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Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/27/22 8:46 a.m.
docwyte said:

Yow!  Did they give you an idea of what the possible cost would be when you first dropped off the car?  This further cements my idea that it's just not worth keeping a car that has a bad auto tranny.  You're better off selling it and buying a completely different car...

Glad you have it back and are able to finally enjoy it!

No blame on the shop.  I went in telling them it had a new trans and I was having what I thought was external to the trans electrical issues.  This started out as a diagnosis visit, not a replace the trans visit.  They went in with the information I gave them.  They kept me informed every step of the way and didn't start the next step until they had discussed and agreed.  They didn't lead me down any paths.  100% happy with them.

Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/27/22 8:50 a.m.

In reply to docwyte :

Oh, and you're probably right or not investing the money in an auto car like that. But this is a case of real life meeting theory. I already had the car, I thought the big buck item (the trans rebuild) was already fixed, and I thought it was something else. Also as I was getting deeper into this car prices were absolutely nuts, they have pulled back just a little bit from then. When I dropped the car off in April I could probably have argued the car was worth 10 K. Ratty 996's we're going for $25 to $30 K at that point. I now have a cosmetically tatty boxer that I will not be afraid to drive and park anywhere. I am happy to leave it parked on the streets in downtown Detroit etc., but with a newish engine and a brand new trans. It should go 100,000 more miles without anything but regular service on the powertrain. It will do those miles over the next few years.

docwyte PowerDork
8/27/22 9:39 a.m.

I get it, I'm not throwing the shop under the bus or your thought process.  My Dad has had a few Audi's where the auto trans started to go and I immediately told him to dump them.  Instead he spent a bunch of money at a shop to have the trans rebuilt and it just didn't last all that much longer.  So my perspective is that when an auto trans starts to go bad, I just dump the car right then and there...

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
8/27/22 10:21 a.m.
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) said:

It will do those miles over the next few years.

He's not kidding, by the way. My boy puts a LOT of miles in. And, unlike me, he's willing to do it in a cramped, loud, uncomfortable car like a Boxster. laugh

Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/15/22 3:34 p.m.

So, this is a tough one.  It actually happened a week ago, but I’m still trying to work out what’s going to happen, and how I can proceed based on what may happen.  On top of this, several other pretty significant things happened in the four days proceeding this, to the point that several close friends are suggesting I invest in some rabbits feet, and one saying he’s going to quit his job and follow me around and laugh at my ongoing misfortune.  But the other things aren’t what we’re talking about here.  I’ll split this into two posts, first ‘what happened’ second ‘What’s next’

So, last Tuesday in the office. 1:54PM and we (the office collectively) hear ‘Screech… Thud…. Crash…. Crash’  As we heard this we were all turning around.  I got to see a vehicle smashing the car next to the Boxster, into the Boxster and it getting pushed sideways, before trying to speed off.  Now, at this point all our assumptions were ‘some idiot(s) tried to cut through our lot, couldn’t, went too fast around the end of the lot and understeered into the cars and was trying to escape’.  My brain jumps to ‘license plate’ so I book it out of the building as fast as I can to try and snap a picture of the license plate as they fled for the Police/insurance.  Now, I’m not the world’s smallest guy, but I sprinted down the corridor and out the building as fast as my limbs would move, while wearing office shoes.  I ran so hard/fast that I struck through hard enough on both heels that they are both still tender a week later!  Anyway, back to the story.  I ran down the hall as fast as possible to try and get the plate.  I burst out of the front door and….  The vehicle (Actually a Dodge Ram) was stopped, having hit other cars, and I see several cops in flack jacket with guns drawn pointing at the truck and shouting.  My brave little brain instantly registered that if a cop is stood between me and the truck, with a gun pointing at the truck, then if the perp comes out with a gun, said gun would be aimed at the closest cop and by extension me.  I then turn round and book it just as fast back into the building.  I’ll tell you now, no matter how brave people claim they’d be in a situation, finding yourself 20’ from a drawn gun in a very real situation is instantly terrifying.

So, what actually happened?  First, the bad guy didn’t come out with a gun, he soon ended up face down and cuffed.  After watching the building and security video the whole thing was very much not a short cut through a parking lot gone wrong.  It turns out there’s a tri State car thief ring that targets certain high value vehicles, steals then rather than chopping them, they are re-selling them in other states with false vin/paperwork.  It turns out there were two guys in the Ram, plus a woman.  No one at work knows if she’s an innocent victim, the ringleader or somewhere in between, she wasn’t seen in cuffs is all we know. 

There were five undercover Police vehicles that had been following the truck all day, waiting for them to act so they could close in.  One of my guys has a Challenger Hellcat, it was backed into a space at the end of the lot, that just happened to have a vacant space next to it on the side away from the building and security cameras.  Just before 1:50 the Ram backed into that space.  Looking later at the videos you can see movement inside the truck and someone climbing from the front to the back.  Then the rear door opens and someone gets out while staying low so you can’t see them above the Hellcats roof.  There’s movement as he smashes the window (driver’s side was away from the camera) gets in and does something.

Sidebar.  The something was plugging in a laptop and software to write a new key to start it.  Now, first of all the poor guy who’s Hellcat it is had previously had one stollen in Detroit, so had some kind of update that prevents new keys being made)

After a couple of mins (1:54 and 28 seconds to be precise!) four unmarked cop caps come flying into our lot, and a fifth drives over the large grass berm between us and the adjacent company and bocks them in from behind.  The guy in the Hellcat gets out and tries to run, but the Cop who came over the berm was out before him, went over the hood of the Hellcat and had him on the ground.  The guy in the truck tries to take off and peels out.  He hits one of the unmarked cars / the unmarked car rams him, he swerves, skims the bumper of one car, hits the CRV next to me and pushes it into the Boxster.  He then takes another bash, pushes the CRV and the Boxster about a foot before having the space to barge through and take off.  We assume he saw the guns as after about 50’ he basically rolls to a stop by hitting another car.

Total damage.  Hellcat with smashed glass and some dents on hood.  Odyssey Minivan with scraped rear bumper (poor guy has liability only), the CRV next to me with two smashed ¼ panels, bumper etc.  Boxster with dented quarter, new Genesis with smashed nose, ironically about 2 hours after the guy handed in his notice.

Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/15/22 3:35 p.m.

So, what’s the deal with my car?  Well superficially it doesn’t look too bad.  I figure no problem, I have a place that’s worked on both this car, and my C30 as well and I’m very happy with their work.  I took it to them for an estimate, and they showed me it’s actually a bit worse than I realized, not extra damage, just that at it’s most severe, the arch has been pushed back in over 2”.  Total quote has come out as $6.5K.  Now the vehicle is insured through my normal carrier, not an agreed value like Hagerty as I use it as a DD in the summer, which Hagerty don’t like, and Hagerty were significantly more expensive.  The problem now is, blue book for my car can be from $8-12K.  If 75% is the write off limit, then I need a valuation of at least $8,700 as the value to avoid it being totaled.  Now, as I’ve just spent over $9K as detailed over these previous pages to get it back on the road, not including the sunk costs before I took it to a garage.  At this point I really want to keep it.  I realize that the sensible thing would be to beg for them to totally it and go buy a ‘better’ version.  But I’ve got so much emotion as well as $’s into it, that I’d rather keep it.  Additionally, while there are a couple of more things I want to work on over the winter, at the end of the day this car has a 50K mile engine, new LN Engineering IMS bearing, rebuilt auto trans, rebuilt security module plus a tone of ‘while I was in there’ things like some hoses, AOS etc.  I was hoping that I was set for years of trouble free motoring.

Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/15/22 3:36 p.m.

And if anyone is counting, I hit a post the first week I got it, then later a woman hit my rear quarter backing out of a parking space on another occasion.  So in the six years I've owned it, it's had three 'accidents' and one wallet melting breakdown.

dculberson MegaDork
11/15/22 3:44 p.m.

"What could possibly go wrong?" is not usually answered by "an auto theft ring could target a nearby car, get busted by the cops in action, and push another car into yours in the attempt to escape."

docwyte PowerDork
11/15/22 3:57 p.m.

Man, I don't know.  I get you've got a lot tied up into this car but I think you'd be better off having this totaled and getting a different one.  Maybe buying this one back and parting it out?

Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/15/22 4:08 p.m.

In reply to docwyte :

If it gets totaled, I'll either buy it back, assuming I get enough to buy it and get it repaired decently, or take the money and run.  Parting it out may sound like a good idea, but I've reached the point of paying for people to do 80% of the work on my cars.  I've lost the passion for wrenching, it's something I have to do from time to time, not something I get any joy from these days.  And while this is a low mileage M96 with new LN bearing, it's still a basic 2.5L, not even a 2.7L and it's an auto, even if a rebuilt one.

06HHR (Forum Supporter)
06HHR (Forum Supporter) Dork
11/15/22 4:20 p.m.

Dang, it's almost as if the universe does not want you to have this car.  I'm kind of in the letting it go camp too.  Sorry you're having to go through all of this.

dculberson MegaDork
11/15/22 5:05 p.m.

I think fixing it sounds fine, as long as you're not out of pocket a lot in doing so. If it is totalled, and you decide not to fix it, maybe someone here would want to part it out.

AAZCD-Jon (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD-Jon (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
11/15/22 5:41 p.m.

Adrian, All I've got to say at this point is that you likely have the most appropriately titled thread on the forum.

karplus2 GRM+ Memberand Reader
11/15/22 6:33 p.m.

I'm glad the cops were tracking them but it stinks your car was a casualty.

A local hellcat owner caught someone trying to steal his car and got shot when he approached the theif. Fortunately only minor injury. 

Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/15/22 6:51 p.m.

I don't even have words. surprise

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/15/22 7:16 p.m.

let them total it, buy it back, BoxKart FTW!

you can't really berkeley it up more than it already is, and believe me when i tell you the satisfaction of chopping into a car with no intention of putting it back the way it was is almost unimaginable.  it might be the step that helps you get your groove back.

Agent98 Reader
11/15/22 9:17 p.m.

Its a little uglier now only if you look closely, still the same car otherwise, I'd pocket any insurance money and keep driving it...maybe a PDR guy can have a crack at it...

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
11/15/22 11:00 p.m.

Everything, including things no one has ever thought of.... could go wrong.  Seriously, this thread reads like some down on his luck car guys kind of movie.  All it needs is a leading lady, and some illicit street racing; viola!

Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/16/22 1:56 p.m.

Serious Q. I know we have peeps in the insurance business on here.  What is the middle ground between the insurance company pay for the repairs,  and it's totaled, here's your payout?  Is there a 'Technically this would total it, but we will pay you $X to repair it best you can and it will retain a clean title?

I realize that this will never be a valuable car, but even so I'd rather avoid a salvage title and the hassle.


Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/16/22 2:04 p.m.
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) said:

let them total it, buy it back, BoxKart FTW!

you can't really berkeley it up more than it already is, and believe me when i tell you the satisfaction of chopping into a car with no intention of putting it back the way it was is almost unimaginable.  it might be the step that helps you get your groove back.

LOL, you and your bad ideas.  Few things:

  • I don't like Exo cars, and I hate, HATE, 'death karts' (Note.  A Lotus 7 is not an Exo car)
  • If I ever did a serious 'build' It would be a mid engine small hatch in Renault 5 Turbo II style.
  • If I were to do something wild with the Boxster, I may or may not have previously looked up CHAMP car rules.  If that had happened I would or would not be aware that a 2.5L 99 Boxster has a base of 475 points with 75 points back for being a torque convertor auto so only 400 points.
  • That's not happening as if I race anything again, I'll go Karting with my grandson.
docwyte PowerDork
11/17/22 9:05 a.m.

In reply to Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) :

I just wouldn't fix it.  I'd take the money and buy something cleaner, if the buy back is cheap enough, maybe Jon would want it and you could make a little more money there.

automotiveflux New Reader
11/17/22 11:23 a.m.

Damage doesn't look too bad, unfortunate that it costs so much to repair. If this were me I'd do the repair or potentially take an insurance payout and keep the car if that was an option.

dps214 Dork
11/17/22 12:14 p.m.

I guess it comes down to how pristine you want the car to be. I suppose I could see $6k to fix it absolutely perfectly, but that looks like you could fix it about 90% for like $500 or less. I think ideally I'd convince your insurance to value it high enough to not total it, then just take the check and not fix it. Or find a shop that'll do a not quite perfect repair job for half the price of your good shop's perfect repair job.

sevenracer HalfDork
11/17/22 1:58 p.m.

In reply to Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) :

I'm not in the insurance biz, but had to deal with something similar recently when a tree fell on my wife's 2017 Volt. The car was mechanically unharmed and completely roadworthy except the back hatch glass got broken out. But there were multiple dents on the roof and other panels, and one rear quarter panel was significantly dented.

Long story short, they declared total loss, but I didn't like the payout amount, so got them to revisit the decision to total it. Turns out, the $ amount was at the low end of the range to declare total loss, but they chose that partly based on parts availability - as a customer satisfaction move. I told them I preferred to have it fixed, not totaled, and they agreed and cut a check for the repair. We opted to just replace the hatch glass and hold off on any other repairs for now (maybe forever).

I also looked into buying the "totaled" car back and fixing, which was feasible, but in the end, I did not want the hassle of selling a car with a rebuilt title in the future.

So, I would let them know you greatly prefer to fix, not total the car (also detail the work you've put into the car) and see what they offer. They have some latitude on how they settle the claim.

Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/18/22 8:03 a.m.

In reply to sevenracer :

Thank you.  Your situation is exactly what I hope to get out of this if they want to total it.  Good news, cheers.

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