It was a convoluted set of circumstances that resulted in the demise of Eurocar Imports LLC aka Citroën Import Services in Toms River NJ. The close of the company’s location came on January 3. That day a customer was there to pick up his DS that he had taken to Eurocar Imports because its owner, Noel Slade, said he was a “DS Expert”. After giving him $7,000 US and having 4 years go by with nothing done on the car other than having it go through the hurricane Sandy flood, he’d had enough.
The fellow is a former attorney (he is not a lawyer now but he knows how to work the system). He was one of many who made complaints about Noel to New Jersey authorities. While he was there on January 3, Noel was being evicted and a New Jersey consumer complaints guy was there because the landlord was owed $40,000 US! Fortunately he was able to take possession of his DS and send it off to Dave Burnham Citroën for repairs.
Dave has helped fix at least 8 very bad cars that were “restored” by Noel that came into his shop. Every one of them took $3,000 to $8,000 US in parts and labour to make them safe and somewhat reliable.
Over the years we at Citroënvie have seen a number of shoddy restorations and repairs done by Noel. And we have had complaints from others who paid Noel to get a refurbished Citroën but waited years and ultimately never got a vehicle.
There seemed to be a sufficient number of unhappy people that dealt with Noel, enough we thought to dissuade him from either relocating Eurocar Imports or opening a new company. Check this out: https://www.topix.com/forum/city/toms-river-nj/TR22274F54ESC0VKI.
Aside from the above link we know of numerous people that put down substantial deposits with Noel on Citroëns that he said he would restore but were never delivered. They continually got the runaround when inquiring about progress and ultimately just gave up.
For those that did take delivery of vehicles, many were not finished properly and did not pass safety inspection.
We have a member who purchased a restored 2CV with nearly 100 lbs of bondo on the body. A section was already falling off one door after one month. It had electrical problems, the engine blew white smoke and the kingpins were shot, (it failed safety when the owner went to get it certified). You can’t even roll back the roof part way because the flanges at the halfway point are missing. He paid over $22K for the aggravation and waited 2 years to get it.
We have a member who took delivery of a “restored” H Van from Noel to make a food services truck. The van had major electrical issues, the engine head gasket needed to be replaced, a small underrated radiator had been installed, there was bondo coming off the body in many places with rust underneath and only one front brake actually worked! Rear brakes were also installed incorrectly. There a number of other issues with the van as well, that the owner has spent over 2 years trying to put right.
In both cases these people purchased in good faith from Noel and unfortunately did so without first contacting us. And now they are living with consequences, but appreciative of the help we have been able to provide trying to sort out their issues.
In other instances we know of a Dyane that was sent to Eurocar Imports for a paint job, but when the car was shipped back to the customer, the perfectly good engine had been swapped without informing him. There was a 2CV restored by Noel where there was a severe engine knock. It was taken to Dave Burnham for repair where Dave discovered that one of the fingers to the clutch pressure plate had been repaired by attaching the finger in place with bolts and nuts from Home Depot. This caused an imbalance that ultimately wore out the engine’s main crankshaft and bearings to the point the entire engine needed to be replaced as well as damaging the gearbox’s bell housing. And we know of a Acadianne Truckette that while being restored the customer was billed for brand new rear doors. But when the customer got the car back he discovered that under the new paint on the rear doors was the original paint and, of course, the same old doors.
So, imagine our surprise when a few days ago a post appeared on the Rendezvous Facebook page that Noel Slade has started a new operation in West Creek NJ and changed the name to FrenchClassics.US. Americans have been known to start fresh again a number of times and rise to new heights. Perhaps Noel can turn over a fresh leaf with his new company and make it a success. However we note that on the new website: https://frenchclassics.us/ there is no mention of him by name. Somewhat less than forthcoming and we wonder how thrilled the Citroën company is about the use of their current logo on the home page?
Although the location for Eurocar Imports is closed, the company’s website is still operational: https://citroenimportservices.com/. You can see in their for sale section that cars are still being offered for purchase!
It amazes us, and many in the Citroën community, how Eurocar Imports managed to get people to do business with them. They put their money into internet marketing and played to people, primarily through ebay, who thought Citroëns were interesting vehicles and were prepared to spend money on a whim without doing due diligence beyond the glowing reviews posted on their website.
What is also sad is that now these vehicles are now out there and from time to time come up for sale to unsuspecting buyers who are most likely in for a nightmare if they purchase one. Fact is you can get a beautifully restored (truly like new) 2CV from reputable sources for less than what Eurocar Imports was charging for their restoration efforts.
In our Citroën world your work to date speaks volumes. In the 2CV video with Jerry Seinfeld and Gad Elmaleh from Jerry’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee series is an indicator of the problems with a car from Noel Slade. During the video Jerry and Gad experience numerous starting and running problems. In the closing credits it says “1950 2CV courtesy Noel Slade, Eurocar Imports”.
For anyone buying a Citroën these days, we implore you; Do your homework thoroughly! We are a resource to help you ensure that in purchasing a classic Citroën or having one repaired, you get connected with reputable sources that deliver quality and value. And we list many such suppliers on our Citroën resources page.
UPDATE: April 5, 2018 – We have just discovered that Noel’s “other” old website, Citroën Import Services, has come back online. It does not appear to be updated, but to the unsuspecting viewer there is contact info and the impression that cars are available for purchase. It is amazing that this URL and his other site http://www.frenchclassics.us/ are online and have not been shut down by court order. Buyer beware!