Tips, Tricks & Trends

Careful What Shop You Pick To Work On Your Collector Car

Don’t be stupid by taking your pride and joy to a shop you have not checked out. If you do you might end up like this poor victim. This is Denis Quin from Santa Rosa, California. He traded an antique truck to a shop in exchange for $10,000 worth of work on his 1947 Lincoln Zephyr sedan. The shop, owned by Suede Barganski, had the car for over three years before it got dumped partially stripped in a field. All that Mr. Quin needed to do was one simple thing to find a shop for collector car work.

Get a list of former customers from the shop owner to see what they say

When you are considering a shop or person to perform work on your collector car all you need to do is get a list of three or four past customers. The owner, if his shop does good work, will be more than happy to give you a list. Then call the former customers to discuss if they were satisfied or not. Find out what work was performed, how payment was arranged, how long it took and has the work performed held up? 

Scammed 1947 Lincoln owner | Press Democrat-
Scammed 1947 Lincoln owner | Press Democrat-

I did this over 30 years ago when looking for a custom car painter. The person I spoke with had his car painted over ten years before I called. He was thrilled with the job and even more thrilled at how it held up after 10 years. 

Shops, if legitimate, will be more than happy to supply you a list of happy customers

Since then I have overseen custom vehicles for different manufacturers, and a myriad of magazine projects. I have never regretted taking them to this painter for custom work. So, it’s a simple process to call former customers to see how satisfied they are. 

In Mr. Quin’s case he drove the Lincoln sedan to Barganski’s shop in 2016. Two months later the cost for things Quin wanted to be addressed was estimated to be $10,000. It was agreed signing the title to the truck over to Barganski would constitute payment for the work to be performed. He was always assured when he called that work was progressing.

Quin had dementia onset and bladder cancer

Scammed 1947 Lincoln owner | Press Democrat-
Scammed 1947 Lincoln owner | Press Democrat-

Quin should have gone to the shop to check on the progress but for whatever reason, he didn’t. Part of the problem was that Quin was experiencing the onset of dementia and was also fighting bladder cancer. 

Three years later Quin’s daughter got an anonymous call that her father’s Lincoln was sitting abandoned in a field in Penngrove, California. She immediately got into her car and raced over to the field. She told the Press Democrat, “It looked better than I thought it would, but the engine was gone and the transmission was gone. My parents drove it to the shop and now it’s undrivable.”

Prosecutors filed 36 felony charges against the shop owner

Barganski had bigger problems than this one car. He was arrested following investigations by the Santa Rosa Police and Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office. Two weeks earlier prosecutors filed 36 felony charges against Barganski including 20 counts of grand theft, court records show. Denis Quin is one of the 20 counts filed. 

Barganski was also charged with two counts of auto theft in addition to forgery and embezzlement charges. An additional seven counts came from theft from the elderly. The Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office says there will probably be more victims coming forward, so there will be more charges.

Scammed 1947 Lincoln owner | Press Democrat-
Scammed 1947 Lincoln owner | Press Democrat-

The Bureau of Automotive Repairs had past incidences listed on its website

Besides scamming victims to perform work he was also taking in customer cars and then selling them to unsuspecting buyers. The Bureau of Automotive Repair shows on their website that Barganski was cited in July 2019 for performing repairs without valid registration. A Facebook page has even been made for the victims to post about their problems dealing with the Santa Rosa shop. 

A witness to what the shop was doing told the Press Democrat, “Cars are destroyed, stripped, or stolen, gone.”