

    Feel free to have him challenge me on my known subject.

    Your honour, the forum shall now move outside for a gentlemen's dual of specific knowledge...... Court adjourned?
  • My apologies "I sell Hondas".... Upon review, I see your comments were directed to "Jeff the Chef" in reference to our host. I thought your comments were directed to me and for that misunderstaning and my retort to you, I apologise unreservedly.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,599
    Apology accepted.

    BTW, I retired in May,
  • omarmanomarman Posts: 693
    edited August 2010
    Congrats on retirement, Craig! :shades:

    Remember back in May you posted a link to a 1962 Impala SS which was up for bids on ebay? I found it relisted and apparently still unsold as of last month at $23k.

    Also saw a '62 Impala SS 409 listed although seller says it's NOM car. Didn't you used to have an original 409 Impala SS?
  • This was not about and appraisal but a pre-purchase inspection. They simply document the cars condition as they find it on the day.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,599
    Yeah, I had a 1964 Impala SS with a 400 H.P. 409.

    It looked and ran OK but it needed a total restoration.

    When I was a kid I had a 1962 Impala SS. It had the 300 HP 327 engine. I wish I had it today. It was extra nice with factory air conditioning and power windows.
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