Sometimes things just don't go to plan. When I got back from holiday on Sunday we had 4 cars at our Cotswolds site apparently on the sick list. The following few days are a testament to the value of good suppliers. And a sad indictment of the 4th emergency service.
The tale started when our white Morris Minor convertible threw a con rod through the block, luckily a few miles from our unit at the end of a hire. We quickly sourced two options for a replacement engine. One supplier, despite repeated calls, failed to return calls (and still hasn't). So out £1,000 went to the ever reliable David Manners Group in Oldbury who had a 'hi po' (hoho) big bore 1098cc engine on the shelf. The team there know our business and the urgency we face to repair cars in time for hires. 9.15am next day we had our engine. So our hirers this weekend, who want the car for their wedding, will have a repaired car that has also been tested.
Next up, the Great Escape Classic Car Hire Jensen dumped its gearbox fluid and trashed the box on hire. We sorted the customer out with another car immediately and recovered the vehicle to Cropredy Bridge, the Jensen specialist. Gearbox leaks are a notorious weakness of the Interceptor but clearly there was an issue with the new box we had fitted late last year. Despite a stacked out workshop, Cropredy fitted the car in quickly and within 24 hours had dropped in a replacement box. This means we can get the car back to Yorkshire for a surprise hire for a husband celebrating his 40th birthday.
The wipers on our 3.8 Jaguar Mk2 then decided to die. In the process of repairing them the coil literally exploded, blowing acid over the car and our mechanic Darren. With a Moggy engine to fit we pushed this car out to our Jaguar specialist who turned it around in a day. And Darren, thank goodness, is fine.
And finally. A little knowledge goes a long way. A client reported a misfire on our red E Type coupe on hire. The fourth emergency service attended and diagnosed a head gasket failure and noted sooty plugs. We recovered the car and provided a replacement car within 2 hours. Back at the unit a pressure test and ramp inspection revealed no problems and no misfire. The claim, combined with the condition of the recently renewed plugs leads us to conclude the car was driven with the choke on, which would cause both symptoms. Solved by cleaning the plugs and advising the customer. Not the first time that the fourth emergency service has entirely failed to solve a simple problem that doesn't need computer plug in diagnostics.
At Great Escape Classic Car Hire we don't suffer problems like this too often, but it is part of classic car hire. In each of these cases we managed to rescue the situation and the customer will be happy and none the wiser. Mostly, we manage it. Sometimes we don't and boy we feel bad about it, although we can generally provide another car.
Classic cars are unpredictable whatever servicing work we do. But when it goes wrong we work flat out to sort it. Which requires decent suppliers too.
Www.greatescapecars.co.uk. 01527 893733