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Classic car repairs

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X-Ray production team X-Ray production team | 16:07 UK time, Monday, 31 January 2011

Back in November 2009 Caroline Hill from Llantwit Major took her beloved Morris Minor to a local restoration garage, Celtic Soul VW, for a bit of a facelift. She wanted the rust removed, new brakes and an upgraded suspension, amongst some other improvements.

Caroline was told the work should take around four to six weeks to complete. "Christmas came and went and I still hadn't heard anything", she told X-Ray.

"It came to January, and he said it would be about a week. There must've been about six to nine times he was going to finish the car within a week and deliver it to us."

Rachel Treadaway-Williams driving a Morris Minor

Rachel Treadaway-Williams driving a Morris Minor

In total, Caroline paid the garage more than £4,500. But a year after first taking it to Celtic Soul there was still no sign of her Morris Minor.

When it was finally returned to her in December 2010, Caroline says there were still problems with her car. "I thought gosh these lights are really dull," she said.

"The brakes weren't brilliant, the handbrake wasn't very good and there was just things wrong with it. We took it to a friend in a garage who's an MOT tester, he had a look at it for us and he said it's not roadworthy. I was angry and upset."

Even though Caroline researched the garage she chose and asked the advice from friends and family, she'd still been without her car for over a year. So, are hold-ups like this common when it comes to fixing classics?

Peter Nedin from Port Talbot runs classic car ralleys all over the world and has been an enthusiast for over 15 years.

He explained, "When you've got a car like this and you start to do work on it you can find things that you didn't realise were there. You would expect any good restorer to explain the situation, contact the owner and say look we've found a problem, sorry but it's going to take two months or three months.

"But there's a whole host of organisations that you can go to that will help you source parts, original parts. My advice to anybody who has a classic car is to join the owners club or join a specialist club and they'll give advice on where to go."

We contacted Celtic Soul VW and they told us that they don't discuss business with third parties. They did say however that the brakes were roadworthy and thoroughly tested before the vehicle was originally given back.

They query the feedback Caroline was given about the state of the car. After correcting her concerns they've now returned the car to Caroline with a full MOT. They also say that on top of the money she's paid, they'd spent an additional £812 on parts and labour which they're not charging her for. No mention though about why it took them so long to do it in the first place.

Over 14 months after first taking her Morris Minor to the garage, Caroline finally has it back. But she's far from happy. "The condition of it is not brilliant now. The doors don't fit, there's still rust on it, there's rust in the engine and just lots of little things that he hasn't done that he should've done. And it's ruined my car."

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