The People’s Car

True confession:  (if my 928 posting didn’t already reveal this) Like most mechanics, I have some less-than-justifiable affections for some cars.  One such car (for me) is the almighty Volkswagen Quantum.  Sold in the US between 1982 and 1989 this trusty VW will have a very hard time making it to any automobile hall-of-fame.  It was, really, the first Passat sold in the US but like all VWs of its time, it got rebranded for this market.  At my shop, during winter months, you will likely find a 1985 Quantum wagon fitted with VW’s all-wheel-drive ‘Syncro’ system.  It is one of approximately 500 that made it to the US for 1985 and one of approximately 3000 that were ever sold here.  If the Quantum has a chance of any immortality (and it doesn’t) the Syncro Wagon is it.  Mine represents a 5-year restoration effort in my first (and last!) full automobile restoration.  If you think it’s an ugly car now . . .

Anyway (don’t laugh) there is a close-knit web community of Quantum owners whose activities center around a Yahoo! Group:  Syncronized.  It was recently brought-up there that the Quantum is still built and sold in China!  

Which reminded me of the original People’s Car:  the VW Beetle and its recent production hault in Mexico.  Until a few years ago you could still buy a brand-new old-style Beetle south of the boarder.  An friend of mine, who grew up in Mexico, told me that there the old Beetle is referred to as a bellybutton because “everybody has one”.

Now think for a minute of the ‘economy of scale’ such a huge production level would have!  The R&D costs, distributed over all cars ever built, would have to be tiny.  Likewise the cost of making the custom toolings to stamp out the sheet metal, to hone the engine blocks, to mold the various plastics, etc would also be very small per car.  An economist would be able to answer this better but I expect VW’s costs to build a Beetle was almost entirely production.

Same too for the Quantum in China.

So, why doesn’t this happen more in our market?  

Would you be interested in an old car like the Beetle if it was, say, $5,000 new?  What about the Quantum?

Would that be good for our economy?

The simpliest answers are in our regulations:  an old Beetle wouldn’t have a prayer of passing our modern new-car emission standards.  The Quantum would have a chance but not in the way it was configured back in 1985.  Safety too would be a failure.  Personally I wouldn’t want to only be protected by the Beetle’s safety features on a modern US freeway but the Quantum isn’t as bad.  Add some airbags and it would probably be able to pass new-car standards with only a few more tweaks.

In fact the modern VW Jetta and Golf (er – we’re back to calling it the Rabbit) use a derivative of the Quantum’s engine as their base engine offering:  the 2.5L 5-cylinder.  The Quantum’s most common engine was a 2.2L 5-cylinder so obviously if the new engine can pass emission standards the old engine could be built to do so.

The other glaring issue is the buying public’s demand:  as much as I love the old Quantum even I have to admit that our modern cars are certainly more desirable.

I’m no economist so I won’t draw any conclusions here but I do want to leave you with these thoughts:  if the US automakers built cars with those kinds of ‘economy of scales’ would they be in the financial trouble they are in now?  If our safety and emission standards had more flexibility to allow car technology to have a longer lifespan would that be good?  Would we as a buying-public want that?

Just thoughts.  

Oh – and now that my secret is out – if you ever need professional help with a VW Quantum you would have a hard time finding someone with more capability and knowledge in the US / ‘Quantum Mechanic’ jokes aside!!

Quantum Wagon and Quantum Coupe

Risky Business

Most everyone fell in love with some car in their youth that has retained a special place in their heart.  For me it was the Porsche 928.  A beautiful supercar that Porsche built in the late seventies; it was supposed to replace the famous 911 as their flagship product.  It received all kinds of awards from the automotive-who’s-who of the day leaving the engineers back in Germany feeling a sense of mission-accomplished.

The automotive buying public had different ideas and the brutish V8 from Zuffenhausen suffered in sales and had to eventually hand the company-image back to its older brother the 911.

The 928’s best hope was in the 1983 Hollywood smash:  Risky Business.  Where a young Tom Cruise and Rebecca DeMornay take ‘daddy’s’ 928 out and end up putting it in the lake.

For those of us that remember the movie here’s a fun treat for you:

The Porsche 928 From Risky Business.

It isn’t Marty McFly’s DeLorean but if you’re feeling inspired to dance in your living room without any pants we won’t blame you.

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The Old Car

It is distressing to me when my clients have to decide if an old car is worth fixing.  I have seen this recently with two different 4-door sedans:  both domestic, approximately 10 years old, with new sticker prices of approximately $20,000.  (I’m approximating to make the numbers easy). 

Cost of depreciation, if we say both cars are still worth $2000 on the used car market (this may be optimistic), would be $18,000 over 10 years.  Almost $2,000 per year.  This isn’t counting the cost of financing the car which most people do.

Both cars, I’m sad to say, were poorly maintained and thus were hard to spend repair money on because, let’s face it, we don’t know how long our investment in keeping this car alive will pay-off before the car needs some other life-saving repair.

If these cars were well maintained it would be realistic to expect another 5-10 years of service from them.  This could as much as double their owner’s return on investment.  Basically meaning that maintaining your vehicle can, roughly, double your return on investment. 

This is before considering other savings including insurance costs, registration costs, property taxes, etc.  You also save financing costs since you own the vehicle and because you maintain it you have repair savings that typically approximate $1000 per year (according to industry experts).

Finally consider the difference in your day-to-day driving when you are driving a well-maintained vehicle vs. one that isn’t.  Safety, reliability, and even the aesthetic enjoyment of the ride aren’t easy to put a dollar-value on but are still important.

It may be financially fashionable to consider your vehicle a depreciating asset and thus not worth any investment.  The trouble with this logic is we need our vehicles.  They may cost to buy and keep on the road but unless we can get rid of this need our best survival tactic is instead to maximize our investment.  There is only one way to do this:  preventative maintenance.

Porsche Repair and Service in Salt Lake City, Utah

Porsche Service, Maintenance and Repairs offered by Integrity First Automotive

See our General Services Available webpage for items not listed here.

  • Porsche specialty computer diagnostics including factory CUP race cars!  We are the only independent shop in West Jordan with advanced Porsche computer diagnostic capabilities.
  • Porsche Gold-Meister Technician on staff / exclusive experience from classic 356 air-cooled to $500k GT Cars.
  • Service Interval / maintenance reminder resets for all Porsche models – including Cayenne
  • Factory Repair Manuals for 944, 928, 911, 968, 986 – Boxster
  • Oil change – Mobil 1 Synthetic and other lubricants available
  • Transmission service – Swepco lubricants available
  • 944, 928 Timing Belt and Timing Belt retensioning
  • long-life coolant
  • Valve Lash adjustment
  • Torsion Bar Upgrades
  • Brembo Brakes
  • Front-engine Porsche specialists 944, 924, 928, 968
  • Corvette LS-1 and other engine conversions
  • Cayenne under-intake coolant leak
  • Cayenne automatic transmission / torque converter fluid leak

PORSCHE WEBLINKS:

Official Website:  Porsche USA

Rennlist – Porsche, Audi, BMW enthusiast site

Renegade Hybrids – Porsche engine conversion specialists

1991 Carrera 4

*Porsche is a registered trademark of Porsche AG and Porsche USA.

Internal Reviews and Testimonials

Thank you cards and other Testimonials

Damian saved us thousands on a transmission repair. When we were having problems after a transmission service he researched the problem fixing it with out having to spend the thousands of dollars for a new transmission that the dealership wanted. We were so grateful for his time and happy not to have to spend the money we didn’t need to.  We have appreciated his honesty in all our dealings with him, and is the only one we will let work on our cars.

Royce Family

Tysa Royce

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As the owner of a tool business, I meet a lot of mechanics.  Of them all, I have my vehicles and my family’s vehicles serviced by Damian at Integrity First Automotive.  Damian is great to deal with and dedicated to honesty in his industry.  He is very capable and fixed an issue with my wife’s Nissan that had stumped numerous other shops and technicians.  This problem, until we met Damian, had cost us over $1500 in ineffective repairs.  We have had our vehicles serviced by him since and, in the 5+ years it has been, have received the same great service and expert ability as we did when we met.

Will Swigert

Will Swigert

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I have had my Toyota Matrix since January 2003. During that time it has been regularly serviced by Damian Shaw of Integrity First Automotive. Additionally, my mother’s Mercury Tracer, my son’s Dodge Neon, and daughter’s Ford Contour have all been serviced and repaired by him, as well.

In every case, we have been more than satisfied by the work he has done. Service has been performed promptly and problems have been correctly identified. Mr. Shaw has made recommendations for preventive maintenance which would not have occurred to me. By doing so he has saved me from more costly repairs. He has earned my trust.

I will continue doing business with him; and I recommend him, and his company, with out any reservations. The name of his company should not be taken lightly. He is a very competent technician and a very honest businessman. To me, these qualities are the essence of integrity.

Richard Parry

Richard J. Parry

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I first met Damian Shaw, the manager at Integrity First Automotive, when my wife’s car broke down in the parking lot of the school down the street from his house. We got the car to his house where he fixed the car that night and he had the car back to my wife the next morning. He has been my family’s mechanic since then. His expertise is only surpassed by the integrity with which he conducts his business.

His efficiency is most appreciated by my wife and our five children who just can’t afford to be without the family car for very long.

My family is now relocating to another state, and I think, more than the family we are leaving behind here in Utah, I will miss my mechanic at Integrity First Automotive.

Dr. Lorin Browne

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Just before Christmas our 2001 Volvo V70 begain to have problems. We brought in to your shop and were introduced to a kind man named Damian. He was very helpful in helping us fix our car, especially knowing that we were heading out of town and needed our car. The car was fixed, we made it home for Christmas, and haven’t had issues since. I am currently graduating college and don’t know where I will end up. But, if I stay in Utah I have found a mechanic that I can trust. Thank you for your service and efforts. We are so appreciative for Damian who helped so much.

David & Tenky Pickett

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Damian is excellent, truthful, to the point, and accurate. I appreciate the attention to detail and meticulous care you take with my BMW.

Matt DeGooyer

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How We Save You Money

It is common to wait until your vehicle needs repairs before shopping for an automotive service facility. This leads people to comparison shop using the wrong metric: price. This is a natural mistake – but how else do you differentiate amongst your options?

More often than not, a noticeably lower price quote given over the phone really represents desperation or corner cutting. The truth is, even with work as simple as fixing squeaky brakes, a shop cannot give you an accurate price on your vehicle’s needs until they’ve looked at your car.

Once your vehicle is in need of repairs, the opportunity for significant savings will usually be in higher-priced services. For example, if you have a leaking water pump your shop can save you money by (if appropriate) replacing the drive-belt now and taking advantage of significant labor savings since these tasks completely overlap. Sadly, if your shop has started its relationship with you based on price you will likely not even be given this opportunity and ultimately you will spend more on your vehicle.

The real opportunity to save money is to perform preventative maintenance before your vehicle needs repairs. Industry research proves this will save you $1,000 – $1,500 per year.

Many shops will offer you maintenance but few know what you need. At Integrity First Automotive we take the same approach your family doctor would by considering information from:

The Past: Your vehicle’s service history

The Present: Our Integrity Inspections, a no-charge vehicle-comprehensive inspection performed on your vehicle during its service visit

The Future: A custom-to-you maintenance schedule reflecting your driving style, Utah’s driving conditions, our shop’s experience with your type of vehicle, etc.

Our software, exclusively developed for us, integrates all of this information and is at our staff’s finger-tips as a ‘medical chart’ of your vehicle. It is an invaluable guide to help us make informed, professional decisions about your car.

Why is this important? Simple: your situation is unique.

Good judgment can prevail if the technician knows your vehicle well. For example: A blanket mileage service (’50,000 mile service’) should be modified to match the vehicle’s history otherwise it can include things not really due. (EG if the 50,000 mile service includes changing antifreeze this would be wasteful if the vehicle’s water pump was replaced recently since that service required replacement of the antifreeze – our software system would tell us this).

Specialization

The Question of Specialization…

People frequently ask us: what do you specialize in?

As our home page states we’re focused on two things:  Competency and Character.  In the ‘Competency’ efforts we have added multiple diagnostic computers to our equipment list and are proud to have the following capabilities – a list no other independent auto shop in Utah can match:

Factory Level Diagnostics:  BMW, Mini, VW, Audi, Mercedes, Smart, Land Rover, Jaguar, Ford, Mazda

(these are dealership level tools)

Advanced Level Diagnostics:  Porsche, Volvo,  Nissan (and Infiniti), Toyota (including Scion and Lexus), Honda (and Acura), Kia, Hyundai, Mitsubishi

(these are speciality shop level tools)

Professional Level Diagnostics:  Subaru, Suzuki, GM (including Chevrolet, Saturn, etc), Saab, Isuzu

(these are professional mechanic tools)

Due to the location of our shop and this list of capabilities we are the shop of choice for European vehicle service and any advanced service / diagnostic work in the South Jordan / West Jordan / Daybreak market.

Although we are proud of these capabilities this is only half of our business focus – the other half ‘Character’ is equally important to us.  In this area we specialize in:

Building Clients for life

Providing you with a Complete Picture of your vehicle’s condition now

Providing you with a Maintenance Schedule and Service Reminders to help you with the vehicle in the future

Delivering On Time, On Budget, and Fixed Right the First Time

Warranting our repairs for 2 years / 24,000 miles

 

Please browse our website to get a better sense of who we are.  You will like how we’re different.