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Classic/Antique Car Repair/How would you choose a mechanic for a classic car?

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Question
Hi Robert - I own a 1947 Packard Custom Super Clipper and I need some engine work done on the car. I think I've found a mechanic, but thought I would ask an expert on what type of questions you would ask a mechanic to determine whether they have the expertise and knowledge to work on my classic car. I do know how an engine works and have torn a few of them apart and put them back together again, but that was years ago.
Any pointers you can give me to feel confident in the mechanic that I choose?
Dave

P.S. Do you know of ANY company that repairs a car antenna? I snapped my roof mounted one on the Packard pulling off the car cover. I've searched Hemmings and everywhere but can't find a company that does it.

Answer
Hello Dave,

Beautiful car!!  I'm a big club man as well as a referral person. You seem to have found a mechanic but if you hadn't I'd recommend talking to the members of your local Packard club. With your mechanic, I'd ask for 3 references, Packard preferably, but similar technology cars at least. My twist is I ask for 2 satisfied and 1 DISSATISFIED customer in order to get an idea of how he deals with problems, how he reacts to conflict and how fairly he deals with you when things don't go right. He can certainly give his side of the story with Mr. Dissatisfied but what's important is that he gives one to you. We all know that you can't please everybody but how does the mechanic try to make things right?? And if he won't give you such a customer or says he doesn't have any, well, that speaks volumes by itself, doesn't it?

I'd also check him out with the local clubs. Has he done work for members, of what complexity and was it completed successfully the first time?  If not, why? Was the work subsequently completed properly? I think if you proceed in this way, you'll be able to work with your mechanic with much more confidence.

Regarding the antenna, I know of no other sources either. Check the club resources both Packard and other...your need is hardly unique and someone had to have the same question in the past. Do some detective work mining the club resources, and I think you'll find an answer!

Good luck,

Bob  

Classic/Antique Car Repair

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Robert Russell

Expertise

Mechanical, Body, Historical, MOPAR, GM, Ford, Packard, 1930-1975

Experience

Former Chrysler Tech., Project Manager for Antique and Classic Car Dealership. Owner/Driver of Classic Cars Since 1972

Organizations
AACA, North GA Mopar Club, Packards International, W.P. Chrysler Club

Education/Credentials
High School Auto Shop plus Adult Night School

Past/Present Clients
California Car Company, Roswell, GA

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