Hi everybody, I'm Rob and I've never really shown pics of my AWD coupe project on here before but this is what it looked like back during Sydney Olympics 2000 (when digi-cameras were 1 megapixel lol). It was a bog stock white GL 1.5 carby GL coupe and it hadnt been registered since December 1999!! I bought it in July 2000 for the sole purpose to AWD and turbo it. It got registered for 4 weeks until I took it off the road in Sept 2000... (yup, car has only been on the road for 4 weeks in the last 8.5 years!! lol)
IT ALL STARTED AS A NIGHTMARE
After buying the coupe I sourced a donor EVO wreck for the AWD conversion, but the EVO didnt come with an engine so I got an RS VR4 frontcut too. It was converted way back in 2001 when parts were hard to come by. I got screwed over/blackmailed out of a lot of $$$ from a workshop by a guy named "JOSH" - A low life con artist that was doing the conversion work on my behalf as I had recently undergone open heart surgery and couldn't work on the car myself. I got quoted $8,000 to do the conversion and the deal was made.
After some months in the workshop and unbeknown to his customers, he stopped working on our cars and went AWOL. No one could contact him and he wouldn't return any phone calls. Apparently he did a 'questionable' insurance injury claim and couldn't work on any of the cars that were in various stages of builds in his workshop. In the meantime he was out of work and demanding money from customers for works done to their cars. One day he rang and demanded that I pay him an extra $5,000 or he would sell my car because it was unregistered and he took claim to its ownership! He made the same demands to some of his other customers whom also hadn't seen their car for weeks or even months. Yeah, he was a real piece of work. I had no choice but to take out a personal loan with a credit union for the extra $5,000 and pay him just to get my car back. Looking back now, I figure that what mattered most was to get my car back home and query the extra $$ with him later.
I expected to pick the car up completed after spending $13,000 at this 'workshop'.... I was wrong!!!.....
He didn't have the balls to be onsite when I picked the car up because he knew he lied to me about the work that had been done to it, therefore he sent his father to open up the shop instead. When I saw that my car was unfinished I was devastated. After some difficulty to get it started, I drove the car up on the car float in AWD trim but some electrics were shorting out with a relay buzzing and gauges not working etc and it drove like crap. The car barely idled and it was struggling to drive without drivetrain noises and engine miss-fire. When I asked about my spare parts from the evo wreck and VR4 frontcut, I was told that the parts were sold off, without my permission, and he pocketed the $$ for himself. I remember delivering the car back home and just putting it straight into the garage. I was filled with rage and wanted to seriously inflict a lot of pain his way or worse I would be lying if I deny that the proposition wasn't presented to me either because the other guys who had their cars in the workshop got together, including a police officer who had his own car in the workshop, and I believe they oxy cut their way in to retrieve their cars. The man hunt began.
The owner went into hiding for months until one day I spotted him in town and confronted him about screwing me over. I was ropeable and yelling at him and at my breaking point. He remained silent and didn't say a word. In fact he positioned his girlfriend between himself and I as a human shield to get into his car and take off. I didn't see nor hear from him again for a long time as rumour had it that he skipped town.
I understand he came back to work as an employee for another workshop a couple years later, but as soon as customers became aware of who he was he skipped town again. Some time later I also learned that he came back to work for another workshop but was sacked after customers identified him and refused to deal with the company because of him. I had not seen nor heard from him in years and honestly even after so long the anger is still there. I hope he rots in hell as far as I'm concerned for what he put me through at the time.
I have since learned that he is a member of this forum but he keeps a low profile. I wont name and shame him because it's not the right thing to do on a public forum, even though its a struggle not to pick up from where things left off years ago. If you are reading this, know that the wounds still cut deep. As long as we don't cross paths, I wont make it my next purpose in life to hunt you the fuck down and exact my revenge for good.
When I gained the strength to get back to my build I found many bolts had been done up loosely in the engine bay and suspension, or items that had been put together incorrectly or using the wrong type of bolts. But the biggest thing that rubbed salt into the wounds was when I discovered that the parts in the "evo wreck" I had purchased weren't even fitted to my car!!. I had a GSR gearbox, GSR rear diff, GSR brakes, GSR wiring loom and ECU!!! That motherfuker!!!
It taught me not to trust anybody except myself from there on in, so I practically stripped the car back down to a bare shell and started it all over again..... myself!!
With $13k spent on the AWD conversion and not getting what I paid for, I couldn't afford to be wasting money at workshops that promise everything, but couldn't deliver!!
DO IT YOURSELF
I continued to work on the car myself a little here and there over the next few years, rebuilding the engine, doing the interior, wiring, suspension, basically whenever I had the spare time and cash to throw at it. Buying a house, having kids and doing some home renovations made sure that my project dropped in priority many times... but I was determined to keep at it and not give up on something that I intended to complete, no matter what obstacles and hardships that came my way!
Now that my engine bay was nearly complete, I had to find somebody to do my intercooler piping.
SECOND WORKSHOP - INTERCOOLER (Welding work)
When it came to welding the intercooler piping I obviously didn't have the experience to do it myself. I took it to a workshop that had it for 3 months! It sat in the workshop with maybe one day's worth of work done to make an intercooler holding bracket only. That was it, 3 months to do that! During this time the workshop was actually broken into and my car was damaged with a scratch and dent on the side from somebody stealing a motorbike and side-swiping my car on the way out (apparently). He offered to repair it but I told him not to bother as I need to get custom paint made up to suit and I'll take care of it later. A few weeks later I popped by the workshop during a lunchbreak to check on its progress. I found my car had been rolled out into the carpark with the workshop doors closed. I knocked on the door but no one was in. I rang the phone number and could hear it ringing inside the office but the shop was closed. They left my car unlocked and unsecured outside with thousands of $$ worth of brand new performance parts in boxes, including my brand new turbo and aftermarket ECU there for the taking. I can see that it was also left outside in the rain as water had came in through the bonnet vents and sitting inside my rocker cover
I waited for the next half an hour to see if anybody returned but nobody did. I continued to call the owners mobile but it kept going straight to his message bank. After an hour I had to leave and run another errand so I locked the car up and was making calls to have it picked up and taken somewhere else that afternoon. About half an hour later I received a phone call from the workshop owner saying that he had just 'ducked out' for lunch. I explained to him that it was a neglectful thing to do and that he risked damage to my car and thousands of dollars worth of parts being stolen. He apologised for his actions and for doing very little work to the car in 3 months. I made arrangements for him to be present later that afternoon when I had my car picked up and towed to another workshop. I think it was more the case of him spending most of his time working on his friends cars since he opened up shop and didn't have time to do other work. Some months later I heard that his shop had closed down due to the owner being arrested and put into prison for dealing drugs. I mean WTF??
THIRD WORKSHOP - INTERCOOLER & PIPING, OIL COOLER BRACKET (Welding work)
The workshop I had the car towed to had the car for 9 months! They did a good job with the intercooler piping and mounting the intercooler, made a bend for the throttle body and mounted the oil cooler as well. The whole time it sat in the workshop their commitment dates were blown out and other customer cars came and went. Mine and a couple of other unfinished projects just sat in the corner being neglected. It seemed that the workshop owner was more interested in having their premises filled with cars to gain notoriety and to advertise their capabilities, rather than delivering a service to their customers. 9 months to fit an intercooler and piping plus weld a bracket on for an oil cooler? That's fkn ridiculous.
MORE LESSONS LEARNED
So reflecting back over that particular 12 month period waiting for welding work to be done (because I cant do it), it sat in 2 workshops, got damaged and only had the intercooler and oil cooler fitted!
I realised that there are workshops and there are posers. There are shops that say they can do things but have no idea about customer service or delivering it within acceptable timeframes. This confirmed my belief that if you want something done properly, you have to do it yourself or get a mate or someone who you trust to help you do it.
ENGINEERING AND THE ROAD TO REGO
I'll add photos of what's been happening to it over the last few years and hopefully bring you up to spec to where it is now and what I'm going to do to it
The first two pics is how it sat for a while in the garage. It would have made a nice little sleeper as a stock AWD white coupe with VR4 turbo engine, however, it turned out to be the start of a long project and a personal commitment to make something different to the norm. It was as much of a personal achievement as it was an engineering one.
Hope you guys like it
Edited by EVO-00X, 16 August 2014 - 01:45 AM.