I was asked to recount my experience some time ago but was torn between telling my sad story and maintaining relationships. Since it has come to light that others are having less than favorable experiences with Discovery Automotive I could not hold my tongue any longer.
Well. Where to start...
The nightmare begins with the result that I spent well over 100k for 600 rear wheel horsepower and got 434rwhp that builds very slowly. Also, the car usually goes into failsafe mode when pushed. My stock E60 M5 has more torque and would make quick work of this D/A built E39 M5. There are other issues that make the car a very poor driver and they were all present at the time of delivery.
First, I was completely “taken financially” in a several ways. The most deceitful facet to this nightmare was that Bill told me after I received the car that he built the car to 500 rwhp when we both agreed from the start and latter confirmed that he would “get me to 600.” All during the project I was paying for what I expected to be around 600 rwhp.
From day one I ran the car with kid gloves. And from the first moment that released the clutch for the very first time I noticed that the clutch was not hooking up properly. I had to drive off from traffic lights very slowly with drivers in back of me getting annoyed (and still do). The drivetrain would buck and stutter when engaging first gear each time. Further, the clutch would make squeaky slip noises when just maneuvering normally in a parking lot – even in reverse. It would also slip easily unless I paused for a split second when shifting under a firm but not full load from the engine – and the engine has no real torque.
I called Bill and told him that the clutch was acting funny and he said that it might need breaking in and he’d call UUC and check with them. I thought it strange that he would not know the characteristics of the UUC clutch he has used on his past projects. I also told him that there was an issue with a lack of power. I told him that a stock M5 would outperform this car. He just seemed oblivious to what I was saying. Later when discussing the power issue he suggested that if I wanted more power he could put a different pulley on it – at my cost of course. I left that crazy answer alone because by now I had figured him out.
You see, before this, a few days after receiving the car I noticed that there was a lot of glistening oil collecting on the bottom engine cover. I called and emailed Bill and we agreed that it might be the crank case seal. He emailed me back saying that he “didn’t make the seals” but he’d see what he could do. I thought, “what kind of answer is that?” – “I don’t make the seals.” I took from that, that if I gave him the car back he would likely charge me and it is a big job to get there. Additionally, I was telling him that the car was very sluggish and that something was wrong. This is when he suggested that I could by a bigger power pulley – but going bigger could pose problems he said.
I live not four hours from him and when I asked when I could bring the car to him to at least do a couple of quick tests like check the boost or vacuum pressure he told me that it would be at least a month and a half and to call him in a month to see where he was. I was furious. I had just received the car from him a week or so ago and had been having all this trouble before I pulled out onto the street.
I just spent about 115-120k with this clown and he brushes me off without a shred of concern about the running of the car! By this time I was beginning to let the rpms rise while driving and the car would usually go right into failsafe mode if I brought the rpms up to around 6k or so. Bill said the ECU needed to find itself and it should work itself out. Of course it couldn’t because of the vacuum leaks that I found later.
The car was such a drag to drive that I seldom drove it. One time on the freeway I tried to pull away from a 1991 M5 with 360 hp but couldn’t. I met the driver some time later and he recounted that he was pushing his M5 at about 90 %. He couldn’t understand why I couldn’t pull away from him.
After about 1700 miles I just stored the car for some months and waited to find someone honest who could fix it. I called Dinan twice but they never called back.
After six or eight months I was told of a place that was very successful with modded BMW’s and got the car out of storage to take to Edge in Dublin, CA. I told them the story and before I was done they said they have had customers from Discovery Automotive that ended up coming to them to make the car right.
Edge first found three vacuum leaks and sealed them. One was under the plenum where there was a gasket or seal missing and when they were finally able to get in contact Bill (which would take days of repeated calls) he said that the car was running fine when it left and that Dinan didn’t put the seal in when they worked on it. Well, he was just weaseling out of having to provide any kind of help – even to fix his own work. The car never went to Dinan or anyone else. The guy at Edge said that Bill acted as if he could do no wrong.
No one else had ever worked on the car. He just decided that because he knew from someone else that I was trying to find someone to fix it. We were shocked and dumbfounded to see that he couldn’t care less about the running of the car and that he offered no help. Bill told the person at Edge that the car was running fine when Bill and I both knew full well that I was having serious issues from the first days. From the start he could not care less what state the car was in.
I found it strange that he never once tried to contact me to see what was wrong since he knew I was trying to get the car fixed. He did say the first week that I could bring the car to him but almost two months from then, but by now I knew that he had completely ripped me off by having me pay for 600 rwhp and then claiming to deliver 500rwhp which itself was not fulfilled. This is a main issue I have with him.
How could I possibly bring the car back to the guy that just ripped me off?
Meanwhile, the car is stored as it has been for most of time since I took delivery of it. It still doesn’t run right. It goes into failsafe mode if I run past 6k or so and it takes it’s sweet time to get in that rpm range. It’s truly, a Frankenstein of M5’s – just as the D/A banner ad shows.
There is more that I can say to bring full visibility to the actual capability of this clown to build an E39 M5 engine but this recounting of my experience with Discovery Automotive should suffice as a warning and my recommendation to look elsewhere.