Colletti Motorsports failed me miserably on many accounts. But what finally drove me over the edge was when the head gasket went bad on my 1987 Buick Grand National after only 1200 miles. Colletti's used a head gasket known to fail often on these cars. I asked Colletti's to pay for only half the cost of replacing the head gasket. They refused. I contacted a lawyer and, unfortunately, it will not be worth the time or money to pursue court action.
To better understand the entire situation, the following is a letter I wrote to my attorney explaining the situation:
Hello, this is John O****. If you recall, you helped me in the lawsuit against Tony Scarberry. I have another problem I may need help with. I took my 1987 Buick Grand National, to be repaired, to Colletti Motorsports in Moraine, OH. I took the vehicle to them in November of 2010. [continued below]....
..... I anticipate the car to be finally drivable again next month. That is 3 years since I originally took the car to Colletti's. I now have KDK Performance checking over Colletti Motorsport's work and KDK Performance determined Colletti's used a head gasket known to fail on Buick Grand Nationals. I asked Steve (the owner of Colletti's) if he would please pay half the cost of replacing the head gasket (total cost is slightly over $1200 to replace the head gasket). I thought I has being more than fair and reasonable by only asking for half the cost ($600). Steve's response was "I do not warranty race engines."
I want to see if I have a case against Steve and if it will be worthwhile to pursue legal action. I do not want this to turn into another Tony Scarberry lawsuit where I have justified cause for action but nothing to gain. Steve Colletti has a legitimate business so I think there may be something to gain but I would like you to decide.
Basically my father died in November 2010 and left me some money. I wanted to fix my car because it was broke down, and driving and caring for my car is something I really enjoy. I also thought of my car as therapy in the loss of my father. I really wanted my car to be done and ready for the coming summer (summer 2011). I approached Steve and asked him if he could fix my car. I chose Steve because my ex wife's father worked there and Steve's website claimed they were Turbo Specialists (which is no longer on their website I have noticed.) I plainly told Steve that I wanted the car done by March 2011 and that I have heard many times that these Buicks are very tricky to work on. I also wanted the car to be at least 500 Horsepower. He said he could do it. I asked him again, are you sure? He said it would be no problem.
He did not even start working on the car until February, if I recall correctly. My first indication that he did not have the first clue what he was dealing with was when he suggested he change the crankshaft and timing order of the engine. Ever since that, I was very nervous and stressed out all the time about whether or not my car would run correctly or "blow up" shortly after getting the car back. I felt I had to "babysit" him every step of the way. I also did my own research and had to tell him some things to do to the engine, like drilling out the oil holes in the engine block for better oil flow to the crankshaft. He also charged me $600 for a set of 8 fuel injectors when the car is a 6 cylinder. I am actually having those fuel injectors removed for some better ones, which he should have done in the first place. KDK Performance is putting in better injectors at a cost of $425. Steve basically gave me less performance at a higher cost by choosing the fuel injectors that he did. And as many times as I told Steve he charged me for 8 fuel injectors, when I only needed 6 (about 3 times), he never apologized or offered a refund on that part. Also, I do understand that businesses customarily mark up prices of parts they get, but I noticed Steve's mark up on prices were often 30% or more.
After feeling very nervous about Steve's choices, I decided to start ordering parts for the car myself. I did this because I felt he was making poor choices and also marking the prices up much too high. When I finally got the car back, after having to stop by and call the shop frequently and being very stressed and worried, it was the middle or end of July (July 2011). I was very disappointed the car took so long, but at the time I was happy just to get it back and decided to forget about everything and hope the car would perform as expected. The car ended up being nowhere near the 500 Horsepower I asked for but Steve said to just drive it and break it in and he would tune it at a later date. So, after driving it approximately a month or so, I took the car back for some non-engine work. Summer was over and the car needed minor non-engine work and I thought if the car was there, he would tune it correctly. He fixed the non-engine items I had requested but still told me to break it in further. Once I got the car back the second time, it started smoking badly and I returned it to Steve. They could not figure out why it was smoking and I asked if they checked the turbo down pipe for oil stains that would indicate a turbo failure. After finally checking my suggestion last and discovering I was correct, he said the turbo went bad. It could be purely coincidental that the turbo went bad, but, in my opinion, it is very likely they did something wrong to make it go bad because it had never shown any indication of going bad. When the turbo finally arrived and I got the car back the third time, it was January 2013. The car was still not tuned and was seriously underperforming what was promised but I really did not want Steve touching or doing anything more to the car because I just simply did not trust him at all at this point.
I am living in Florida now, so I came and picked up the car in January 2013 and drove it to Tampa. I wanted to make sure I barely drove the car and did not harm it because I wanted a true professional to check out Steve's work. And as it turns out, Steve used a head gasket known to frequently fail in these cars. I asked Steve for half the cost to replace it ($600), as I stated earlier, and his indication is that he would not. Not only this, but on my drive down, a turbo hose blew in the middle of the night and I had to "limp" it to a Walmart to get parts to fix the turbo hose. Also I found out that the transmission cooler, that Steve installed, was not hooked up and working properly. I could have blown the new transmission that I had just put in it. The transmission in it now is the fifth transmission I have had in it. It took me awhile to finally find a good one. I had not intention of letting Steve pick out a transmission. With Steve's refusal of helping with the cost of his mistake, it has brought back all the memories of his failure with my car and I am just completely stressed out, anxious, angry, and irritated.
So, we have: 1. the car not being finished on time as promised, 2. excessive mark up of parts, 3. blown head gasket, 4. the car not performing as promised, and 5. the immense amount of stress and anxiety this has caused me.
Do I have a case?
I forgot to mention that KDK Performance, in Orlando, has had my car now since January 2013. I felt I had no choice but to keep it there and not drive it until Steve's work was fully checked out. It is also embarrassing for me to have to take it to KDK Performance to have another mechanic's work checked. I am sure KDK Performance is worried they could miss something or the car could be damaged by Steve's work and could go bad while at their shop causing me to think it's KDK's fault. I have dealt with KDK many times in the past and fully trust them. And it was they who told me to never let anyone but a Grand National specialist to ever work on my car. I certainly wish I would have heeded that warning now. And even though KDK is checking the car over, that does not mean that Steve's work could go bad shortly in the future. And I am really worried that it will and cost me much more money. I think I spent around $15,000 with Steve Colletti but I would have to check the receipts to be sure.