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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Doug's Domain

Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI

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April 13, 2006

Five weeks. Five weeks of driving assorted trucks, sitting 6 feet off the ground. Five weeks of hideous gas mileage, poor handling and road noise. And most importantly, I imagine -- five weeks of no double-takes from hot chicks. :-) A man can only take so much, right?

Tonight I pulled up to the body shop with my brother's van (which was due for some rust removal and would thus be staying at the shop for a few days) and saw her. The sun had set moments ago and the remainder of the afterglow reflected off of her beautifully smooth, polished paint. It was like reuniting with a long lost love. I inserted the key in the ignition, gently twisted it, and was immediately engaged with the throaty growl of the exhaust and the silky-smooth idle. It didn't take long to became aroused at the possibility of driving her again. And then I did. The biggest surprise was the seating position. I'd been driving so high for so long that the car made me feel as though my seat was resting on the road(!). The steering was amazingly tight, the ride compliant, but smooth, and the road noise nonexistent. My baby was back.

(Image: Front after body work)

As with all of life's twists and turns, this was a learning experience. I learned that my insurance company is two-faced. They no longer fairly treat people who choose to go to their own body shops. You either go to their recommended shop and get everything paid for without question (but with questionable completion standards), or they write a completely inadequate estimate based on a lot of self-serving rules. Based on my prior experience I didn't expect to bicker so much about the proper way to repair my car at an independent shop, but I did, and my debating skills only got me double what they originally offered or, all told, about 1/3 the total cost of the proper repair. I suppose I should consider myself lucky, since I just got a 30% discount on work I had already planned to do, but it still irks me.

When all was said and done, the phone tag and adjuster's second trip to see the car delayed the start of work for a week. Why the new work took an additional four weeks is beyond me, but no matter. It's done now and the car is back in my garage where it belongs.

Spoke to my dealer today and they were able to give me a bit more fine-grained information concerning the status of the E46. Looks like it's due into the port this Saturday. If that happens and the holiday doesn't screw with things too badly, I should take delivery late next week. Can't wait!