I've told you a few times that my buddy Nunzio will work on anything. He doesn't care. He and Marino (the Greek that works for him) will take in Maseratis, Jaguars, even French cars, not to mention everybody with an Italian car on Long Island goes to him. When we have piece of shit, hard to work on foreign cars, we offer Nunz the job.
Well today I get this 5 year old Chevy Cavalier (80,000 miles) in on the hook. New customer, said on the phone she overheated it and it didn't want to run anymore ("You know, it made that clanking noise"). I get it off the wrecker and there isn't one straight piece of sheetmetal on the thing. The nose is pushed over about an inch and a half to the right and the hood overlaps the left fender. Fine. I push it into the shop and fill it with water. A good sign, the water didn't just pour out of it.
I tell Harry to try and start it. As it cranked, I could hear the compression was gone in one cylinder but it fired. That's when I saw exhaust coming out of the radiator filler. I told Harry to back it out and park it. The head gasket, maybe the head itself was shot.
Now, I don't want to work on this (if it were a long-time, regular customer I'd consider it, but I don't know the person and, from the look of the car, getting paid for a $1500 bill might prove ... difficult) and at that time, Nunz comes up with an inspection. I ask him if he wants the job and we'd tow it up to him. He looks it over and says "not for a million bucks".
First time for everything.