If you’re one of my Twitter disciples, you may know that my car was repaired today… under a tent on my drive-way.
A month and a day ago, the 5 series had an altercation with a brick gate pillar and came off worst. I blame the lady who had placed her unnecessarily large ‘Urban Sherman’ too far forward in the queue for drop-off at school, which meant that I had to squeeze through the entrance gates… and sensing I was too close to her, I compensated by moving a tad too far left. Crunch. Okay, my fault.
Fortunately, I’ve continued to opt for a company car for all these years (not that I don’t care, I felt bad about making a stupid driving error). I rang the lease company, who sounded remarkedly relieved that no other cars were damaged – as the call-centre operative said “that complicates things immensely”. I suggested that I take it to the local BMW service centre but the reply was “no, don’t worry, it’ll probably be repaired at your house”. I checked the date… nope, it wasn’t April the 1st. Repair it on my drive? I don’t think so. An assessor was booked for a week later, and three days later I received another call saying that an assessor was arriving a week later than originally booked. I started to get dubious about this, and phoned the lease company again, asking if they were really serious about this repair on the drive business. The answer was ‘yes’, but see what the assessor says.
The assessor took one look at it and said “yeah, no problem, we repair far worse than that”. He explained that the specialist erects a tent (sorry, mobile workshop) around the vehicle and then uses a very expensive piece of machinery to shape the panel. It involves inserting tiny looped ‘keys’ into the body-work and then pulling the panel into shape with a bar that fits through the loops. They also have the ability to respray the body-work under the tent.
The specialist arrived this morning and quickly erected the tent from a compartment on the top of his van… and then drove the van out leaving the tent in place. Very clever. It was an all-day job, and wasn’t helped by torrential rain. You can see the before and after photos here – and thus my cynical view of whether they really would be able to repair it on my drive was squashed. I guess they deserve a plug… the company is AutoRestore.