The story is as old as the automobile itself. Spring has sprung in the Lakes Region, and my clients are taking their cars out of winter storage. It's a perennial event, dusting off the cars and hitting the road for the maiden voyage.
It was just this week, that I encountered the second of two annual visits. I will share with you the story of two Mustangs, one of Ford's most enduring marks, and a "summer toy" for many automotive enthusiasts.
Customer A, owns a mid-'90s Mustang convertible, a triple black V8 5-speed car. Not a six-figure collectible; howeverl he treats it as such. Since purchasing this vehicle from me at the garage, he has treated it like a treasured possession. It comes to me every fall for a thorough detailing and a proper winterization prior to storage. We then take the trip to the storage place (heated, of course) and park her for the next five to six months. When weather allows, the call comes in, scheduling a pickup date, and we go to the storage facility, dust it off, check the fluids, tire pressures and reconnect the battery. A turn of the key, he's off and running. This is how most of my customers are with their cars, whether antique, classic or more modern special interest.
However, there are a select few, we will call them Customer type B. I just had B's car in my shop. He didn't call last year, he called this week, car is in his own garage. The battery is dead, car is filthy, and he can't find the registration stickers. We get the car to my shop. It was truly parked one day late last fall, just before snowfall. It has not been touched since. It's covered in dirt and sand, and on top of it, the interior is covered in mildew. Now, this is a newer, more modern Mustang, special edition, one of just a couple hundred produced. It deserves a much better life than it is living. The under house garage is a high moisture environment, and the lack of a proper dehumidifier caused the mildew to make a home on the leather interior.
Owner A is a preventative maintenance owner. Owner B is a reactionary owner. Owner A spent a fair amount to ensure his car was left in great shape, and ready to go in the spring. Owner B just got a bill higher than owner A, simply because it's much more work to get the car back to proper shape than it is to keep one in tip top condition.
The moral of the story is simple. If we keep our cars in top condition along the way, we will enjoy many miles of happy motoring! Keep this in mind if you are also taking your summer toys out of storage. Take the time to do the basics, check all fluids, check your battery, make sure tires are properly inflated. Once you have the basics covered, consider the next level of care, have your car detailed, washed, waxed and vacuumed. Take it in, have the fluids changed, check all belts, hoses and other rubber components. All these things will ensure your vehicle is ready for the summer fun we have here in the Lakes Region.
I hope to see you on the road, at a cruise night, car show, or down at the ice cream stand. Safe travels!
- Denis Finnerty is the owner of Finn's Garage in Meredith.
The owner of this Mustang took proper care of it over the winter, so it was little work to open it up for the nice weather. (Courtesy photo)
Denis Finn of Finn's Garage enjoys a moment sitting in the Ray Allen car. (Courtesy photo)
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