8 cylinder front engine iconic vehicle
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By sh944
#84670
Welp... originally I was planning on sending my wife's '82 to Michigan to have a new interior put in. Unfortunately, he is apparently no longer taking on any more projects so I had to find a new shop.

After looking around for a bit, I have decided on Dave Van Epps and Sonderwerk in Corrnelius NC to do the work. I had a couple of very nice conversations with him, he was very upfront about what, when and how much, and also said he'd be happy to get started pretty much immediately. So hopefully, by the end of the week, the 928 will be picked up and on its way via enclosed carrier.

This is totally an exercise of passion, not logic, so the cost is not a consideration here. Hopefully about the time we get the car back, Sean will be ready for it and then my wife can be the proud owner of one of the most expensive '82 928's on the planet (in terms of money invested, not actual value... :deadhorse: ). lol
By sh944
#84686
lol True enough, I expect the interior is going to cost roughly as much as the ES-175 did. I expect one *might* appreciate more in value over time than the other tho... :drunk:
By checkmate1996
#84781
keep us posted...we need more interior option vendors. Good luck!
By sh944
#85417
The car arrived in NC today, so it begins...(posting this so I’ll have it documented when it arrived).
By sh944
#98376
Update... they are well on their way with the car. David went out and bought a 928 parts car for the shop so that he'd have a source for small parts plus to reuse (after he recovers) the seats.

So far I am happy, looks like I will have the car back by the end of Sept.
By milrad
#98466
Just a guess, but Sean will probably be happy to work on a “nice” 82 after the one he has been going toe to toe with!
By sh944
#98517
We will see…. I think I am up to, what? 1034 on the list? Lol

Looking forward to sending the car to Sean. I sincerely hope that we wind up with a “forever” car for my wife when he is finished with it. I am confident that spending too much on this endeavor was worth it when I see the smile on Lisa’s face.
By sh944
#177848
Okay, so I am sure everyone is waiting with baited breath for an update…

Lol

Sonderwerks *still* has the car and I am figuring the actual cost will be at least double what Dave and I originally talked about. At this point I am still good with it as he recently sent some progress pics (that I’ll try to post shortly) and I thought it looked very good. I knew it would be a lot of work and expensive going into it and I repeatedly told Dave to do his best work, not his fastest and it looks like he is taking me at my word. Considering he started with a car that had a completely trashed interior, I’d say he’s done good by me so far.

Hopefully I’ll be as happy when I get the car back in my possession.
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By worf
#177862
Lookin good.

The console looks really nice. I hope the gap to the dashboard goes away when everything’s done.

The dash along the defrost vents looks like a work in progress.
By sh944
#178079
Dave said the same thing when he messaged me. Said he was getting closer but wasn't happy with the gaps and finish and is planning on continuing to improve them.
By Mrmerlin
#179037
That gap will usually tighten up once the 2 8mm bolts are tightened sometimes adding spacer helps to keep things even
BUT that interior looks terrific
By h2pmr
#179165
that's a lot of holes to be punched into the leather for the front door speakers, but should look beautiful when its all finished
By sh944
#199506
Update, car is coming home. For the money paid, it should be perfect and it’s not, but I’d rather remedy the rest of it on my own rather than continue to pay them to do so. They did “very good”, especially given the starting point, but not “great”. I have no complaints about Sonderwerks, just quibbles, but again for the money paid for the service, I’m not going to rave about them.

I also realize we are dealing with a 40 year old car but I don’t feel I should compromise my standards for that reason. I will also say that this is a “money is no object” endeavor. I knew it wouldn’t be cheap, I just hoped for a little better end result.

I’ll be happy to have the car home and continue the journey of 928 ownership.
Image
Ed Scherer, milrad liked this
By tungsten
#199635
Trying to unpack the "recommendation", but curious, were your seat cushions that sharply defined (meaning, not the usual mushroomed look of old, worn seats) or did they shape them to look like that? I just want someone who can rebuild seats without making them look like the cheap recliner in my den.
By linderpat
#199644
I'm not seeing the quibble items. Also, Ollman on RL (Brian) took over Paul Champagnes business, so he is the go to for very high level interior work
Bertrand Daoust, milrad liked this
By Karsten
#199661
The only part that I don‘t like is the horizontal gap under the dash on the passenger side and that is mostly from heat over 40 years.
By SeaCay
#199715
Just seeing this for the first time. I assume the "Michigan" in your first post was a reference to Classic 9? I dropped my entire interior off at his place a couple of days prior to the Indy Luftgekühlt (Sep 21). He's just getting back to me on the project nearly 18 months later. But, it IS getting done as we speak (well, I have to take him at his word). Did I miss a description of what your guy did? Mine will be every-single-surface redone in either Alcantara or leather (90/10 ratio).
By Karsten
#199756
The hole pattern in the doors for the speakers isn‘t right, every second hole is deeper on original door cards.
By sh944
#200213
tungsten wrote: Thu Feb 09, 2023 12:07 pm Trying to unpack the "recommendation", but curious, were your seat cushions that sharply defined (meaning, not the usual mushroomed look of old, worn seats) or did they shape them to look like that? I just want someone who can rebuild seats without making them look like the cheap recliner in my den.
Some of their work was "excellent" (seats, door handles and console, for example) but there were a few pieces of it that ranged between "acceptable" to "you're gonna need to redo that one", which Dave has readily agreed to remedy. I'd have been happier if it hadn't taken me pointing it out after seeing the car in person to bring it to their attention. Again, I am not badmouthing them, its just at this price point, I wouldn't expect to ask them to re-inspect the car and see if it really represents the quality of installation that they want to be known for. They have been very good about agreeing to do so and if they tell me they feel it is their best work, then I will simply bring the car home and address anything I wish to improve upon myself. I suspect much of my quibbling is in how things fit in the re-assembly, not the actual recovering work that they did, and I should be able to adjust those things myself. There are a few panels (door speaker holes not being asymmetrical and "correct" for one) that will likely bother me but I will address that over time.

The seats were built up by them from a donor car that they got for this project. I didn't provide those seats so cannot say what they started with, however, I'd say that from what I saw in their shop, they would be a good recommendation for sending seats and having them recovered. Be warned, though, plan your budget accordingly.

@SeaCay The entire interior was redone and installed by them. I provided a good number of items in advance for this project but they sourced a lot of it. In addition, they did a fair bit of chasing electrical gremlins and a handful of mechanical bits.

The other main quibble was the communication, which seems to be a common problem on any project like this with almost every vendor. I understand that it took a good while just to gather and source a bunch of the parts but they originally promised to turn the car around in less than 6 months and here we are over a year and a half later and in between, aside from a smattering of invoices that they sent me, I only got two unsolicited updates and then when I showed up to inspect the car, I was handed two additional unexpected invoices. The final budget is waaay beyond what we originally talked about but I also added additional work to the scope, and I don't think its out of line from what any quality vendor would be charging. This was never going to be inexpensive and I told Sonderwerks to do their best work, not their cheapest. If I had wanted to run this as an accounting exercise, I'd have approached it differently but that wasn't the point here and I am okay with what they are charging me. I just wish they had been a bit more proactive in updating me, especially with regards to the invoicing.
By Mrmerlin
#202899
In the end though I have seen other fresh interiors that looked like a amateur did the work,
Yours on the other hand looks great , like fresh from the factory nice .
I guess you get what you pay for
Drooman got a nice set of seats from this outfit as well.
milrad liked this
By sh944
#203101
I’ll have the car home Saturday, delivered by closed courier.

I’ll post more pictures once the car is home. I’m not worried about the finished product at this point, Sonderwerks did well by me based on my personal five minute inspection of the car (which was all the time I could spare, they’d have let me stay as long as I wanted) and given that I was asking for a complete color change and reassembly of a 40 year old car. It certainly wasn’t an easy task. Having said that, I am convinced there will be a few items that I will need to attend to so that I can reach the level of finish I am looking for. That’s not a negative on the part of Sonderwerks and unless I find something that I am currently unaware of once I get the car back, I’ll have nothing but nice things to say about Sonderwerks and having dealt with Dave Van Epps over this project, he is certainly a nice and knowledgeable guy to deal with. I just really want to be careful about lending my name to any recommendation unless I am confident that the firm being recommended will exceed the expectations. Sonderwerks delivered, it’s too early to say if they “exceeded”.
By sh944
#203670
Mrmerlin wrote: Tue Feb 28, 2023 9:05 pm In the end though I have seen other fresh interiors that looked like a amateur did the work,
Yours on the other hand looks great , like fresh from the factory nice .
I guess you get what you pay for
Drooman got a nice set of seats from this outfit as well.
The pictures, unfortunately are misleading.

Okay…. So the 928 is home after over a year and a half.

First comment…. The car clearly sat outside, a LOT. You’d have thought a “high end” shop would have at a minimum given it a decent wash, if not a detail job before sending it home. So much for the “no, of course we don’t leave our cars outside” that I was told. Since I had shoulder surgery on Weds, my wife got to do the first pass exterior clean up. I thought she did a good job of it…but it will be going in for paint correction and a proper detail soon.

Secondly, I’ll be spending good bit of time cleaning glue off various interior surfaces for a while, particularly the rear panel covers and the rear seat middle piece. Disappointing given the price charged and reputation of the NC shop that I trusted to do the work. I’ll try to shoot a picture of some of the glue splatter when I can get in and do so. I’ll also be researching what I can use to remove it without damaging the leather.

Also, just checking but the door panel shouldn’t come off when you shut door, correct? The rear wiper was wired to “full time on” and the drives side under dash tray was conveniently stashed behind the drivers side seat, rather than being installed. Short version, I’ll be spending the time going through this car and reassembling, verifying and correcting everything. Maybe I have high standards, but this is an insult. I am positive I will be finding a lot of additional substandard work and reassembly.

Lesson here is that it’s entirely my fault allowing this to take place without me validating the work long before I did and trusting a reputation rather than seeing proof. It’s also proof that if you want something done right, where you can, do it yourself.

I’d suggest people stay away from Sonderwerks.
Last edited by sh944 on Sun Mar 05, 2023 6:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
By worf
#203673
sh944 wrote: Sun Mar 05, 2023 6:09 pm Maybe I have high standards, but this is an insult.
You don’t and it is.
By sh944
#203677
If you don’t mind, I’ll read that as “your expectations were not unrealistic” rather than a statement that my standards are low… lol
By worf
#203679
sh944 wrote: Sun Mar 05, 2023 6:36 pm If you don’t mind, I’ll read that as “your expectations were not unrealistic” rather than a statement that my standards are low… lol
Lol. Well, when you put it that way… your expectations are probably lower than mine but it is entirely realistic to expect everything to be bolted back in where it came from. Thus - to be clear not cleaver - your standards are not too high and it is insulting (and common unfortunately) for the work to not at least meet them.

I have discovered, after 25-ish years of fixing 928s other shops fucked up, that even the least demanding standards are too high for most shops to meet.

Put everything back on that was taken off? Nope.
Put everything that you do put on, back on, in a way the next guy can take it off? Nope.
Put a fastener back in every hole? Nope.
Put the right length/size fasten in the hole? Nope.
Put the same kind of fastener back in? Nope.

See many of my entries in the 928 Random Picture thread.
By Mrmerlin
#203705
I thought the interior looks pretty darn good from the pictures ,
BUT the real test is the hands on.
Its unfortunate that Sonderworks didnt meet and exceed your expectations.

I think it would be prudent to have a discussion with the owner on what your thoughts are.
So they can have a chance to improve their company.
Airing out your concerns online before having a chat, if thats what happened, might not be the best idea.
I hope you can find the good in what work they did.
I know two other customers that had terrific results from this vendor.
By linderpat
#203795
sh944 wrote: Sun Mar 05, 2023 6:09 pm
Mrmerlin wrote: Tue Feb 28, 2023 9:05 pm In the end though I have seen other fresh interiors that looked like a amateur did the work,
Yours on the other hand looks great , like fresh from the factory nice .
I guess you get what you pay for
Drooman got a nice set of seats from this outfit as well.
The pictures, unfortunately are misleading.

Okay…. So the 928 is home after over a year and a half.

First comment…. The car clearly sat outside, a LOT. You’d have thought a “high end” shop would have at a minimum given it a decent wash, if not a detail job before sending it home. So much for the “no, of course we don’t leave our cars outside” that I was told. Since I had shoulder surgery on Weds, my wife got to do the first pass exterior clean up. I thought she did a good job of it…but it will be going in for paint correction and a proper detail soon.

Secondly, I’ll be spending good bit of time cleaning glue off various interior surfaces for a while, particularly the rear panel covers and the rear seat middle piece. Disappointing given the price charged and reputation of the NC shop that I trusted to do the work. I’ll try to shoot a picture of some of the glue splatter when I can get in and do so. I’ll also be researching what I can use to remove it without damaging the leather.

Also, just checking but the door panel shouldn’t come off when you shut door, correct? The rear wiper was wired to “full time on” and the drives side under dash tray was conveniently stashed behind the drivers side seat, rather than being installed. Short version, I’ll be spending the time going through this car and reassembling, verifying and correcting everything. Maybe I have high standards, but this is an insult. I am positive I will be finding a lot of additional substandard work and reassembly.

Lesson here is that it’s entirely my fault allowing this to take place without me validating the work long before I did and trusting a reputation rather than seeing proof. It’s also proof that if you want something done right, where you can, do it yourself.

I’d suggest people stay away from Sonderwerks.
Wow, I'd be wary going forward. I know they have gotten good props in our community, but the thing you pointed out, especially splattered glue and so forth, are not acceptable.
By sh944
#203805
Airing dirty laundry on an internet forum is poor form, I will agree.

A couple of comments, and then I am done talking about this issue, I am not going to dwell on spilt milk.

1) I have already had the conversation with Dave (please reference post # 200213 above) where I asked him to inspect the work they did and make sure it meets their expectations of the quality they wish to be known for. At no point in time did I place a budget or time restriction on them in doing the interior restoration. On Saturday, I received a very dirty car with numerous defects, a few of which I outlined above. If anyone wants to see the workmanship done on it, I have no problems letting them drop by and see it and then they can make their own determination on the quality of the work. When it came to certain items, such as the seats build and console/armrest recovering, they clearly did excellent work. The dash, door and rear quarter panels are a different story and the reassembly was poor, in my opinion. If that is reflective of the work they want to send out *after* I made the specific request to have them give it another look, then there is nothing more to be gained in further conversation with them. They can own their reputation at this point, without any help from me.

2) This is probably the more important point... I *own* this outcome. Shame on them for certain aspects of it, but I'll take the blame for trusting them and not being more involved when I should have been. I should have been more in control of both schedule and the budget and made time to travel out there for regular in-person inspections. As I said before, this project is to build up a car that my wife will own for the rest of her life and she has a huge sentimental attachment to this particular car, so the budget was a secondary consideration to the quality. If the quality had been anywhere near commensurate to the spend, I'd have been happy. Instead, the first time my wife got in the car to drive it and shut the door, the door panel and arm rest became loose towards the back side of the door and the insert panel fell out completely. That was the start of a long day for me...

3) Lastly, I don't think I am unfairly "blasting away" at Sonderwerks. I am not going to go back and fight with them to try and get money back or take billboards out and badmouth them. I am just going to move on with the car and continue to work to bring it up to the standard that I think it deserves and after seeing numerous examples of 928s owned by this particular group over the years, its a high standard. Having said that, I view the community here as friends and I think I am being pretty honest and objective about the outcome. Others here may elect to try and get a similar service from them and I am providing feedback on my experience for the community to consider, nothing more.
worf, hernanca, jej3 and 1 others liked this
By Kris
#203827
Sorry to hear about the trouble you are going through. I’m myself in the middle of nuts and bolts restoration project and I have reflected quite a few times that a shop could never spend the same amount of time on details without becoming crazy expensive. Can you hint at the amount of dollar bills you handed over?
In any case, delivering a car dirty and with glue traces is totally unacceptable.
By sh944
#203832
I spent a bit more than $39,000 with them. Yes, I know I could easily buy another well sorted car for that kind of money but that wasn't the point.

I covered transport of the car to and from them separately, and provided a full carpet set, 80% of the interior parts plus an extra dash that was intact and had no cracks or obvious flaws aside from being the wrong color, etc. that were delivered with the car.
By jej3
#203837
sh944 wrote:I spent a bit more than $39,000 with them. Yes, I know I could easily buy another well sorted car for that kind of money but that wasn't the point.

I covered transport of the car to and from them separately, and provided a full carpet set, 80% of the interior parts plus an extra dash that was intact and had no cracks or obvious flaws aside from being the wrong color, etc. that were delivered with the car.
Thanks for being transparent about EVERYTHING here.

I guess I am most surprised that an owner of a shop, when presented with the option of making this reflect the reputation he wants his shop to have, wouldn't have pulled out all the stops.

And it again proves any of the service providers is about the people employed at the time your vehicle is worked on. Great past work may be the only great work they ever did ?!?!?

Sorry for your experience but again thank you for sharing it!!!!
By worf
#203847
sh944 wrote: Mon Mar 06, 2023 3:43 pm I spent a bit more than $39,000 with them.
That is a sufficient amount for them to have exceeded your expectations. That’s 250-ish to 300 hours of labor assuming no more than 10% was materials.
By sh944
#203957
It’s a sunk cost at this point and has no impact on my net worth. Losing my composure over something like this only holds me back from focusing on what the real objective is, which is giving my wife a priceless gift.

Am I happy? Nope… but dwelling on it won’t make it any better. It’s just another lesson in life that will help me make better decisions in the future.
linderpat liked this
By amdavid
#203964
sh944 wrote: Tue Mar 07, 2023 11:54 am It’s a sunk cost at this point and has no impact on my net worth. Losing my composure over something like this only holds me back from focusing on what the real objective is, which is giving my wife a priceless gift.

Am I happy? Nope… but dwelling on it won’t make it any better. It’s just another lesson in life that will help me make better decisions in the future.
Understood, I applaud your approach. Hey, you've made progress and you still have time to make it right. A little sweat equity on your part might impress and be greatly appreciated by the mrs.
By lupo.sk
#204012
Holyshit.
You could have shipped it to Poland and get it done in bespoke leather (all parts, including vents), ship it back and still have 10k left over.
By sh944
#204020
lupo.sk wrote: Tue Mar 07, 2023 5:30 pm Holyshit.
You could have shipped it to Poland and get it done in bespoke leather (all parts, including vents), ship it back and still have 10k left over.
Maybe on the next car… lol
By Crumpler
#204126
Following, sorry to hear of the less than optimal outcome.
This is tough. They probably did a lot of it very well, but if the customer writes a check for 40k and the door card falls off, etc. Who in their right mind would be pleased?

If things are done sub-par, it becomes a binary issue to me. Either you can’t do better, or you don’t care enough to do better. Both are a problem.

In terms of sharing the experience with others:
It’s allowed, I feel. The thread was objective, and not presented as dirty laundry.

For better or worse the shop in question is subject to the same exposure to on-line feedback as the rest of us are in 2023.
Our community is tight knit, which probably got this guy referrals in the past. But the opposite holds true as well.
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By Mrmerlin
#204249
Well after adding more context the results and the cash outlay dont balance,
thats really unfortunate for you and your wife.

I am disappointed to hear this as I had thought about going to them for future work,
and now I will be waiting to see other jobs that get done by them.

I hope you figure out the way forward,
and the final debugging is fast and puts things to your liking.
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