Wine Country Motors in Napa California

Discussion in 'Discussion Forum' started by raillard, Jun 29, 2018.

  1. raillard

    raillard True Classic

    If you do good work, and genuinely care for your clients, word-of-mouth will be super-kind to you! I'm sharing the greatness of Wine Country Motors via word-of-mouth, just like it was shared with me...

    Many years ago I was at a nearby bus-stop, to pick up my dad, who was arriving by bus shortly. While I was waiting I popped the engine cover and was studying the timing belt through the little window on the yellow cover. A couple of fellows rode up, and asked if I needed help. They knew enough about X1/9's to recognize I was looking at the engine. I told them I was waiting for my dad, and simply studying the engine out of curiosity. They then asked if I already had a Fiat specialist, or would like to know of one. I mentioned that Mauricio, my previous Fiat specialist in Santa Rosa, had retired, so I was indeed looking for someone else. Immediately they exclaimed: "You need to go to Kelly Dicker in Napa! Wine Country Motors is a great shop!" I've been going there ever since, at least for the serious work. Benedetti (a local shop) is great for tires and brakes, but they were very straightforward about not wanting to work on the engine. They did, however, correctly diagnose a non-starting engine problem, after I had my car towed to them. They traced the problem to a bad ignition control module, and Kelly in Napa shipped a used/good unit to me, and that fixed my '82 right up! Kelly wrote in his e-mail to me, "Kudos to the lads at Benedetti for diagnosing the problem."

    Wine Country Motors is also a STAR Test and Repair station, which means they can do the very thorough smog test that's sometimes required by the state -- the type that normally has to be done by a smog-check-only shop that cannot do any repairs -- but in this case they can also do repairs. The state's air quality control board only gives this permission to shops that have extremely high levels of customer satisfaction and trustworthiness.

    Kelly also gladly lets me bring my own parts purchased from MWB, and elsewhere. There are some auto repair places that need or want the profits from parts, but Kelly has never made me feel that his shop is among them.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
    128kid, kmead and Mechanogeek like this.
  2. Kelly is good people. Glad to hear of your experience there. :)
    raillard likes this.
  3. Andy

    Andy True Classic

    Medford, Oregon
    You can't go wrong with Kelly! WCM is the place for Fiats in the Bay area.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
    raillard likes this.
  4. RZSR X

    RZSR X True Classic

    I knew forum members would come up with a good shop!
  5. Ulix

    Ulix True Classic

    Stuttgart, Germany
    Kelly is a great dude.
    He makes an awesome breakfast at the Oregon Fiat meet too! :)
    raillard likes this.
  6. raillard

    raillard True Classic

    Wanted to share another anecdote related to Wine Country Motors. Right after I bought my first car, which is my '82 X, I also joined AAA. I had their basic membership, which gives you 5 miles of free towing -- that's maybe enough to get you to the nearest PepBoys, if you're lucky. After many years of faithful daily-driver service, my '82 X died while in traffic. It was in Rohnert Park, at a busy intersection close to some exits/entrances connecting to Hwy 101. Some friendly good-Samaritans pulled over nearby and helped push my car, while I remained inside steering, and we got my dead X into a nearby Park-and-Ride that serves the Golden Gate commuter buses. I called AAA, and had my car towed to Benedetti in Sebastopol (the ICM incident mentioned above). The two communities are not that far from each other, but far enough that I had to pay for most of the tow myself. After that I upgraded my AAA membership to the Premier level (200 miles of free towing), and the reason for doing so was the comforting knowledge that no matter where in the Bay Area my cars might die, I could get them towed for free to WCM in Napa.
  7. raillard

    raillard True Classic

    In over twenty years of ownership, and 124,363 miles (only counting the miles I added to the car so far), my '82 X has only stranded me, and needed a tow, three times. The first time is the incident mentioned above. The second time was in the driveway of a client's home in Santa Rosa. At that time I was already chasing down an intermittent hard-start problem, but I still felt confident it would start. That evening my confidence was misplaced, so I asked AAA to tow my car back to my home, which they did for free, because of my Premier membership. In vintage gremlin-style, after the car was put back down onto my driveway I tried starting it up, just for grins, and sure enough it started up! I could actually drive it back into the garage. (You know they say "just for grins", because of all the gremlins doing all that grinning!) :D :D :D

    For troubleshooting it's handy to own a pair of similar X1/9's. I kept temporarily borrowing parts from my '85 Bertone, to see if my '82 Fiat had a marginal ignition coil, cold-start-injector, aux-air-valve, etc. After each change I would drive it around the block, to regain some confidence that my '82 would not strand me again. I bought and installed a new gear-reduction starter, and I also finally installed a hard-start relay kit, which I had ordered quite a while before, with descriptions and link to the seller's website found here on XWeb. I thought I had the hard-start problem licked, so one morning I drove my '82 X to another client in Santa Rosa. Before I got there, about a mile away from her home, my car sputtered to a stop, and it had just enough momentum to roll over to the side of the road. This would be the third, and so far, last time I would need a tow. My original plan was to pick up a small HP computer from my client, to bring back to my workbench. I called her, and she gladly brought the little HP tower to me, while I was waiting for AAA. This time I took full advantage of my Premier membership, and had the flatbed tow-truck carry my '82 from Santa Rosa to Napa. I called Kelly to explain what was going on, and he said they would be expecting my car. I decided to cancel the rest of my day's appointments, for a trip to WCM. After we dropped off my '82 X, the tow-truck driver drove back to Santa Rosa, via Sebastopol, and dropped me off back at my home (all on AAA's dime -- which were probably my dimes, collected by them over the years). It was a fun drive, both to Napa, and back to my home, because the driver was really into cars, and he enjoyed hearing about my X1/9's, and talking about different cars he has played with over the years. Having most of the day off from work also added to the unexpected adventure aspect, but I'm guessing it helps that I'm self-employed.

    In a weird kind of way it pleased me that Kelly and his crew needed several days to track down the problem, because it made me feel less badly about my prolonged efforts trying to hunt down this mystery defect. It's possible they needed extra time simply because my car was an unscheduled interloper suddenly appearing on their busy doorstep. In any case, the gremlins had met their match, and then some! The part that had been failing, and finally failed, was deep inside the distributor. Kelly replaced the bad ignition pickup coil, and he told me that it's normally a lifetime part. (The standard computer-tech joke is, "It has a lifetime warranty. Its lifetime, not yours.") I was very glad to have an easy-to-start '82 X again!
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018

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