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Why? = For The Wife

Posted: Wed May 17, 2017 9:52 am
by s4of12
Where I started

This all started in 1995. My future Father-In-Law buys my 16 year old future wife a new Cayenne Red Base 3.1 Beretta. She loves it from day 1 (more than she'll ever love me). Fast forward 20 years and you have a middle aged woman driving a 20 year old Beretta with 271,000 miles. 1997 it was put in a ditch requiring a new passenger fender, door and respray of that side. 2008 a truck backed into her taking out the hood and driver's fender, insurance called it a loss and gave us $1400. Numerous alternators and a few heater cores, but original engine and trans.

The bottom of the rockers were rusting along with the rear spring mounts, the engine had lost a few horses, the interior was showing its age, and it was getting the wet carpet syndrome. Putting the old girl down was not an option for my wife so she demanded I "fix it".
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The Plan

Pull the engine and trans - Rebuild. Fix all the bodywork and paint back to original. Interior recover. Estimate $10,000 and 1 year. Yeah I was optimistic in October 2015.

The Reality

I had a body shop do the rockers because they were the part I was most afraid of at the start. $1700 and some less than perfect work and I had something that looks acceptable. As I pulled the interior and engine I discovered the cause of the wet carpets. The lack of cowl sealing led to extensive rust and leaks in the cowl and firewall. The passenger side behind the steering rack mount and reinforcement was the worst, but the lower driver's side was bad too. At this point I was in over my head and "The Plan" was out the window, but I just figured the only way out was forward. I cut as much as I dared out, and started welding. I should mention I am not a welder, but I just dove in.
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With new metal in I sealed everything with SEM 2 part seam sealer and moved to the rear. The car was now on a makeshift cart with casters and I started looking into the rear spring perches.
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Yeah they were bad. I thought about starting the fabrication, then I got nauseous. Changed course and bought a $300 95 Z26 with 56,000 miles and a blown engine from Vegas. $800 for shipping and I had a parts car. I needed the doors, fender, and parts to repair the rear. The donor car was very clean, and I considered just building on it since it was so clean. The Wife beat me for my insolence and I fell back in line.

I started cutting spot welds and got the entire rear frame assembly out of the donor and had it blasted and powder coated. From rockers to to the rear, both sides. I also took the doors, fender, driver's rear inner wheel well, shock reinforcement, and back panel of the trunk out of the donor due to rust on my car. It was a terrible thing to do to such a nice car, I will spend an eternity in Beretta hell for what I did to that Z, but these are the things we do for love.

Lots of welding, seam sealer, and primer. Doors off the donor, hood from a junkyard I had laying around and other stuff and I was ready to have this thing painted.
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Re: Why? = For The Wife

Posted: Wed May 17, 2017 6:13 pm
by mike88gt
Thats alot of work but a happy wife equals a happy life. Keep the pics coming.

Re: Why? = For The Wife

Posted: Thu May 18, 2017 9:30 am
by ifixalot
I can appreciate the work you've done on this car for your wife.
More pics of the finished areas would be great to see.
It seems a shame to have cut up a nice Z to save the base but
a mans gotta do what a mans gotta do.
Just to poke a little fun at you here is a song I think fits the situation.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQcfOHFr-Lo
No offense.

Re: Why? = For The Wife

Posted: Thu May 18, 2017 3:07 pm
by weba
I'm glad your wife still loves the car after 20 years. Maybe with all that work you can squeeze another 20 out of it :)

Re: Why? = For The Wife

Posted: Thu May 18, 2017 10:27 pm
by heavywoody
Awesome work, and awesome words... I literally LOL'd at the "beat me for my insolence" line.

Thank you for saving another Cayenne Red Metallic car! Not many of us left!

Re: Why? = For The Wife

Posted: Fri May 19, 2017 7:52 am
by woody90gtz
Very cool, man. I respect the dedication.

Beretta was my first car, too. But my wife is the one who doesn't like it. Haha

Re: Why? = For The Wife

Posted: Fri May 19, 2017 2:46 pm
by themixer
nice work !

Re: Why? = For The Wife

Posted: Fri May 19, 2017 3:51 pm
by s4of12
Thanks for the kind words guys, and the insulting song. No offense taken, I know what I am.

And sorry about the intermission, new user issues...

Back From Paint (Nov 2016)

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The paint shop did an amazing job. Only one decision I slightly regret. I had them patch the passenger side fender antenna hole. I replaced it with a hidden antenna under the dash, the reception is ok, I just miss the old school look of the whip antenna.

Getting the car back together started with plumbing the fuel system, wiring and finishing out the engine bay. Dash install and drop in the rebuilt original 3100. I had a little issue getting it to fire, that was all my fault, but the factory service manual and Scan9495 software got me out of a jam. She ran sweet at that point and all I had left I thought to myself is" suspension, brakes, steering, glass, interior. This will take no time"

I used the wheels off the Z26 because they are in great shape and I couldn't bring myself to put plastic hubcaps on a car I just dropped so much cash on paint.

I bought all new AC Delco parts when I could, fell in love with Rock Auto for a while. Tracked down NOS weatherstrip. Painted the trim around the side windows with SEM Trim Black which looks great and I just hope stands up. It was a lot of spending money and bolting stuff together at this point.

Interior I took to a place for the whole treatment. Recovered all the seats, kick panels, visors, headliner. Had them add seat heater pads while the front seats were apart. The results by them are fantastic, match the factory look really well. New carpet I did myself from stockinteriors.com. Turned out good. A bit of a pain to fit though.

The Finished Product


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And 1 happy wife on Mother's Day when I presented it to her. Hopefully the daughter will drive it in 11 years when she turns 16.

Posted: Sat May 20, 2017 1:26 pm
by s4of12
A moment of silence please for the departed...

Re: Why? = For The Wife

Posted: Sun May 21, 2017 8:14 pm
by MY91GT(Z)
Very cool story and nice to see some one love a base that much to keep it stock

Re: Why? = For The Wife

Posted: Mon May 22, 2017 8:33 am
by 3X00-Modified
heavywoody wrote:Awesome work, and awesome words... I literally LOL'd at the "beat me for my insolence" line.

Thank you for saving another Cayenne Red Metallic car! Not many of us left!


Not many Raspberry Z's left either... depending on year only 1300 Z's and Bases were panted raspberry in 96 :(

Re: Why? = For The Wife

Posted: Mon May 22, 2017 9:33 am
by s4of12
3X00-Modified wrote:Not many Raspberry Z's left either... depending on year only 1300 Z's and Bases were panted raspberry in 96 :(


I'm not proud of what I did to the Z26. It had a trashed 3100, cooked interior, and absolutely fried exterior from the NV sun. I couldn't believe how much the sun warped the rear valence panels.

But it certainly would have made a good project car if someone had gotten to it before me and my sawzall.

Re: Why? = For The Wife

Posted: Mon May 22, 2017 5:54 pm
by woody90gtz
That's ok, not many raspberry Berettas because it's an ugly color! Haha

Re: Why? = For The Wife

Posted: Tue May 23, 2017 8:07 am
by 3X00-Modified
woody90gtz wrote:That's ok, not many raspberry Berettas because it's an ugly color! Haha

Yup... A "man" afraid of the color pink... Not surprising. :burn:

Re: Why? = For The Wife

Posted: Tue May 23, 2017 9:35 am
by themixer
i like the pink car