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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 12-09-2000, 04:05 AM
John McMahon's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 1999
Location: Whitehouse Station, NJ
Cobra Make, Engine: SOLD: 2013 Boss 302 Mustang #2775 (both options). SOLD: 95 Mustang Cobra R #4 of 250 "Rosie's Diner" car. SOLD: CCX2-2505, #5 of 7 289 FIAs ever produced at Contemporary! my first Cobra: Unique 427SC w/ 428CJ moder!
Posts: 5,438
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CC Member
Registered on 04-03-99
(Total posts: 366)
San Jose, California, USA
(Cobra Make, Engine: Advanced Chassis 427/ Medusa #1 home, Medusa #2 on order) posted 01-25-2000 01:32 PM
Anyone have one of his cars or know anything about them? Paul is one of the nicest guys I've ever met, yet I've never talked to or known anyone who has one of his cars. His frame is awesome looking, body, well...

CC Member
Registered on 04-03-99
(Total posts: 366)
San Jose, California, USA
(Cobra Make, Engine: Advanced Chassis 427/ Medusa #1 home, Medusa #2 on order) posted 04-02-2000 07:17 AM
Got my car out of Paul Bennetts shop yesterday morning. He insisted on charging me another $500.00 for a total of $4,500.OO for the work he did.
Here is the short version of my 14 month ordeal with Mr. Bennett, I will attempt to only state the facts, as I know them, and anyone considering dealing with Mr. Bennett can draw their own conclusions, or email me and I'll give you the long version with details, words, emotions that I will not post here.
January 1999:
My 427 side oiler block,(not bored as a side oiler) shipped from New Orleans was delivered to my construction site so we could use a back-hoe to transfer from the UPS truck to my pick-up. The next day I took the engine to Mr. Bennetts. I asked him to build it as resonalbly close to stock as possible. I gave him a check for $3,000.00
February 1999:
I took my Advanced Chassis body/brame to Mr. Bennetts. I asked him to remove the 302 engine, the auto trans, and the 8.8 straight axle and replace with the 427 he was to build, one of the five toploader transmissions he had in his shop and an Jaguar XKE rear end/axle that "he had a line on". He promised me my car by end of Summer.
March, April, May, June 1999:
No activity on car.
July 1999:
427 engine disasembled on Mr. Bennetts floor, to be sent to machine shop to determine condition and rebuildabilty.
August, September 1999:
427 engine still sitting on Mr. Bennetts shop floor.
XKE rear end is waiting to be picked up. I offered to go pick it up, I offered to take engine to machine shop. Mr. Bennett said: The XKE rear is a deal with a friend so he had to go pick it up, and he assured me the engine would go out next week.
October 1999:
Engine gone from Mr. Bennetts shop. Report from machine shop: Engine has never been bored, just needs honeing, will order parts ASAP, magnafluxed clean.
November 1999:
Finally, parts being removed from car, engine out, old trans out. No progress on engine, "pistons are hard to find"
December 1999:
Rear removed from car. No progress on engine, "the guy went down to LA to get pistons"
January 2000:
I say, "Mr. Bennett, this has gone on long enough I want my car back." I am assured I will have car with all work done and running by Spring. No progress on engine, pistons in LA were wrong ones. Jaguar rearend is just waiting to be picked up.
February 2000:
I go to shop and BLOW UP! No not the shop, though I did xxxxxxxx it for a fleeting moment. (Opps, I said I'd just report the facts here) I say I want my car now, as is, period. I am told, "just give me two weeks, and I'll have it done". I say I'll give you till March 15, which is more than 3 weeks, then I will show up with a trailer and take car no matter what.
March 15, 2000:
Car not ready, he is painting Pumpkin, has made mods to frame to take Jaguar rear, has front Chevy rotors, etc, sitting on floor.
I say, I want my car now, he says just give me one more week and I'll have it done. I ask about progress on engine, I am told, "I don't know"
March 23, or so, 2000:
Progress on rear installation, half shafts are being shortened? (I am so mad I don't catch the fact that and XKE rear does not need half shafts shortened) I'm just elated that maybe the car will be rolling so I can pick it up, rather than attempting to put it onto trailer without wheels. I aks what is with engine,I am given the phone number to the machine shop, I call and am told, I have th pistons, the block has been boiled out, that's all. I tell the guy I want my engine back at Mr. Bennetts shop by Friday March 31. He says OK.
I say I will be back Friday March 31 to pick up car, rolling or not.
I call on Wednesday March 29th, will car be ready Friday? "Oh yes, it's almost done now"
I say, I tell you what, rather than rush you, I pick it up Saturday morning, I will have towing company there at 10:00AM, that will give us an hour to load up engine and settle stuff.
April 01, 2000 (get it? Aprils Fools Day, and I am the Fool)
I show up at 9:00AM, Mr. Bennett will not let me load engine block into truck untill I pay him another $500.00, so I write him a check. Load, engine, etc. He xxxxx me a nice set of 5 bolt wheels so I car roll the car on/off the trailer, which I am to xxxxxx Monday. I ask about damage to right rear fender well, he says:"it's so minor, anybody can fix that"/
He starts to explaine rear end frame mods and installtion and how it needs to be modified again as he has set it 2-1/2" too far back, but that it was Gary White's fault cause The Advanced Chassis body sits too far back on the frame. "I measured off the frame when I made the mods, I didn't realize the body sat back further, so it's Gary's fault. I ask about the half shafts, I am told, "oh it's a sedan rear, I couldn't get an XKE rear. "I saved you money, this rear only cost $1000.00, the XKE rear would have cost twice that"
I say, that's not what I want, or what we agreed on, also you expect me to pay for an incorrect installation on the rear end? "Well, I did do the work", Mr. Bennett says. "Yes, but it's wrong" I say.
All I want is to get my car out of this black hole, so I stop talking, the tow truck shows, we load, and She is home.
The next time I see Mr. Bennett it will be in Small Claimes Court.
Wayne R. McAllaster
Learning the hard way, how NOT to run a Cobra business.

Edit: on legal type advice I have xxxxed out a couple of words.

Does this qualify for story of the month?

[This message has been edited by 427SSSS (edited 04-03-2000).]


Bud Man
CC Member
Registered on 01-16-2000
(Total posts: 99)
Southlake, TX, USA
(Cobra Make, Engine: Hi Tech 427 SC 428 SCJ) posted 04-02-2000 03:23 PM
I remember visiting Paul Bennett in the mid '80's when I lived in Castro Valley.
Interesting shop, lots of different makes of Cobras needing attention of one form or another. He did, as I recall, market a relatively expensive car while not visually
accurate, was well constructed and safe.

What a horror story.. You wonder how people like this stay in biz.



maxi mouse
CC Member
Registered on 01-20-2000
(Total posts: 29)
salida ca. usa
(Cobra Make, Engine: ffr 435ci aluminum hillborn inj. sb. chevy) posted 04-02-2000 06:00 PM
wayne better hurry be cause his shop is for sale its listed in this months kit car mag. if you need rear end fixed you can call me at (209)545-4653 jim

CC Member
Registered on 04-03-99
(Total posts: 366)
San Jose, California, USA
(Cobra Make, Engine: Advanced Chassis 427/ Medusa #1 home, Medusa #2 on order) posted 04-02-2000 08:56 PM
Bennett offered me the Cobra portion of his business six months ago for $50 grand, then he came back and offered a second body mold and one of his "semi" completed chassis that someone backed out of, for a grand total of $75 grand. I told him I was interested in the mold, and he said, "The seller is a friend of mine,if you want the mold, let me buy it, then I'll add a few bucks and sell it to you, and you will still get it for less than if you purchase it directly from the guy, and I'll make a few bucks".(To a "friend"?) Well, I ignored Mr. Bennett and bought the mold directly from the seller, I don't think Mr. Bennett knows yet, I'm looking forward to telling him!
Thanks for the offer on the rear, I really did want an XKE rear, I took measurements off my XKE today, which is headed for Sweden tomorrow, (in trade for a Mini Cooper), and the sedan rear Bennett cut and installed incorrectly; the widths are the same.
Should be a simple fix, cut and re-weld, or make an adapter plate to move it forward 2-1/2 inches, it's just the principal of the thing, to have to pay for it being installed wrong, and to not have the XKE that we had agreed on, and that he told me for months that he had secured.
I do have four nice wheels with new tires that xx xxx xx xxx for rollers to get the car home, I'm supposed to xxxxxx them tomorrow. Maybe I'll just wait 14 months to xxxxxx them, I've always considered "turn about fair play".
I'll phone you, thanks again for the offer.
BTW, I have not seen this months Kit Car Mag, but I think he is only selling the Cobra portion of his business, he's latched onto some people who restore old army equipment, he has a tank and several other WWII vehicles that take up half his shop, which is half the size it was 14 months ago.
Bud, like I've been saying for 14 months, he seems like a really nice guy, his frame is awesome, the body, well... and the price, last I heard, $65 grand.
PS: A couple of people from this club warned me that things might not be 'right' at Bennetts, but my car was there, he had started to work on it at the time, and I was trying to give him the benifit of the doubt.
EDIT: on advice of a legal type friend I have xxxxed out certain words.

[This message has been edited by 427SSSS (edited 04-03-2000).]


Tom T.
CC Member
Registered on 12-14-1999
(Total posts: 275)
Novato, CA, USA
(Cobra Make, Engine: Contemporary 427 S/C, 427 Center Oiler) posted 04-07-2000 07:46 AM
Sounds like you've been through the mill. Bummer--hope things turn around for you and your project soon. Anyway, I was wondering what's inherently better about the XKE rear end than the sedan rear end, other than (I think) having to shorten the halfshafts on the sedan rear end a bit. My Contemporary has the XKE rear end, but as I recall the company supplied cars with both versions. Just curious, and good luck.

Best regards,

Tom T.


CC Member
Registered on 02-06-99
(Total posts: 388)
(Cobra Make, Engine: Contemporary-Aluminum 484 FE) posted 04-08-2000 12:03 AM
Actually the later XJ6 rear is better than the XKE. The pumpkin is stronger and so are the haft shafts. The weakest part of the Dana 44/Salisbury
rearend are the lower control arms and stub axles.


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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 06-09-2002, 07:30 PM
SCOBRAC's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Northern California, CA
Cobra Make, Engine: -Sold- Contemporary 427S/C # CCX-3152 1966 427 Med Rise Side Oiler, 8v 3.54:1 Salisbury IRS, Koni's.. (Now I'm riding Harleys)
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I know this is an old post but I am new here and I have something to say.. Maybe in another couple years this post will save someone from a similar fate.

I have seen a similar experience with a buddy and Paul Bennett.. I am a pretty good wrench and do my own work. I bought my Contemporary from a guy with more money than sense and mechanical ability.. Long story short Bennett's failure in diagnosing a "carb" problem that was an ignition/electrical problem cost my budddy a $5,000 engine.. But it gets worse..

I have found invoice after invoice for work not performed, not performed right and some performed so dangerously that it is a wonder someone wasn't killed.. (remember the engine) The short block was replaced but not fully secured into the frame of my buddy's car (my car now) with the passenger side motor mount not tightened and the mount washer askew in the slot, half in and half out..

I fixed an oil (had) leak Bennett charged my buddy $300 to fix. It was diagnosed as a oil filter bypass housing seal.. OK.. But $300?? As it turns out it was a valve cover gasket that could have been done for 1/10th the cost...

I have heard good things about Bennett Automotive, maybe he saw my buddy coming and maybe not.. I do know he cost my friend a lot of money and used generally inferior parts..


A man that is young in years, may be old in hours, if he have lost no time. But that happeneth rarely. Generally, youth is like the first cogitations, not so wise as the second. For there is a youth in thoughts, as well as in ages... Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
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