How One Man Turned a Lemon Into Lemonade

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Many of us worry about ending up with a lemon: a car that isn’t reliable and becomes an endless money pit. But for one Canadian car enthusiast, an unreliable luxury car turned into a long-term passion project with a satisfying result. Why was Harjeet S. Kalsi’s classic car purchase such a disappointment, and how did he turn things around to end up with a dream car?
Jerry goes over Kalsi’s impressive story and gives advice on avoiding lemons—or making lemonade if you do end up with one.
Closeup shot of the Aston Martin logo
Harjeet S. Kalsi expertly restored a luxury vehicle that was a lemon.

Harjeet S. Kalsi and his dream car

Car and Driver details the effort and care that Kalsi put into his 1982 Aston Martin Lagonda. Having dreamed about owning a Lagonda since childhood, Kalsi purchased one in Kuwait and had it shipped to a dock near his home in Canada.
Kalsi chose a striking Lagonda with a custom pearlescent teal paint job. On the first drive, the car blew black smoke and the seats got stuck all the way forward. That’s when he realized the work he had ahead of him.

What made this Aston Martin Lagonda a lemon car?

In addition to issues with the engine and seat electronics, Car and Driver reviewed some of the other problems with Kalsi’s Lagonda. The instrument panel was only half functional and the desert climate of Kuwait essentially destroyed the interior. The car almost needed to be completely torn apart and rebuilt.
“It turned what should have been a dream drive into basically a nightmare,” Kalsi said.

How Kalsi turned lemon into lemonade

Fortunately, Kalsi is an electrical engineer and was prepared for the challenge. He stripped the Lagonda down and worked out what needed to be done.
The engine repair and electrical issues were within his area of expertise. He also learned new skills like leather upholstery and fiberglass repair to salvage the car’s damaged interior and bumpers. Kalsi even designed some hard-to-find elements himself; including light and horn relays and a custom device to measure the engine’s intake.
The Lagonda has a reputation for being futuristic, weird, and highly unreliable (CarBuzz called it an “expensive failure”). But with the care he put into it, Kalsi’s car has been running smoothly for almost twenty years. He told Car and Driver that because the Lagonda is a handmade car, he knew he would be able to fix its issues.
It can be a disaster to end up with a lemon if you’re not mechanically inclined and need a reliable vehicle for daily driving. But for enthusiasts like Harjeet Kalsi, an “expensive failure” can be a labor of love that results in a one-of-a-kind car that they can be proud of.
Whether you avoid lemons or seek them out to restore, you need reliable car insurance. Let Jerry help you find the right car insurance coverage at the best price. The AI-powered app gathers affordable quotes from 50 top insurance companies in seconds, so you can get the coverage you need without the hassle.

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