There has been a lot of time between the last post and this, which isn’t to say that there weren’t adventures, more that taking the time to update them here hasn’t been a priority. But, here I am locked down due to COVID-19 and on vacation, so there’s a little more time in the schedule.
I’m going to start with the most recent adventure because it’s the most dramatic…
On March 10th, before the world went mad, I was driving home from a Tuesday night choir practice. The usual venue is a church complex 14km from home and leaving after rehearsal at 9.30 at night, mid autumn means it’s dark and the roads usually aren’t too busy…
However, on this occasion, as I was about to turn left onto the main road, I heard a siren approaching from the right. I couldn’t see the fire engine, but out of an abundance of caution I hesitated so as not to have it collect me in this tiny car. Sadly the person behind me in their big ass Toyota Camry, assuming that having started to move I would continue, did not equally hesitate.
We pulled over, thankfully, the young woman in her big car stopped too, we exchanged names and phone numbers completely forgetting in our disturbance to get all the important information (Address, Car Rego, Insurer 🤦🏻♀️).
This was a Tuesday, I was flying out to NZ for a family visit on the Thursday, so to expedite the car getting the attention that was needed while I was away, I called a nearby friend who followed me to my mechanic’s where we parked Miss Lucie in their driveway knowing that in the morning she would be in safe hands and near the adjacent body shop who’d be doing the bodywork.
I initiated the claim with my insurer and then had to chase down the young woman for the remaining details so I could avoid paying the excess ($200) – it was clearly her at fault, but not having to pay the excess requires her to admit that fault. This part made me hesitant; in the past I’ve had someone leave me their number after hitting my parked car, answering the phone once and then never again… Thankfully in this case she was forthcoming, if reluctant.
She actually also asked me not to make a claim. The excess on her policy was $3000 – more than she could afford as a university student. She went about telling me her dad has classic cars too and their favourite body shop would do me a deal… I demurred… I felt like Kathy Bates’ character in Fried Green Tomatoes.
Face it, girls. I’m older and I have more insurance.Fannie Flagg ~ Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe
This car’s special, there’s no way I’d consider trusting it to an unknown, quite possibly, dodgy option. Especially given the cost of the damage was going to be way higher than the value of her excess.
Anyway… once all the details were settled I went to NZ with a charge from the smash repair team to find a boot lid to save having to panel beat the broken one… I expected it to be less difficult to find one in NZ as there are still quite a few Elves around over there but I didn’t succeed. I ended up finding one instead on ebay in the UK.
I corresponded with the seller to ensure that if I did win the auction for it they’d be OK with me arranging uplift and postage of the boot all the way from Scotland to Australia… and I waited, and won. They did indeed package it up and thankfully at a size that the mail services would accommodate. So I parted with a cool £30 for the part, and a hot £300 for postage – $850 in local currency! (Thankfully that was all at the eventual expense of the insurer). It finally arrived at my place all in good order at the end of April.
So then it was all just a case of waiting for the bits and pieces to get done, bit by bit… with occasional emails from the panel-beaters with progress pictures coming to keep me in the loop, and stave off my anxiety at being car-less for so long…
One reason to be thankful for the repeated lockdowns here in Victoria.. even with a car we wouldn’t be able to go terribly far afield anyway…
In between treatments at the panel beaters, I got some work done across the road at the mechanic’s, a new chrome extension to the tailpipe, and new silver trip along her sides. We went with the Cooper S trim which takes her up a level and won’t keep falling off as the old standard trim was wont to do.
Finally, the last piece of the puzzle were the chrome bumper bars, which were of with a chrome specialist. These were the parts with more unknown quantities that took longer than expected due to rust damage… but gosh when she was all back together and ready to collect, the whole package was worth the wait. I think that cosmetically now there’s really only one more job and that’s the rubber and weather seals around her doors and windows, and the rear perished window trims and any further restoration attention will turn to under the hood.
So, on Thursday I jumped in a cab to head over to collect her and bring her back home to her garage where she belongs.
Relieved and quite delighted at just how great she looks I think I’m going to be super cautious about taking her out from now on, and I think she’s got a better chance at placing in the restoration categories at our next shows… if we ever get to have shows again…
I’m ridiculously grateful to the craftspeople who have got her back together and to Shannons Insurance who took her on. Thanks Harvey Body works for the Smash Repair – https://harveybodyworks.com.au/ and Link Automotive for the mechanical work – /https://www.linkautomotive.com.au/
Now, if only we could fast forward to August 19th when lockdown (hopefully) ends again and we can go off on a road trip…