MAKING "VROOM, VROOM" NOISES AGAIN

Millionaires drive Lamborghinis and Ferraris. “Thousandaires” on drive more affordable sports cars such as MGs and Alfa-Romeos. One man visiting a Website offering British cars for sale explained that he was retired and certified to do body work. He had driven an MG when he was younger and was looking to get an MGB that he could buy for $5,000 and fix up for another $5,000. Shane Hanke’s SBC Website had just the right car — a rubber-bumper MGB roadster that Hanke towed home from Chicago. He made the car roadworthy again. Then, he had a friend make the body presentable. His son-in-law Gary Smith, who does automotive upholstery in Ogdensburg, Wis., helped him get the interior reconditioned. Now, the car runs and looks good. It does not have a show car restoration, but it is nice enough to bring back many good memories for any buyer who wants a driver that he can invest a little of his own time and money into.

When Shane Hanke found himself unable to continue working as a cook, he decided to rely on his hobby as a way to make ends meet. He sold a few cars and  ran into people looking for affordable sports car repairs. One recent repair project had been in an out of several shops. Work had been done to it, but nothing was put together correctly. Since Hanke enjoys working on British cars, he agreed to take on the project. “It was mostly a case of installing new parts and reassembling everything,” he said. “I have the engine back in and it should soon be ready to go vroom, vroom again.”

Hanke built his own Website and relies heavily on the Internet to reach owners. He is also using his knowledge of the sports car market to offer an appraisal service. In addition, he sells sets of the wooden inserts used for Triumph TR3 side curtains, which no one else offers.With the current economic downturn, sports car sales have been spotty, but interest in having cars repaired seems to be picking up.

Hanke’s Website includes photos of the cars he has for sale, as well as photos of cars that other people are selling, from Gazelle kit cars with classic Mercedes-Benz styling to a 1986 Corvette that was babied by an 80-year-old owner who can’t drive anymore. The Website also has links to other sports car clubs and businesses. You can find it at http://www.shanes-british-classics.com/.

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