Tuesday, June 9, 2020

[M3, Focus, Skyline] Taste of Alpha-N, paint shop quoting, back road drivin'

[note: this post, like an air-cooled 911, is back-dated to when these events occurred] 

Big update tonight!

First up - a couple weekends ago, I gave Kevin a lift when he dropped his car off for storage. He has A-N and a carbon airbox, and he generously swapped seats to let me try it out.

The A-N/airbox combo was fantastic and cemented my decision. His car is also just so damn nice. Always a pleasure to be allowed behind the wheel! Here's a video of Kevin's car he posted on YouTube showcasing the induction noise:

A week ago (last Monday), my car went to the shop to have the Evo wing painted. I've not had paintwork done before so I found the quoting experience interesting. I'll share my thoughts here for those who are curious or inexperienced as I am. I took the car, the wing, and the carbon flap to four different shops in the bay area that were recommended to me by local M3 owners and my company's car club. All of the shops quoted in terms of hours of prep required on the wing, and hours of paint required. The hourly rate at all of the shops was around $110/hour, with the exception of shop A, which was $80. I told them I was looking for good paint color match, and a "cars and coffee" level of quality. I told them I was NOT trying to hit the lawn at Pebble Beach. This is how the quotes came back:

Shop Prep time quote (hours)Paint time quote (hours)Total quote 

Apologies for formatting slaughter...

The prep time at shop A was a red flag. I don't know body work first-hand, but I know that wing needed more than 30 minutes of love. The quote from shop B... I'm not sure what that was. I would say that it was their way of no-quoting my business, but they could have said that when I first showed up. Shop C had reasonable time estimates, the shop was clean, the quote guy friendly, and an air-cooled 911 in the back. Shop D the quote guy's attitude immediately turned me off. I ended up going with shop C.

I left the car with them to let them ruminate on the paint match. They sprayed out a magnetic test 'chip' that I came and looked at with them before giving the final OK to paint out the wing. More on that in the next post.

On Sunday Ted and Jon came down and I led them on some great roads I've discovered in the south San Jose / Morgan Hill area. With my car out of commission, and my GT-R doing its best Audi impression only running on five cylinders, I had to call on my Nitrous Blue daily driver to lead the charge.

We had perfect weather and clear roads for most of the journey! Being the nice guys that they are, Jon and Ted helped me isolate the misfire issue on the GT-R and identify a bad fuel injector on cylinder 3. I think Ted was intimidated when he saw all those cylinders and all that turbo piping but he gained his footing pretty quickly! Haha.

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