Customers such as Dwayne Nosworthy, Westchester Classic Cars and Coachwork, in Danbury, CT, report that “there’s no guessing with Car Bench. We have perfectly repaired and restored severely damaged cars to their original manufactured frame specifications. When there are structural repairs and part replacement for frames, there is no guessing or just saying ‘it’s okay’.” Being able to repair cars that other local shops aren’t equipped to handle is good business for him. “These shops send me lots of cars to repair on the Car Bench,” says Nosworthy.
Many Car Bench owners focus on repairing higher-end vehicles including high end, high performance, and exotic makes such as BMW, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, and Porsche. These vehicles can often sustain more dollars worth of repairs without totaling, and they also have sophisticated chassis, including many structural aluminum parts, that other body shops simply aren’t equipped to repair.
Car Bench’s principal products are OEM-approved benches, jigs, and pulling systems capable of very precise structural repairs to vehicles. The repair systems (composed of benches, jigs, and pull arms) are approved in the United States and Canada by BMW, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Maserati, Maybach, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Porsche, and Smart.
Ralph Bell, owner of Bell’s Auto Body Werks, in Costa Mesa, California, specializes in European exotic cars. Factory authorized for Ferrari & Maserati, Bell’s is the only such factory repair facility on the west coast and one of only four independently held operations in the USA. His techs are extensively trained in Italy on cars with vanishingly small tolerances. Says Bell, “From a technical standpoint, you can only fix a car 100%. I’ve rebuilt some of the most valuable cars in the world. Right now I have a ‘07 Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, shipped here from Texas, on the Car Bench. This is a $175K repair on a $330K car. In 30 years in the business, I have used a number of systems and I wouldn’t build a car off the Car Bench. I’ve also done a lot of race car rebuilds and I’ve never had a complaint. That speaks for itself.”
“Generally on aluminum bodies the repairs involve cutting and welding sections in, with very little pulling done. A chrome moly frame did recently require a pull. I have a little Honda in right now and it’s on the Car Bench.”
Car Bench systems can be used to make exacting frame and unit body repairs to all vehicles and customers including both small and large shops. Car Bench customers include dealership-owned boy shops as well as corporate- and family-owned independent shops. Some Car Bench customers have very small shops, while others operate very large, sophisticated facilities. What they have in common, however, is a desire to improve their businesses by repairing cars more accurately and by using equipment today that will continue to benefit them in the future. These customers understand the benefits of jigging and are positioning themselves to capitalize on the increasing need for this type of repair.
Car Bench offers 3 types of jigs: dedicated jigs, mini jigs, and universal jigs.
1. Dedicated jigs are conventional fixtures, designed specifically for each vehicle make and model. They’re available for purchase or rent.
2. Universal jigs provide exactly the same function as dedicated jigs, but can be quickly adjusted for use with all vehicle makes and models. This means the body shop always has the jigs it needs on hand, so they never have to wait to receive rental jigs or pay rental fees.
3. Mini jigs are like a combination of dedicated and universal jigs. Like dedicated jigs, mini jigs are designed specifically for each vehicle make and model; however, they are smaller and lighter than dedicated jigs, and like universal jigs, they feature an adjustable support base that makes them easy to set up and use during repairs.
The Advantages of Jigs
Using a jig system to repair vehicles is more accurate than a frame machine with electronic measuring. This is because the jigs fully support the vehicle throughout the repair and ensure that every critical control point is exactly where it should be, per the OEM specifications. When you use jigs to repair a vehicle, you rebuild the car the way it was originally manufactured by the OEM.
Jigs provide both anchoring and measuring in one step, and they are easy to use and understand. Jigs are a Go/No-Go gauge. The vehicle either fits to the jigs or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, then the chassis isn’t where it should be. This makes the repair very easy to comprehend and to complete. Plus, because jigs firmly anchor replacement rails and other components in perfect position, they speed up repair jobs that require sectioning of the vehicle. You can do it faster, and when you’re done, you know it’s perfect.
For Les Moeckel at Ewing’s Autohaus – a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Plano, Texas – using the Car Bench jigs on his higher end cars is a ‘no brainer’ on all the substructure repairs. “Jigs are the way to go,” he says.
“All the sheet metal lines up and we can paint panels off the car and fit them perfectly.” Moeckel chose Car Bench because of the ease of set up. Although operator error can be a factor, he says, “with Car Bench it’s hard to get it wrong.”
“Paying, say $700, for dedicated jig rentals can be an issue, but on a bigger repair it’s worth it.”
Similar insight comes from Autobody News columnist, Lee Amaradio, who has 65 employees in his state of the art shop in Murrieta, California. He calls Car Bench’s technology “spot on. It’s a fabulous company which makes great equipment.” In addition to the insurers balking at costs to set up, a cost-related issue is that the tolerances achieved by the jigs exceed factory tolerances found on most domestic cars.
Car Bench was founded in 1967 by Mr. Giuseppe Pietrelli in Massa, Italy, and 2007 marked Car Bench’s 40th year in business. The company is still owned by the Pietrelli family, with Giuseppe’s son (Silvano Pietrelli) and daughter (Paola Pietrelli) serving as President and Vice President, respectively.
From its beginning, Car Bench has worked very closely with dozens of vehicle manufacturers around the globe. This includes not only the production of OEM-approved equipment for collision repair, but also the manufacture of equipment for the automakers themselves. This equipment consists of benches and jigs for the prototyping and production of vehicles. Today, dozens of automakers – including Porsche and Ferrari – use Car Bench jigs to prototype and produce their vehicles.
Car Bench equipment is extremely popular in Europe and throughout the globe. In fact, Car Bench sells its repair systems to more than 60,000 body shops in more than 70 countries. In the United States, all Car Bench sales, service, and training is coordinated by Car Bench North America.
Car Bench North America, based in Minnesota, is the exclusive U.S. and Canadian importer of Car Bench frame straightening systems from Car Bench International in Italy.
Car Bench North America supplies and services body shops throughout the US and Canada, and provides technical support to OEM factories and training facilities. The full line of products is stocked in Car Bench’s 18,000-square-foot Minnesota warehouse. They also stock dedicated jigs at numerous jig rental banks throughout the U.S. and operate training centers in Minnesota, Florida, and Washington. Body shop personnel are always welcome at Car Bench’s training centers, where they can learn the latest repair techniques using Car Bench’s newest, most advanced equipment.
Car Bench North America actively supports I-CAR and is a corporate member of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS). The company believes in the mission of SCRS to educate, inform, and promote collision repair professionals in all aspects of the industry.
How to Get Car Bench Products
Body shops can buy Car Bench equipment through their local Car Bench distributor or through Car Bench’s in-house sales team. Their distributors and in-house sales personnel will travel to meet interested customers on site and work with them to provide the best equipment for their shop. When you invest in Car Bench products, they deliver and install the equipment and provide in-shop, hands-on training. To learn more, interested shop owners, managers, and technicians can call 1-800-564-5790.