Special car care

Maintaining high-end cars not an easy task, especially on the wallet

unnamed-1I’m sitting at home perusing eBay. It’s time to shop for a dream car. No I can’t afford it, but that’s not going to stop me.

The values of 996 Turbos are hovering at $50,000, Aston Martin Vanquish’s around $60,000, and V8 Vantages for even less.

As with most of my ideas, I pontificate this to my old man.

“The maintenance alone would leave you face down in the mud,” he says.

“Don’t even think about it.”

Alright old man, I take your challenge. I’m an automotive services technology student damn it! I can fix any car these hands grace, right? So I made a trip to Riegel Tuning to find out what exotic car care really takes.

This place is car nirvana for me. It isn’t unusual to find a Ferrari F50 here, and they do not disappoint. In the front lobby there’s a Ferrari 355 Cab right next to a Porsche 993 Turbo, waiting for customer pickup.

The best is yet to come. I enter one half of the shop and see a Lamborghini Countach up on a hoist sans engine, and a Ferrari 308 waiting right next to it.

There’s an element of incongruity to this, as a Rover V8 and VW Westafelia are right next to the Italian pair.

“Given the circumstances of the economy, we’re open to working on just about anything, like the Volkswagen or the Countach undergoing a full restoration,” says Chris Hart, a former automotive service technology student from SAIT.

Looking at it reveals a tubular frame more complicated than the Eiffel Tower’s latticed steel.

Dad 1, Soren 0.

In a separate room sits the Countach’s engine with some minor disassembly. It’s always fun to see these cars under certain states of undress, such as the Bizzarini powerplant without its side draft carburetors.

Strange I thought all North American ones were injected, this car is very special indeed.

Hart holds up a refurbished carb next to the old ones attached.

“Disassembled and then sand blasted, all original parts,” Hart says. It’s like new.

We continue to the second half of the shop, the working half as I like to think of it.

There are techs elbow-deep in a Porsche 997 Turbo undergoing a full brake replacement.

“Each rotor costs around $7,600,” says Hart and I concede another point to the old man, as parts are usually double for these kinds of machines.

“And all our techs here are AST graduates from SAIT,” he adds.

unnamed-2Finally a point to me.

Among other things is a BMW M5 getting a new clutch, which is an invasive procedure with its exhaust lying on the ground. A De Tomaso Pantera without its wheels, and other bizarre vehicles like a Toyota 4Runner better suited to rock crawling than track tearing.

It makes me wonder if there isn’t anything these guys won’t work on.

“Yes and no,” Hart replies.

“For something like a Land Rover, doing a brake job wouldn’t be a problem, but anything more than that would involve a scan tool (diagnostic aid) which would cost $10,000 for the tool alone so it wouldn’t be worth it.”

At this point I know I’m out. These cars need special care, and it’s not something the average schmo like me
can deliver.

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