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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pete's Kit's, Paint Jobs, and Engine work.......

We seemed to be moving along quite well. Kenny got the engine running after rebuilding the carburetors but wasn't happy with the engine compression. The readings were about 80 pounds across the four cylinders. Ken thought the best route to go would be to re-ring the engine as that was the only thing he could see wrong with an engine with about 26,000 miles. He theorized the rings were stuck from the long storage time and to be on the safe side, the engine should be given a thorough inspection. He recommended replacing the rings, gaskets, and any valves, and reassembling the engine. He knew a great machine shop in the area and quickly removed the engine from the car, delivered the engine to the machine shop where it sat, and sat, and sat for about 3 months or so.

In the meantime, while the engine was sitting in the machine shop waiting for the next ice age, Randy, from Randy's Collision in Great Valley , NY picked up the Jensen GT and was tasked with doing some light bodywork and re-painting the car the original color ( a metallic Saturn Gold). Kenny said he was looking for work as things were a bit slow, so he was anxious to start working on the car. Apparently, Kenny was very happy with his bodywork and paint jobs so he recommended his work highly. I have been through this before, and remembered a body shop telling me in Maine how they prioritize work. Insurance work is given first priority as it is clearly the most profitable. The last priority is non-insurance work.......... I remembered this as my car sat at Randy's collision for months with no real work being accomplished and never a phone call from them. I called them a few times to check on progress. Oh, they were working on it, but at glacial speed. I am not sure who could move faster in a race........ a starfish or Randy's collision service. I think I would put my money on the starfish.
I really wanted to get my car painted in Maine with people I knew and trusted, but my engine was completely out of the car for months on end, it couldn't move, so I didn't have much of a choice when it came to bodywork.

Well, they finished the car and I will say the paint job looks nice. If I were grading them, here is how I would have put things in summary.

1) Paint and bodywork - A

2) Communication - C-

3) Organization - F ( they broke some parts, lost some others, and really didn't seem to care as I had to pick up the tab for their mistakes )

4) Price - C ( let's just say, I am from Maine and they knew it)

5) Timeliness - D

Pete's Kits - Buying a kit from Pete Bahr is a wonderful experience. Pete is a retired engineer which automatically puts him in the RSG category ( Really Smart Guy). He also owns one of the fastest Jensen Healey's on the planet. His Jensen has all the "Goodies", which help it produce around 230 hp. During his upgrade and restoration, Pete developed and engineered some custom "Kits" which help the Jensen perform better, safer, and more reliably than stock. Pete is the type of guy who can be as comfortable in a 5 star restaurant as he can in a NY "dive" bar filled with drunks and cigarette smoke. Pictures of Pete's "YELOWDOG" can be seen here at

I had the privilege of driving "YellowDog" and must say this car is just mind blowing. This car is not for the timid as one steps on the gas, but it also has very good low end manners which is probably due to the special distributorless ignition system.

The kit's Pete sells always fit perfect, perform as stated, and are easy to install. He developed them as new parts were no longer available or redesigned parts which would perform better than the original resulting in more reliability and safety.
I bought the 5 speed transmission shifter upgrade kit. Every original getrag 5 speed unit wears within 25,000 miles. The transmission is fine, but the shifter linkage wears pre-maturely resulting in hard shifts, and trouble "finding" the correct gear. The problem is like an enlarging prostate for men...... it's not "if" it is going to happen as men age, but "when" it will happen. The only cure is the Delta Motorsports bushing Kit...... which will fix the problem temporarily, or the Pete's Kit Upgrade, which will fix the problem permanently.

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