The hot topic this month has to be our new man Jake. He joined us just before Christmas. He goes to the local college ½ a day to finish his degree in auto tech, and then comes to work with us for ½ day to fulfill his apprenticeship in British cars. He has an amazing amount of experience and natural aptitude and loves learning how that all applies to our beloved Babies, and just how we do things here at the Ranch. When he is not in school or here with us, he is working on his collection of classic Ford trucks, or helping his many friends with their car problems. He plays guitar, both acoustic and electric very well, wears jeans and cowboy boots, doesn`t have any body art and believes a handshake is a contract. Did I mention he is smart? He just competed in a skills competition for college level auto tech programs and he took first place in the local contest. It was then on to state and where he took first place. He is now our state representative to the national competition in Kentucky!
Our other new girl, Laurie, is just as impressive. She has been working hard at getting all the interior upholstery done to a very high level in Jay Adams` MG, it looks simply amazing! Then she also has taken on the refinishing and installation of a wood dash, gauges, switches and wiring in Vince and Michele’s` Bugeye. She never ceases to impress me!
Meanwhile, Christopher is coming up on his 3rd year anniversary with me, and has developed into the best British mechanic I have ever worked with. He is responsible for 3 cars at once right now, Ron Ganges’s Healey restoration, Mike Riley’s` TR6 complete steering ( below ) and suspension work and Andy McFarland’s` MGB awakening from years of storage.
Me, I`m learning the fine balancing act of managing, mentoring and contributing wrench work to a 4 person busy shop. The optimum recommended staffing level is 1 service advisor for every 2.5 technician’s; I am able to keep up only because of the quality of the people that are with me! And I love every bit of it.
This month has been the test drive and nearing the finish line for Dan Vencill`s Healey. This is the Healey that his brother owned and loved, and after his brother`s passing, Dan has made a goal of bringing it back to life so he can honor that memory. We think the final need to be revealed is the replacement of the radiator with an aluminum Wizard radiator. A bit more test driving will confirm that and it can go home with him.
Bruce Barrett`s Healey needs a 4 wheel alignment and his winter maintenance list will be complete. It included a Wizard aluminum radiator; tune up and new LED headlights. I LOVE those LED headlights so much, I am going to become a dealer for them soon. They make the halogen H4 headlights look dim in comparison.
Dave Murray`s MGB got new brake master cylinder and power servo and is back on the road.
Gary Wilson`s TR3 is on track to be ready for April driving, after a thorough winter maintenance list.
Randy and Sherree Gauzes’ TR6 entered phase 2 of its revitalization this month. The suspension, steering and brakes are finished and now I am rebuilding the transmission and following that with rebuilding the engine.
All of that work will continue in February, with Vencill and Barrett hopefully ready to go home! Dennis Hughes` Healey will be the next one in, followed by McMahon and Saul which are both TR6`s.
New to the schedule is Bob and Nancy Withycombe from Walla Walla. Bob inherited a 55 Healey BN1 that was located in Martha`s Vineyard Massachusetts. They had it transported to the Ranch and had a quick assessment so they could decide on what they wanted for the beauty. The family plan was to have it put into good enough shape that the grand kids could enjoy the piece of family history, and that is exactly what Bob and Nancy have decided on. It is on the schedule now to have a mechanical refresh in order to become an active part of the family!