TAMPA, Fla. — Some classic car enthusiasts accuse a South Tampa businessman of taking tens of thousands of dollars and trashing their dream.
The I-Team tracked down the owner of Extreme Motor Car who says he's not to blame for what happened but he is shutting the doors.
Ben Irby says he took photos before delivering his 1966 Lincoln Continental convertible to Extreme Motor Car. They showed a vehicle in good shape inside and out.
18 months and $20,000 later Irby says Extreme Motor Car’s wrecker dropped the car at his house. The entire interior was gone as were many of the parts that made it valuable like the chrome trim.
Irby says it's heartbreaking. Documents show he paid $20,000 of the $24,000 contract but got little in return.
He’s not alone. Randy Howard says he paid Bruce Bishop the owner of Extreme Motor Car $15,000 of the nearly $17,000 contract for paint and mechanical work. He too says after 8 months the car sat unfinished. As for the paint job, it contains multiple runs and defects.
We interviewed four of Bruce Bishop's customers all of whom say they paid for work that was never done. And we found two more complaints filed with the attorney general's office in the last two weeks.
The 63-year-old refused to answer our questions on camera. He explained over the phone and in texts a customer and employee spread a false rumor about the business closing. That caused multiple customers to pull their cars out which left him no choice but to close up shop.
Both the AG's office and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation confirm they are looking into complaints. Bishop admitted investigators from both agencies visited his business earlier this week.
The owners want at least a portion of their money back so they can pay to have the repairs completed. They hope regulators can help if not they're looking into taking Bishop to court.