A few years ago, before Frank passed away, he made his annual trip down from his home in Canada (why all the Jamaicans ended up in Canada, we still can’t figure out!) to visit Geoff and the girls. While he was here, he spent some time hanging out around the shop, following the guys around and seeing how cars had changed since he retired from the industry.
One day, he sat in the office listening in while Geoff was on the phone with a customer. I can’t recall what type of vehicle it was, but it was something late-model, computerized, and certainly advanced. Geoff quoted the customer $700 for a complete tune up (iridium spark plugs, spark plug wires, distributor cap and rotor, air filter, fuel filter, pcv valve, cleaning and adjustments, etc) and a carbon flush (induction) service. When he got off the phone, Frank looked at him with a stunned expression.
“Are you serious?” Frank asked.
“About what?” Geoff asked his father.
“Are you serious a tune up costs that much these days?”
“Yes, with all the advanced technology, the computerized systems, and the constantly increasing parts prices, that’s the way vehicles have gone these days.”
“Do you remember…” Frank said, “back in the early 70’s, we had so-and-so’s 1960’s car in the shop…”
“Yes, I remember the situation,” Geoff said after thinking back to the customer and the car.
“We rebuilt the engine,” Frank said, continuing his story, “…a complete engine job, and it was $269 and change, and we made a profit!”
“I know, Dad,” Geoff said, laughing and shaking his head. “Times have changed.”
Cars are certainly not what they used to be. Sometimes we really wish we could go back to those good ol’ days.