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Star 500E Mechanic in Tampa Area

VT Blue

E500E Newbie
I'm desperately searching for an excellent and honest mechanic in the Tampa area. Any suggestions?

Thanks.
 

Melville

Active member
Before I bought my car, it resided in Tampa for a long time with service done at the local MB dealer, Lokey Motors. I talked to one of the techs there, maybe the foreman, Jay Stusio, and he was familiar with the car and 500Es in general. I haven't used them for service but you might want to check them out.
 

sheward

Active member
Although Herndon Automotive is a good ways away in Jacksonville John Herndon is a very experienced and honest owner operator. He has at least 30+ yrs. experience. I highly recommend him.

Drew
 

VT Blue

E500E Newbie
Melville and Sheward, thanks so much for you thoughts and advice. Yes, Sheward, I was hoping for something a bit closer just because my logistics are a bit of a mess (pretty much living on an airplane), though it's good to know about John. Who knows, I may be able to use him.
 

maw1124

E500E Enthusiast
I'm desperately searching for an excellent and honest mechanic in the Tampa area. Any suggestions?

Thanks.
German Cars of Sarasota — 941.955.1972

They’ve taken care of mine for about 20 years — 2 prior owners who were real car guys. So if it wasn’t running optimally, it was complained of and fixed. So they’ve probably seen everything on these, as well as other 60’s to present MBs. It’s not Tampa, but they are honest and excellent. Ask for Rex, tell him I sent you. If you mention this Board, he’ll know it’s me.

maw
 
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LWB250

"But - but - he'll see the big board!!!"
While I know this thread is a bit dated, you might want to talk to Ledbetter's in Tampa. They're on the east side of town just off US 301 near the Fairgrounds.

A caveat, however.

Ledbetter's is a third generation Mercedes shop. The grandfather has been wrenching on Mercedes since the late 1940s. The shop is at their "compound", which consists of a couple of old Florida cracker houses surrounded by Grand Oaks and many, many derelict Mercedes. If you drive by the place it will freak you out.

That being said, these guys have forgotten more than any other MB tech ever knew. They are especially competent on older Mercedes that the dealers won't touch or don't know how to service. They are as honest as the day is long. You will get a 2-3 page report on your car with the things they observed or felt need to be addressed, but it's not a high pressure thing. They are very meticulous and go over the car in great detail. They'll tell you if they think you need brakes in 5,000 miles, and in the same breath assure you that they don't need to be done until that time.

I will say that I haven't worked with them in a number of years, but I have to believe that the sons and grandson that work there still maintain the same level of quality and workmanship I experienced with them and their father/grandfather. They're quite helpful as well - I had an M119/W140 issue I couldn't figure out and was going to take the car to them to get sorted. I shared the information I had from the DAS/Xentry with them and they told me what to look for. "There's no need to bring it to us when you have the tools - check these things out." They were spot on and I was able to resolve my problem.

Dan

Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 9.27.34 AM.jpg
 

Klink

postwhore posterchild
Staff member
Cool! Glad to hear they are still there. Sounds like nothing’s changed.
 

LWB250

"But - but - he'll see the big board!!!"
Cool! Glad to hear they are still there. Sounds like nothing’s changed.
Doesn't appear to have. I drive by every month or two when I visit the County's "hot" (disaster recovery) site that's nearby. A LOT of cars around the place in the weeds. The worst thing about Ledbetter's is getting past the initial impression. The chickens running around are cool, though. My kids loved it. When I had a 62 300SE the old man used to go nuts when I brought it by. I would toss him the keys and let him take it for a drive. The boys said he would carry on about it for days afterwards.

Dan
 

Klink

postwhore posterchild
Staff member
You can also try my friends Mike Lamonte and Jim Zupelli at Mercedes Motorworks. You can tell them that Klink said to look them up, unless you know that you’re a jerk, in which case, don’t mention me. Most of us know who we are, so I’ll trust your judgment of yourself. They are on North Hale Ave., in the somewhat um, “industrial” area behind the current dealer...
 

LWB250

"But - but - he'll see the big board!!!"
You can also try my friends Mike Lamonte and Jim Zupelli at Mercedes Motorworks. You can tell them that Klink said to look them up, unless you know that you’re a jerk, in which case, don’t mention me. Most of us know who we are, so I’ll trust your judgment of yourself. They are on North Hale Ave., in the somewhat um, “industrial” area behind the current dealer...
It's funny, but there must be 20 different independent shops in Drew Park, the area that's immediately behind the dealer here in Tampa. It's like they're picking up the crumbs that fall off of the dealer - however, most of them seem to specialize in less current models, which the dealer really wants nothing to do with. The last guy they had on the shop floor that knew what a carburetor is retired a year or two ago, I believe.

And Drew Park is a real gem of an area for Tampa - while you're waiting for your car to be serviced, you're probably a block or two away from an adult entertainment venue! :stormy:

Dan
 

ace10

Peanut Gallerist, Flipper Detective
... while you're waiting for your car to be serviced, you're probably a block or two away from an adult entertainment venue! :stormy:

Dan
I first visited the TB area in the early nineties, it seemed like there was a strip club on every corner.

When I went down in late 2017 to retrieve a Land Cruiser I had just acquired, it did seem to be quite different.
 

LWB250

"But - but - he'll see the big board!!!"
I first visited the TB area in the early nineties, it seemed like there was a strip club on every corner.

When I went down in late 2017 to retrieve a Land Cruiser I had just acquired, it did seem to be quite different.
They're still here. They're just clustered in two areas, along Dale Mabry Highway, which is a major north/south thoroughfare where a lot of the car dealerships are located near the airport, and on the east side along Adamo Drive. Both areas are industrial and pretty rough, not the sort of places most people would be hanging out. People who come into town via the airport tend to see the ones on Dale Mabry, which gives one the impression that the place is elbows deep in "gentlemen's clubs".

Dan
 

VT Blue

E500E Newbie
You can also try my friends Mike Lamonte and Jim Zupelli at Mercedes Motorworks. You can tell them that Klink said to look them up, unless you know that you’re a jerk, in which case, don’t mention me. Most of us know who we are, so I’ll trust your judgment of yourself. They are on North Hale Ave., in the somewhat um, “industrial” area behind the current dealer...
Hi, Klink, and thanks for your and others' replies. I honestly hadn't come back to this thread for a bit and was remiss.

Regardless, I have been going to Mike and Jim's shop since I bought my vehicle this past year, only now they're called "M Complete" (likely had MBUSA trademark attorneys on their case) and are located on N. Lois. They're great guys, I absolutely trust them, and I know my loyalty has helped out their collective Christmas... :eek:

What do you know about a very good, thorough and trustworthy paint shop in the area? My clear coat is shot...horrible.

Thanks!

Bob
 

Klink

postwhore posterchild
Staff member
Hi, Klink, and thanks for your and others' replies. I honestly hadn't come back to this thread for a bit and was remiss.

Regardless, I have been going to Mike and Jim's shop since I bought my vehicle this past year, only now they're called "M Complete" (likely had MBUSA trademark attorneys on their case) and are located on N. Lois. They're great guys, I absolutely trust them, and I know my loyalty has helped out their collective Christmas... :eek:

What do you know about a very good, thorough and trustworthy paint shop in the area? My clear coat is shot...horrible.

Thanks!

Bob
I was friends with and used Gene Perez exclusively. I was also friends with a few other people at his shops. I have not talked with anyone there since late '99 when we moved from Tampa, so my advice could be considerably out of date.
 
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