Mechanic's Corner - Nov 11
“Loss of a Mustanger’s Friend”
By Mike Godwin
Last month, space limitations prevented an announcement of a new feature for the MNW Pony Express. Everyone seems to know a guy, has a guy, or knows of a little known shop that performs at a superior level. My vision for the new feature is to highlight those hidden secrets so that more people can take advantage of the service. I like local, and would prefer to feature local shops and those owned by MNW members. I would be happy to feature those that are further away as well - No bad reviews or negative material is acceptable, in keeping with the MNW policy of having a positive impact on our hobby.
Unlike many people, I was not surprised to read of the passing of John Enyeart, the founder of Pony Carburetors. John and I had been communicating over the phone for several months, and talking about various aspects of his business. An article featuring Pony Carburetors was starting to take shape. That piece will never be published, as it needed a personal review by John, and then a review by a couple of MNW members. Once those reviews were completed, John and I had agreed that he would have one final read of the article before it went to press. With John’s passing, I will simply fold the tent on the piece and leave it alone.
John and I had met several times, and were not in total agreement about some things that are related to carburetors and engine tuning. In fact, at the MCA National show at Concord, California in 2007, John and I passed a good portion of an afternoon discussing our differences of opinion on the importance of engine timing. We stood behind the Neon Sign sales tent for awhile, then migrated to sitting under the shade trees near the right side of the show field. Finally, we both migrated inside the host hotel for a break from the heat, and to get a cold glass of tea. Neither of us budged from our convictions, nor did we part with the politically correct arrangement of agreeing to disagree. Each of us was right, and as soon as the other realized this, the better life would be.
In early 2008, I contacted John about attending Round Up as a vendor. John and I bumped heads once again, as his take was that he did not under any circumstances pay a vendor fee as he put on demonstrations. We could use the Pony Carburetors name for free and include an announcement that John would personally be on site. That didn’t fit into my plan for Round Up real well, and as the 2008 Chairman, I did not pursue John’s offer. John was a contributor to Mustang Times, and wrote several very informative and detailed articles about various carburetors found on Mustangs. I objected to this tactic, as I viewed it as free advertisement for Pony Carburetors. With John’s passing, I have changed my position, and feel grateful that his knowledge is in print and available for future generations to use.
Seems that 2008 was not a good year for John and me, as later in the year we found ourselves in a less than friendly situation. I had purchased a brand new Vaporizer from Pony Carburetors for a friend’s six cylinder car. This carburetor was advertised as being greatly improved over the stock unit, and that internal improvements rectified several of the original designs’ shortcomings. The carburetor arrived and was installed per the instructions and video provided with the carburetor. The car made a flawless trip to Park City, Utah, and the owner was pretty much a happy camper. While in Park City, the carburetor malfunctioned, and the throttle stuck in the open position with the owner facing a concrete wall. Not so happy, even after her heart rate returned to normal.
The problem was traced to a choke rod malfunction, and with the rod disconnected, the car was driven back to Washington State. Once home, we contacted John and arranged for the return of the carburetor for repair. The unit was shipped, and in a short time returned. It was installed and once again there was a problem, as the butterfly was dragging on the throat of the carburetor. A phone call to John and a couple of email exchanges later, we had an agreement that, since he would be at the MCA show in Arizona, and some of our MNW members would also be at that show, he would repair the carburetor on the show field. That simple repair involved swapping parts from yet another carburetor onto the one that had twice malfunctioned.
After some rather complicated problems posed by scanners at the airport, the MNW members and the repaired carburetor were once again home. The unit was installed and worked fine for a brief period, then acted up. I called John, and he was not about to listen to my problem. His position was once again pretty firm that we had damaged or caused a perfectly good unit to fail, and that Pony Carburetors was not about to repair or replace the Vaporizer. In early November of 2008, I sent John a letter detailing our position and asking him to reconsider his position. That letter resulted in John tracking down my phone number at work and calling me to discuss my position. I’ll never forget his opening comment: “Mike I just received the most eloquent letter that any unsatisfied customer has ever written.” From that opening, we had a very pleasant conversation, with the final outcome being that John would ship us a brand new Vaporizer, complete with the one year warranty. That was a very positive and honorable thing that John did to ensure customer satisfaction. Depending upon who you listen to, that new carburetor was either acceptable or a piece of junk. Having personally talked with a friend that is employed by Penske Racing for his opinion, I am convinced that the carburetor was not at fault this last time, but some others are sure to tell you that it is the culprit of the car’s problem.
One thing that I could never fault John for was returning phone calls. If you left a message, that man would return your call. If it had taken him a little longer than he felt it should have, he would offer you an apology for taking so long to respond to your message.
Over the years, I have been asked about the quality of Pony Carburetors products and after sales service. I have been rather neutral on my replies to both questions, as one bad experience does not warrant condemnation of a company. I know that John would do everything within reason to make good on his product. He built Pony Carburetors out of his personal conviction that there needed to be a quality product available to the automotive enthusiast. In my humble opinion, he succeeded.
John and I both suffered from Glioblastoma, which translates to brain cancer. In the last few phone calls, we talked more about survival and what the after effects of treatments would be like. He was a fighter, and was ready to press on with life and be counted as a Survivor of cancer.
One little request John - Hold me a parking spot, and you can show me that trick about the timing marks moving. We’ll have plenty of time and no deadline to worry about!
The catchy phrase returns this month: Mustang - It runs on gasoline, but is still electrifying!