I took my very nice classic 1968 Impala to a custom Automotive Shop in Norfolk - FantomWorks to repair a complex Comfortron heating system. I agreed to an original estimate of $1,070 to "diagnose and repair as practical to make system fully functional." The costs included an expensive labor charge of $85.00/hour for 10 hours of labor and 100 in parts. The estimate included an allowance of 25% to resolve any unexpected issues with the repair. In the middle of the repair, FantomWorks stated that no parts were available and they could not "make the system fully functional". They initially demanded that I pay $450.00 in labor costs, plus the cost of an Impala Shop Manual that I did not order. After arguing that the labor costs were not fair since the heating system was still inoperable, they required that I pay $337 in labor costs or I would not be able to pick up car and would be charged $35.00 a day for storage fees until the labor fee was paid. I paid the bill in order to take possession of my car in the middle of a rain storm to avoid storage costs.

Customers Beware: FantomWorks may charge you illegal labor costs for work not completed or ask you to pay more for less than acceptable results.

Reason of review: Problems with payment.

Monetary Loss: $337.

Preferred solution: Full refund.

Fantomworks Cons: Being ripped off.

Location: Norfolk, Virginia

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i will not be take my 1970 corvette there to have work i will shop around for real deal people thanks for the heads up


Unfortunately in classic cars parts are an issue - $85 ph is fair and reasonable labor rate - the shop put the time in to diagnose the problem and which parts were not functioning - the cost of having these beautiful old cars.


You have to pay for work performed, even if they did not complete the work. Do you think they just work for free, for the hours they did put in on your car?

As an example, this is exactly why HVAC folks charge a housecall fee to show up @ your door, regardless of the problem. They need to cover those hours, and that's the easiest way to do it for a typical homeowner.

Folks who deal with custom car shops are used to paying for that on an hourly basis... and they pay for EVERY hour the shop works on their car, regardless of the outcome.


You said, an estimate. you weren't ripped off, you just fid not listen. Just my thought.


Dan has a 25% mark up on parts. This is a flat rate on all parts he purchases for any restoration of any level.

This is why at almost every chance he can get he will huff and puff and moan that he cant get this or he cant get that. The reason he would do this???? A doner car!... you look back at all the episodes of all the series and count the amount of times he has recommended a donor car.

A donor car is counted as a part needed to do the job therefore a 25% mark up is applied. So if he huffs and puffs enough and hangs his head and spouts BS about how he cant get a part or, this or that is beyond repair.. he can 'Recommend' (more like demand or take your car elsewhere) that the only solution is a donor car!!.. so he will purchase a car for lets say $10000 and u will pay $12500!.

He will pay the absolute most he can for any part or donor car so his 25% equates to more. Its as simple as that.. Dan Short in my opinion is Disgrace to the trade, its people like him that give master mechanics and restorators a reputation for inflating cost. I watched him tell a man with not a single ounce of shame that $75000 WOULDN'T be enough to restore a 59 Caddy...

and his reason??? Cos its like restoring a battleship!!! There just so big!!.. hahahha OMFG.

I also watched him tell a guy that he would need a donor car that was a 60s Bel air at a cost of atleast $30000 which with the rest of the costs would be a total of $120000!! To restore a 60s Bel Air!!!! ((This was a car that a guy had to take away from another shop cos they had it for over two years and was taking the *** so the car had a full fresh paint job and 2 years of work already done!!!)) The reason he so badly needed the donor car??? Cos he didnt have the brackets to attach the steering column to the body!!..

WTF!!!.. if a shop cant fabricate simple brackets that cant be seen at all by anyone then something is wrong big time. So what happened??? The guy had to cut his losses and take the car away unfinished.

So cos he wouldn't pay a $120000 Mr Short let him walk out the door!! It seems to me the guy thinks that cos he had the TV show that somehow people should pay his shop way more than they would anywhere else...


Dan is not the man!!


For the people replying that owners should investigate parts, please understand that Fantom Works says that a car owner cannot supply parts and Fantom Works will use only parts that they buy (go to their website and see). Given this, an owner is also at the mercy of whatever markup Fantom Works wants to use on parts and a car owner has no guarantee that Fantom Works will buy and install the right parts and will buy good quality parts.

So, even if a car owner investigates parts, this doesn't help the owner as the owner can't get the right parts and then have Fantom Works install them. And does Fantom Works try to get the best deal on parts? I don't know but my guess would be probably not. Or maybe they get cheap Chinese junk parts and mark them up.

Do they research to make sure they are not buying Chinese parts?

Don't know that, either. They can say whatever they want, but in the end an owner has to trust Fantom Works and from what I've seen, I wouldn't trust them at all.


I got to the point I could not stand Phantom Works. Dan has a horrible grumpy attitude and acts like he is the best shop on the planet.

Not even close. If you ever look closely the body work is horrible. The gaps are bad the panels don't fit properly and his constant "oh *** and hanging his head really gets old. Anyone with a good eye can see the work is poor.

One example of really poor bodywork and ruining a nice truck was the 51 Studebaker that he said had a horrible grill and paint job. In my opinion it was a simply done clean two tone job. He charged the guy $124,000.00 for a truck that went out in raw metal. The close ups of the metal work were horrendous.

The tail gait was rippled, Right rear fender was full of hammer dents. The front of the hood was full of dents. This truck was no where close to being ready for paint or even sealer for that matter.

Two shops that do beautiful work and are fun to watch are *** Rides ( except for "Kev Dog" because he is such a crybaby and thinks he is funny) and Iron Resurrection. The Martin Bros do beautiful work.


Funny, I just watched that episode of the Studebaker. What a scam.

That truck looked like garbage and I wouldn't pay $50 grand for it.

My jaw dropped when he told the owner $124 grand for repairs. The truck owner didn't flinch, which makes me think he's clueless.


From watching the show, I'm not a fan of the guy. However, if you own a classic car, you either need to be able to fix it yourself or be prepared to pay someone to do it.

Nothing in your complaint seems unreasonable. How would they know which parts were in need of replacement until they took it apart? It's not their fault the parts are not available.

I charge more per hour repairing garage doors. $85 is more than fair, in my opinion.


Wayne Carini chasing classic cars hes the man


If something is not fixable you still owe payment for diagnosis and labor. That’s basic common knowledge.

If they tore it apart and just decided not to fix it because they didn’t want to, then you have an argument. Do us all a favor, stay home and diagnose your own messes if you are too cheap to pay other people to do it.




This comment is dead on. Time spent diagnosing problems is a legitimate billable expense.

However, the customer needs to be made aware of this in writing and in conversation. before any work is done.


Like eating at a fine dining restaurant, eating half the food, not liking it, and expect a full refund. *Face Palm* “Some People’s Kids”


Happens everyday at a restaurant. People will eat the whole damn thing and still want a refund.


I think you got a great deal. Book rate repair at dealerships on current vehicles is calculated at $100 or more per hour.

You are angry because your repair wasn't accomplished, but the shop still spent labor hours on your project.

If you and the shop had a contract for a guaranteed repair and a specific price to you, then your complaint has some validity. Otherwise, you are angry because you think you've been billed for nothing.


Dan I feel for you Sir, as a Michigan Bodyshop owner, who is I car and State certified, the level of Restoration and modification is extraordinary, it is not very often you find and Owner with as much compassion and concern over the quality of the finished product like you Sir, it saddens me we will not watching the new Season 10 this year, maybe there is room for another competative TV channel were all watching and hoping.


If you are ICAR certified, I am (Platinum) and also manufacturer certified, than you can see with your own eyes that these guys are hacks. Its shops like theirs that gives us all a bad name! Probably written by Dan!


Dan Short is a *** I used to take my car to a tire repair/fix it garage. As I sat waiting for my vehicle, employees would come to the waiting area, and drop the bad news on customers, all day long.

Everybody waiting, just came in for something routine, and left with a $1500.00 bill.

It's a scam. Nobody gets out of Dan Shorts shop with a small routine fix.

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