Ferrari 360 Repair at Vlad's Autobahn

vlad

This is the story of getting my 2001 Ferrari 360 Spider maintenance done at Vlad’s Autobahn in West Melbourne, Florida, owned by Vlad (or Eric) Hamke and the timeline and costs. Before dropping off the car, the Ferrari had an oil leak, the convertible top was slow to close, there was a suspension light on, and that it couldn’t turn right properly.

Also put in some info about dealing with State Farm insurance on an agreed value policy.

5/24/2022 - Day 0

Drop car off for work to be done. Was quoted 1 month for car to be picked up and completed. Vlad offers to sell me his Ferrari 360 Modular wheels. I decline. He says they will fix it up real nice, it’ll be in perfect shape when it is done, and says he will even roll the fenders on it for free, and says he has some other surprises for me.

5/31/2022 - 7 days after drop off

Bought some new stock Ferrari 360 “starfish” rims to replace the 20” rims that came on my Ferrari. $1,400 with tires, picked up in Orlando.

vlad

6/6/2022 - 13 days after drop off

Vlad says estimate will be ready today.

6/8/2022 - 15 days after drop off

Vlad says estimate will be ready today for everything except transmission, which is being torn apart right now since it did not shift well on his test drive.

6/10/2022 - 17 days after drop off

Receive initial estimate of $27,941.58, here. Asked for a few items to be removed (didn’t need new air filter and didn’t want a new undertray) which brought the total down to $26,946.46, here. Vlad noted every thing wrong with the car mechanically, and I approved all other repairs.

6/11/2022 - 18 days after drop off

Vlad says he found a broken shift fork in the transmission.

6/16/2022 - 23 days after drop off

Dropped of $15,000 for parts to be ordered and work to begin. Picked up the rear challenge grill to clean and repaint it myself. Vlad says the new rims need a different size lug bolt, so I order a set shipped to him off of ebay for $150.

6/23/2022 - 30 days after drop off

New lug bolts for the new rims arrive at Vlad’s.

7/6/2022 - 43 days after drop off

Vlad installs new rims with new lug bolts.

vlad

7/7/2022 - 44 days after drop off

I pick up the old 20” rims and drop off the newly painted rear Challenge grill.

7/21/2022 - 58 days after drop off

Vlad says a shipment of parts arrived on my car and they are ready to begin work. Vlad offers to sell me his Ferrari 360 Challenge wheels for $2,300. I declined.

7/25/2022 - 62 days after drop off

Steering rack arrives.

7/28/2022 - 65 days after drop off

Vlad says not all parts are in but steering rack will begin install on Monday, 8/1/2022.

8/8/2022 - 76 days after drop off

Vlad says steering rack going in today and that they’re still waiting on other parts, and that he will make me a list of parts that they’re still waiting on.

vlad

8/10/2022 - 78 days after drop off

Vlad says steering rack is in the car and work on the convertible seals has begun.

8/16/2022 - 84 days after drop off

Received the quote for the transmission work, totalling $7,911.13 here, on top of the other work already approved.

8/19/2022 - 87 days after drop off

Dropped off $6,100 for transmission parts to be ordered and work to begin.

8/26/2022 - 94 days after drop off

Registered the Ferrari in Florida and got a license plate for it. Took forever due to having to order a New York title and get that shipped here, then had to go to the Florida DMV.

8/31/2022 - 99 days after drop off

Vlad says still waiting on some transmission parts.

9/12/2022 - 111 days after drop off

Vlad says still waiting on some transmission parts, and that the only work left is the transmission and timing belts, and should be 3 days of work.

9/14/2022 - 113 days after drop off

Vlad says that the shift forks he was waiting on for the transmission will ship on 9/28/2022.

9/26/2022 - 125 days after drop off

Vlad says still waiting on parts, and once all parts are in it will take a week of work to finish.

10/9/2022 - 138 days after drop off

Vlad says transmission parts are still not in, and that he will follow up on 10/10/2022.

10/12/2022 - 141 days after drop off

Vlad says the shipment should arrive by 10/21/2022.

10/20/2022 - 149 days after drop off

Asked Vlad to send me some certain pictures of the car to obtain new insurance through State Farm.

10/24/2022 - 154 days after drop off

Asked for the above pics again, and asked for how progress is going - Vlad says still waiting on parts. He says some of the parts still haven’t shipped. I asked for the list of parts he is still waiting on to see if I can find them elsewhere. He said that he was told by his supplier that the parts I need should be available by the end of October. I get mad and ask to find parts outside of his usual means. He gets mad and says I can pick up my transmission, which is torn apart on a table, take it to another shop to rebuild, and he will put the rebuilt trans in with no warranty or guarantee on it. I say I don’t want to do that, I just want part numbers you need and to see if I can expedite it, as my car has been in the shop for 158 days at this point.

10/26/2022 - 156 days after drop off

Vlad says he has an update on parts, that all parts should be in by 11/4/2022.

10/31/2022 - 161 days after drop off

Vlad says he has been re-assembling the transmission and still waiting on the 1st-2nd gear synchro.

11/1/2022 - 162 days after drop off

Asked for pics for insurance again.

11/2/2022 - 163 days after drop off

Asked for pics for insurance again. Vlad sends pics of the car for insurance.

11/4/2022 - 165 days after drop off

Vlad says he thinks he has all of the parts, he will let me know again on 11/7/2022.

11/7/2022 - 168 days after drop off

Vlad says he is 99% sure he has all of the parts and can begin work again after 11/21/2022.

11/9/2022 - 170 days after drop off

Vlad says he is working on the transmission again.

11/15/2022 - 176 days after drop off

Vlad calls and says he wants to do a cam shaft degreeing service for an additional 17 hours of labor, I decline. He says my car will be ready before Christmas.

11/19/2022 - 179 days after drop off

State Farm issues an insurance policy on the Ferrari with an agreed value of $25,000. I do not agree with this value and ask them to raise it to $100k.

11/21/2022 - 182 days after drop off

I ask Vlad if work will begin this week.

11/22/2022 - 183 days after drop off

I ask if work will begin this week, again. He says yes.

11/26/2022 - 187 days after drop off

I ask how progress was this week, he says they are working on the trasmission.

11/30/2022 - 190 days after drop off

Vlad says the transmission should be assembled today or tomorrow.

12/2/2022 - 192 days after drop off

Vlad says the transmission is assembled and the car should be ready for pickup the week of 12/12/2022.

12/11/2022 - 201 days after drop off

Vlad says the car should be ready for pickup on 12/16/2022.

12/15/2022 - 205 days after drop off

Vlad says the car will not be ready for pickup this week, it needs a coolant hose and a gasket. Transmission and timing belt service is complete.

12/21/2022 - 211 days after drop off

Vlad says the coolant hose has arrived and waiting on a gasket that should arrive today.

12/22/2022 - 212 days after drop off

Vlad sent me a video of the 360 running and said it will be drivable today.

12/28/2022 - 218 days after drop off

Vlad says he drove the car 20 miles and that a suspension light and a check engine light came on, and that the car needs an alignment, and that the car drove nice.

12/31/2022 - 221 days after drop off

I asked when the car will be ready.

1/3/2023 - 224 days after drop off

Vlad called and said work is complete, but a new Check Engine Light for a timing issue has come on and he thinks it is the variator. He said he will call me tomorrow. I ask him for my final bill without any variator work.

1/4/2023 - 225 days after drop off

I call Vlad and he said he no word on parts or a variator quote, he will call me tomorrow. I ask him for my final bill without any variator work. He said he will send me the bill and the estimate for the variator work tomorrow. Renewed the registration on the license plate that I haven’t even put on the car yet.

State Farm finally responds that my car is not worth $100k, it is worth $60k. I do not agree that my car is worth $60,000 and I submit additional documentation on valuation.

1/5/2023 - 226 days after drop off

Vlad said still no word and he will call me tomorrow. I ask him for my final bill without any variator work.

1/6/2023 - 227 days after drop off

Vlad’s mom said she will have a final bill for me on 1/9/2023.

1/9/2023 - 230 days after drop off

Asked for an update, no response.

1/10/2023 - 231 days after drop off

Asked for an update, no response.

1/11/2023 - 232 days after drop off

Received a final bill from Vlad’s mom, here. No other communication about any variator issues. Noticed that power steering items and engine mounts were removed from the bill and spark plugs and air filters were added. Number of hours on the transmission had doubled from 10 hours to 20 hours. Timing belt tensioners went from $340 on the estimate to $664 on the bill, and the hours worked on the convertible top went from 6 hours to 8. Also noticed that his hourly rate changed from $180 to $195/hr.

1/12/2023 - 233 days after drop off

Vlad lets me know they sent the bill, that they are short staffed, that parts delays are happening, and he will get me a quote on the variator. Called Strictly Foreign, a reputable Ferrari shop in town, and left a voice mail. Stan, the owner of Strictly Foreign, called me back an hour later, said he could diagnose and fix my issue, but it will be a few weeks before they have room to work on my car. His rate is $165/hr.

1/18/2023 - 239 days after drop off

Asked State Farm if the Agreed Value has been updated to $100k. They said it has and asked for more pictures of the car. Asked Vlad for more pictures of the car. He said he will send them, and that his mom had sent an estimate for the variator fix (she hadn’t). He said he wil followup. He asked if I could come pay for the rest of what I owe on the car, I asked him to let me know once it’s ready and I could come pay for it.

1/24/2023 - 245 days after drop off

I receive an estimate to replace the variator from Vlad. It is a $295 part and 26 hours of labor at his new rate of $195/hr. I inform him that I will be declining this repair and picking up my car next week. He offers to have it detailed. I then asked when I could come pay and pick up and he says next week after he is done racing.

2/2/2023 - 254 days after drop off

Paid off the balance in full, $35,373.22. He had installed air filters I had declined, as the car had new engine air filters, which he threw away, so he gave me the new air filters for free.

Vlad noted he performed the convertible top work he quoted, but did not fix the sag in the top and informed me that I should buy a new top. This is the first time in 9 months he had mentioned that. He also mentioned that the timing belt pulleys that he ordered 6 months ago were not Hill Engineering as I had asked, but OEM Ferrari (which are an inferior part), and cost almost twice as much as the Hill part.

He made me sign an agreement that he is not liable for any engine damage of his causing because I am turning down the 26 hour variator replacement. He says I can not pick up the car until the check clears, but it can not stay more than a few days, so I plan to pick it up on Monday, 2/7/2023.

I installed my license plate, took pictures for State Farm insurance, and picked up the box of old parts to take home.

2/6/2023 - 258 days after drop off

Picked up my car at Vlad’s, they had put in a new old battery since they said mine died. Noticed they did not roll the front driver fender like they said they would, or if they rolled it they did a not very good job. The car had a check engine light, suspension light, and SLOW DOWN light on when I picked it up. I drove the car to Simply Foreign and dropped it off for further diagnosis.
Vlad unfollows me on Instagram.

2/10/2023

Called Strictly Foreign, they said the timing was done incorrectly by Vlad’s Autobahn, that the camshaft and crankshaft were not in time. He advised me that my options were to go back to Vlad’s and ask them to redo it, or the better solution would be to take it to a Ferrari dealer. Called Vlad’s from 3 different phone numbers, no response. Voice mail is shut off. Called the Orlando Ferrari dealer, they couldn’t get me in until March. Tampa Ferrari dealer sent me a quote for transport ($600 each way) and could get me in on 2/17. Palm Beach Ferrari said they could get me in on 2/13 or 2/14, and could comp the tow and would definitely get this fixed, and was apologetic over Vlad’s Autobahn giving me the runaround. Decided on using Ferrari Palm Beach.

2/14/2023

Dropped off car at Ferrari Palm Beach. $340/hr for labor. They will also install the new fuel pumps (my left one was leaking)

2/17/2023

Ferrari Palm Beach said they will have an update for me next week and that the timing job was done incorrectly.

3/1/2023

Ferrari Palm Beach said my car is ready and timing is fixed - they said the previous shop had either not replaced the timing belts or put in used parts. The previous shop had the timing 6 degress off. Total is $5228 to fix the work that Vlad’s did incorrectly and to install the new fuel pumps. State Farm said that since my car is “high mileage” at 29k, it is only worth $80k for insurance agreed value, even after they said it was worth $100k previously.

3/4/2023

Picked up the car from Ferrari Palm Beach. Drove it 200 miles in the next few days, it drove perfect, no check engine lights. Noticed the air conditioner doesn’t blow cold. Started a chargeback through Chase for $3800 for the timing issues and transmission hours doubling without being informed, which is illegal in Florida. .

3/28/2023

The top that Vlad had “fixed” stopped working completely. Won’t go up or down and is stuck in the middle. I ended up partially fixing it myself, but this is an issue that Vlad’s Autobahn caused by rebuilding a hydrauilic incorrectly. The hydraulic behind the passenger headrest is shooting fluid.

4/28/2023

Chase approves my first charge back on the transmission/timing/timing belt issues.

Written on May 1, 2023

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