Consumed

When I get on a project, it literally consumes me. Such is the case in researching what car I want to replace my sold Terios.

Buying a car in Panama is not as easy as it is in the US. There you can check Consumer Reports or other reviews and then go to the potential dealers of the cars in your final list and drive them the see which one suits your desires best.

In Panama your selection is dependent on what is available in Panama and what can be serviced. I have found that one of the best ways to research cars is to use YouTube. After selecting the type and make of cars you are interested in, there are a ton of reviews on YouTube.

It is easier if you see a car being demonstrated. In my case, I am looking for a small car that is not too small. I am looking for one that will spend 75 percent of the time fitting into a parking place in David. Parking and driving in David has become more of a problem over the 10+ years I have lived here. Taking a pickup or SUV downtown is not fun.

I looking for something in the hatchback category. The Terios was great because you could fold down the back seats and carry a lawnmower if you had to. Hatchbacks may not hold quite as much, but the ability to fold down the back seat is still something I want. Continue reading

Getting Ready To Roll?

I was driving by the new Puma station on the InterAmerican Highway by Super Baru and noticed Jim “Jet” Neilson’s Jet Car.

You may remember that Jim was going to make a run in front of Chiriquí Mall back in 2010.

That run never happened when the finalization of the contract never happened. Jim is still in negotiations for a Panama run, but has not made any announcements or statements as to where, when or what might occur.

Jim was there today, putting a coat of wax on the car. If I remember correctly, he said he was waiting on an engine replacement for this car and has two more cars in Australia. I think he said one was being brought to Panama.

I mentioned to him that it also appeared he needed to change the rear tires. He said the tires were purposefully filed down for higher traction and used tires off an F14 which are 24 ply.

He said he has a European tour planned and another planned run in Dubai. You might say Jim is living in the fast lane. After looking on the inside, I said it looked like it would be a little scary to make a run. He said it was, but that gave him job security.

He said it had room for a second person in the cockpit, but I did not volunteer to go for a ride.

The most risky thing I do these days is taking a shower when I am out of gas to heat the water.

 

Following are today’s photos.

Stay tuned. If I get final information on a run in Panama, I will post it. In the meantime, if you are close to David, you might want to stop and take a look at the car.

1961 Karman Ghia

IMG_0009The other day, after visiting with Melissa, I noticed this 1962 Karman Ghia parked in front of the July Sports Center.

I was in college in 1961 and this was one of the cars I would have loved to have had. I always thought it was neat looking.

This one was driven here from Costa Rica. Inside the seats looked just like new as did the rest of the interior.

IMG_0010

It’s A Ford

Yesterday, I was at Hotel Ciudad de David and there was an old car parked out front. My dad had one like this and I remember riding in the back seat.

I took a couple photos, which are at the end of the post. It is owned by Panama Automotive, which I have posted about in the past.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

A corollary might be that high maintenance prices is the mother of maintenance price research.

The other day I took my car into Auto Servicios de Chiriquí to have my oil and oil filter changed. When I got the bill, I was a little shocked. It was $61.53. I told the cashier that I thought it was extremely high and got no response. I have sent Carlos Saldana and email asking if this was a typical charge and listed the bill’s components. As of today, I have not received a reply.

UPDATE September 26, 2011. – I received an email from Carlos and he said that

…the mechanic also check the brakes on all 4 wheels, check spark plugs, check fluids, belts, battery, clean air filter, check lights….. well it was a complete service check.

Normal we not only just change oil and filter since also all others items need to be inspected…

Therefore the price and service was for a complete service check.

Looks like the jury is in. $5 is a typical charge for labor for oil and filter change. $26.75 for labor is way out of line.

Today, while I was out shopping for some new tires, I did a little research on other lube change options. I had all locations price the filter, 4 quarts of oil and labor to get a fair comparison.

For a true upper limit option I went to Ricardo Perez, who I would have expected to be the high-end benchmark. I thought the last plain vanilla oil change with filter I had done at Ricardo Perez was in the neighborhood of $48. My quote today was $53.86. Still cheaper than Auto Servicios de Chiriquí by $7.67 over 12% cheaper.

Continue reading

Body Clock Still On Europe Time

My body clock still has not acclimated to being back in Panama. Close, but not there yet.

While I am trying to organize my thoughts and photos of our trip, I though I would mention one thing before I forgot it.

We spent two days in Panama City before returning to David. On Sunday we went out to eat and to a theater and I saw an MG on display. I remember in the late 50’s or early 60’s the MG sports cars I drooled over.

Well, the brand is returning. The sedan I saw in Panama City was very nice looking. It is being assembled in the UK using bodyshells, engines and powertrains shipped from China by Shanghai-based parent SAIC Motor Corp. See THIS Article.

The car is being targeted for the UK and this may be the way that China is planning on entering more of the auto market. Time will tell how well it is received. I will say that I was impressed by its looks. You never can tell, the Chinese may be able to produce a better quality MG than the UK did.

Since it is on display in Panama City, there is a possibility you might see one on the road.

 

Super Replica Customer Asks For Help

Everyday, I get hits because of old posts I did about Super Replicas in David. Super Replicas promised to show me a car many times and never delivered on the promise. I finally gave up and quit asking to see one.

Because I was getting so many hits, I sent an email to Super Replica asking if Tony Sinclair still was involved with the company.

I received a reply back from Tony saying he is still here and still involved. The only replica I ever saw was shown in this old post. Tony told me he didn’t want me to take closeups photos because he said it was not up to final quality.

The Super Replica shop is across the street from Da- Li restaurant. I have been to the Da-Li restaurant several times and have not seen anyone entering, leaving or any cars. I still could not say if this location is involved with a replica business or not.  If you go to Da-Li, you might want to go across the street and ask to see some of their work.

The other locations that Tony had shown me for the early posts are do not appear to be associated with SR anymore. I really don’t know the status of this company, but if it were me, I would go to the assembly plant and ask to see examples of finished products before I blindly sent money.

I say this because I just received the following request for help from a client of Super Replica. At his request, I am posting his email.

From……: Ricardo
Email…..: ricardhoamorim2@gmail.com
Url…….:

Hello, my name is Ricardo Amorim. I’m talking from Brazil. I’m contacting you because, you’re from the same city of the one company that I look for. The name is Super Replica. Could you help me with any information would already be very kind. I’m thinking that I was curled. I sent money to this people and they simply disappeared. Can you help me with anything that you have? Any information, any personal judgment. Will help very much. I’m talking from Brasília, Brazil – capital of Brazil.

Thanks I will waiting for you answer.

Buy Sooner than Later

Panama is changing its law and is going to start charging 25% tax on new cars. This new tax will go into effect in July. If you are planning on buying a car, you might need to speed up your thinking process.

UPDATE: The Panama News posted the  Spanish text for Martinelli’s tax reform. I assume buried within this document is the answer to the whether cars are going to have a tax of 25% or not. Being Spanish legalese, it is beyond my ability to understand it.