Complaint / review text:
In April 2008, I brought my 1965 Mustang Coupe to The Classic Chassis. I had the shop to a complete look over and we discussed how I wanted to take my car and turn it into my dream car. At this point, the Mustang was my daily driver. It worked fine and didnt give me any problems but I wanted to upgrade the car to this decade while maintaining the allure of a Mustang from its early years. I was just back from a 16 month deployment to Afghanistan and had saved up on my deployment to get this restomod done.
We agreed to install a M2 front suspension with disc conversion, a rear 4 link suspension, a 5 speed TKO world class transmission with a hydrolic clutch system. He was to buil the rear axle for a limited slip and install 3:89 ratio gears. The wiring harness needed a complete install using a company called "painless wiring" by my request. The bottom of the car was to be detailed (any sign of rust sanded and fiberglassed) then bedlined. The engine was to be rebuilt (turned into a brand new crate engine rebuild without my knowledge) a 351 windsor with Aluminum heads and roller rockers. A combined A/C and heat system for comfort, new intermediate hedders to be tied into the existing exhaust system and new gas tank were to be done as well.
The project was to be completed within a year but if I paid all in advance the project would be complete in under six months. I paid half up front with the agreement to pay another quarter at the halfway mark and the remainder at the end of the project.
The end of the work never seemed to get any closer but I was routinely promised everything would be complete within the next "few weeks".
I stopped using the phone as my primary means of communicating with him and tried to only use the internet to get a paper trail of the promises that never beared fruit.
At the end of August 2009, I told him I needed the work finished and I gave him two weeks and then I was going to fly in and pick it up and that I didnt want anymore excuses. He said it was ready. I flew in the Fayetteville and the car was engineless and missing the front end. He promised to have it complete in only a week more.
What choice did I have?
I paid a friend who is an experienced driver and an experienced manual transmission driver to drive my new car up to me in Newport when Brian Clark had finished the work. Brian finally called. He was excited and they demonstrated how the car was finished by peeling out of the shop and racing down the road before bringing it back to my friend to begin his journey.
They gave him instructions on what speed to drive and what to do to break in the engine and that there should be no problems...
Well, none of the gages worked. A new gas tank was installed but they didnt hook up the float. The spedometer cable wasnt connected. Nothing was connected!
The car made it 120 miles; just over the northern North Carolina boarder into Virginia before the bearings went and tore through the engine. I had the car towed back to The Classis Chassis at my own expense but Brian Clark said he would redo the work because he admitted that it was his fault to let the car out of his shop before he felt completely confident behind the quality of work that was completed.
So Close Yet, So Far.
At the new year, I emailed to find out the status.
This is Brian's response:
"Happy New Year!
This e-mail is only good for my home now. My new work e-mail is [email protected] new internet at the shop since we've had so many issues with Cable down there. We were closed for the last 2 weeks of December, we re-openned Jan. 4th.
Yes... Your motor is finally reassembled on the bottom end but we haven't got the heads back yet. You can not begin to imagine how much damage was in this motor... The crank was warped. 050 from the center journal due to it getting so hot when the bearings spun. The machine shop installed a new crank, 2 connecting rods, 2 pistons, all bearings, a new camshaft & Lifter set, new oil pump and all the freeze plugs. I sent the heads (which didnt appear damaged) to a different shop to have them surfaced in case they got warped due to the heat. We know now the engine over heated on your friend and he continued to drive it after which caused 90% of the damage. By the way... I saved all the parts from the machine shop for you to see/have along with the pictures of everything. We will have the heads back next week and then bolt them to the engine and break it in correctly afterwards.
Why was it not ready the first time?
I check in again on the progress in March. I get no response.
I call. I get no response.
In June, I write:
"I have not heard anything from you in a long time. Please give me an update and what the way ahead is from here. There is a large amount of my money tied into this project and I have nothing to show for it."
He responds the same day:
"We are driving the car this week and next to break it in properly and then you may come get it. There is a balance on the remainder of the work but all the machine shop cost was covered up front by you. I will advise next week when we are 100% sure its ready. Please send me a good contact number so that I may call you when its ready."
I send my "good" contact number which hasn't changed since before the start of this project in 2008. I have not heard a peep from Brian Clark since.
It is now December 2010. I am out of the country. My emails get no response. I hear he has filed for bankruptcy. The phone number I have for him is disconnected. I had a friend go to see if my car is even still there. The car is. Well, the body is. The engine is long gone. The body and crome are showing signs of bad rust from sitting out in all seasons for two and half years. I don't know what to do and it looks like 30K (car plus money given for work) is gone.
I sent Brian another email today (12/14/2010).
Hoping for the best.