Bennyz Rod Shop Restoration

scottevest

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Benny is undertaking a complete bare metal restoration of this 1974 BMW e9. He asked that I document the process, so I am obliging him.

If you want to weigh in, feel free, but please be constructive. I don't have a dog in this fight and doing this solely as a favor to my friend Benny and my love of Coupes.

I put him in touch with @sfdon for the engine/mechanicals. From the lessons learned on my coupe, Benny thinks this one will be even better.

Play nice please.

 

scottevest

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How's the condition of this one compared to your's when you first brought your's in?
Great question. At first, I thought mine was much nicer from my uninformed perspective, BUT it seems that this one is actually MUCH better in many respects. I believe it has been sitting for a number of years in dry storage. Mine on the other hand was driven constantly for many years, without interruption, and thus showed more wear and tear generally, whereas this one although lacking the love from regular maintenance and washing, didn't have the drive time that mine did. The true test I guess will be the condition of the rockers, which have yet to be examine, but from what I can see and you can from the videos, it looks generally in pretty good shape. Benny intends to restore this to the HIGHEST standards from HIS perspective. I am only documenting the process, not getting involved beyond helping a friend out, making connections and suggestions only when asked.
 

teahead

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THey should document where parts go as they take stuff apart unless they have an excellent memory.

I like those Weds wheels, but I'm a fan of BBS RS wheels like what you have. Maybe upsize it to 17s.

SFDon can build a great motor with Megasquirt.


How big is the owner? I'm doing Recaros in mine. I find the originals kind of uncomfortable, but maybe because the bottom spring is worn out. I would do GAAH OEM upholstery (no custom chit) if keeping the stock seats.

What color outside? WHat color inside?

5-speed conversion? I would say YES.

I recommend the Zaprace front CSL/ALpina (late) style front bumper like what I ordered. My personal pref.
 

scottevest

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THey should document where parts go as they take stuff apart unless they have an excellent memory.

I like those Weds wheels, but I'm a fan of BBS RS wheels like what you have. Maybe upsize it to 17s.

SFDon can build a great motor with Megasquirt.

Gary said that he learned his lesson with my car, and is taking copious pictures of how things are put together and thinks he knows how to do the bumpers now, after going to school on mine.
 

teahead

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Not crazy about that color. I'd do something like Taiga w/black interior.

Or something you wouldn't normally see...BMW E36 purple!

 

sfdon

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Wonderful car, color, wheels.
M90 fuel injected and you are in heaven......
 

Gary Knox

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I'm sure Benny will benefit from 'the learning curve' that Scott paid him to learn! I agree, the car looks to be in excellent condition for starting a good restoration.

Gary-
 

scottevest

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I'm sure Benny will benefit from 'the learning curve' that Scott paid him to learn! I agree, the car looks to be in excellent condition for starting a good restoration.

Gary-
I wish Benny did this car first, then mine.
By the time Benny is finished with this one, I believe it will be one of the finest coupes out there. His client is willing to pay for the best, and Benny is skilled in his work, and getting others involved in the mechanics this time around. Having said that, I am VERY happy with my Coupe.
 
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teahead

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BTW...this is a unibody car. There is no "frame" to take off.

More impressive is if it goes on a rotisserie and gets blasted and/or dipped.
 

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Not to be negative Nelly and not raining on your (or Benny's) parade at all, but if I wanted to "pay for the best", I would go to a shop that had lots of experience with proven results restoring that particular car model. I might even ask for references if I was going to drop 50-100 large on a project like this but then for some, that's not a lot of $. Its great that Benny cut his teeth on your car, but just because he's done one doesn't mean he's a coupe expert now. I don't subscribe to the see one, do one, teach one mentality.

No doubt it will turn out nice like yours (love your wheels!), but saying it will be one of the finest ones out there sounds akin to a Trump like boast :) - a bold prediction at best. I guess its all in how you will evaluate the result.

All my opinions of course. The owner can go wherever he wants and apparently he has decided on this Benny fellow. Its his car, I wish him all the best and I look forward to reading about the progress.
 
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teahead

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VSR or CoupeKing (they the same as LaJolla?) probably would charge $200k for a #1 show car. Bennyz proved they can do good work and for fair amount of money. Paint/body work...doesn't really matter what kind of car it is; if they've done show cars before, they can handle a steel body E9.

Assembly/re-assembly of an E9...looks like they can do it. All other stuff can be outsourced, akin to what Scott went through (interior, wood work, motor).
 

TodB

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$200K is probably a bit on the high side but it depends upon what you start with, to what level you want to go and at what quality level. Are you seam welding, are you reinforcing A pillars, are you expecting #1 paint, the list goes on. After all, its going to be one of the finest. Has Benny's shop produced a car at that level? And what is the the owner's expectation?

With the good shops you get what you pay for AND they have done it before.

No doubt Benny and crew learned a ton and will produce a nice car this time around as they did for Scott.
 

bfeng

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VSR or CoupeKing (they the same as LaJolla?) probably would charge $200k for a #1 show car. Bennyz proved they can do good work and for fair amount of money. Paint/body work...doesn't really matter what kind of car it is; if they've done show cars before, they can handle a steel body E9.

Assembly/re-assembly of an E9...looks like they can do it. All other stuff can be outsourced, akin to what Scott went through (interior, wood work, motor).
$200k: depends on the starting point, right?

Where Benny and his shop seemed to struggled a bit (and needed the help from this forum) was with modifications and mechanical stuff.
If this is a strip, repair rusty metal, repaint and reassemble back to the way it came in then the only bumps in the road (from Scott's amazing experience) will likely be

(1) Shop leaves it to the owner to find body styling line and paint flaws. The impression I got from Scotts posts is the shop waited for Scott to point out flaws in his paint job, and for Scott to have to ask for this stuff to get fixed. That might not be right because I wasn't really there to know what really happened. That's just my take from the thread on the work. And ... the reason you go to an experienced pro shop is so you DON'T have to monitor the quality of their work and so you CAN rely on THEIR expertise to do things right and fix things that are wrong. The average Joe may or may not have a great eye for paint quality and a good shop will enable you to sleep well knowing the shop manager and project lead are using their 100x greater experience to look out for your interests. I didn't get the feeling that was always the case for Scott. Imagine what might have happened had Scott not pointed out the quarter panel style line or the paint issues . . . This is why people go to places like Paul Russell. Paul's shop sweats all the details for you. All you need to do is pick up a pen and sign checks.

(2) This shop may struggle just a little bit to replace parts that can't be cleaned up (like tail lights, some rubber) or when reproduction parts aren't readily available. Shops like CK, VSR, etc have great access to NOS, used parts via their client base.
 

WALTER

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I’ve gotta think they had to learn a ton from Scott’s car and it should be fresh in their minds as his was finished not too long ago. Where I think they will be breaking new ground is with the “frame off” portion that they mention for this coupe; I don’t think they took the fenders off on Scott’s car. I’m sure this step adds a lot of complexity and time to the project, but if they have experience with unibody cars this shouldn’t be uncharted waters for them either.

Question is, does that car need to have the fenders taken off? I can’t really tell from the video, but it looks pretty good and he didn’t mention any rust other than the floor pan. Maybe have it “scoped” to see if there is rot behind the front fenders and if not play the lotto and keep the job simpler and the costs down.
 

Stevehose

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Besides metal replacement as mentioned previously, I suspect das forum will be frequently called upon to help reassemble the interior etc as this will be new territory for them.
 

TodB

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I think what will be crucial for the success of this project is communication, communication from the owner on what his/her expectations are with regard to scope, budget and finished product. Will it be a driver or a show queen? Its then up to Benny to deliver, either through efforts from his team or from outsourcing, and communicate back to the owner when issues come up, those that challenge the timeline, budget or both, so that the owner can make decisions. Hopefully the owner had the foresight to set his/her expectations and establish a budget buffer, rule #1 with restos especially your first time through and given this shop's relative inexperience with coupes. Not for nothing, I'd think twice before having this shop pull the fenders but that's for the owner to decide.

Pretty standard project management whether its car or business. As I'm fond of saying at work, what can possibly go wrong?

We also need to be careful we're not armchair quarterbacking too much.
 
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