Why restorations cost so much .. or why I don't work on cars for a living


Amphicar Forum Admin
Staff member
Sometimes I am reminded why I do not work on cars for a living. Especially when it comes to older vehicles, there are simply too many unexpected surprises that cost time which equals money.

My DD is a 2001 Jaguar XJR. In great shape but it is 16 years old so does require more than new Honda maintenance. This weekend I went to change the front shocks, a job that should take about 90 minutes total. Hours later, I had one side finished.

Lower shock bolt was rust welded to the shock bolt metal bushing. My big arse impact wrench with high quality sockets quickly rounded the bolt head. BFH had zero effect, the bolt just laughed at me. Tried puller which actually started bending the mounting tab. Finally had to call on the fire gods. Propane torch, not even close. Realized acetalene tank is empty, drive to tractor supply. Even that heat, which quickly burns through rubber bushing is not enough. Get out the cutting torch and cut away bottom of shock so I can remove it. Get the bushing glowing red hot. Finally the BFH does the job. Go to hardware store to get new bolt. Install new shock. And that is why it took all afternoon to do one side.

There is a shop near my house that used to specialize in vintage Porsche, from repairs to full restoration. These days they will only work on newer cars. I understand why.

Jon March

This is the problem regardless of working on older cars & older homes too - that exterior looks will too often lull people into a false sense that its "not that bad" or "it shouldnt take that long". 85% of the time that ends up being an incorrect prediction! Frustrating for the worker and the customer both! We keep trying to be more accurate and "optimistic" - too bad there not some sort of x-ray app on our phones that can "scan" the projest for a better crystal ball prediction!

Midwest Amphicar

Worlds Largest Amphicar Destination
he he he he he he he, ha ha ha ha ...................beer googles makes projects look easy. MGB release bearing squeaked.That really means fix trans, oil leak on engine , rebuild front suspension and some electrical.

Jon March

what a story! - and the scenario is the same for so many situations - everything requires dropping everything, and a trip to at least one store for tools or parts