Is John Steal still alive and operating a business as JPS Motorsports?

As of April, 2018, our car contract was breached 7months ago. No car, no proof of any progress, and Mr. Steal owes us a whole lot of money we took from our retirement savings.  He refuses to answers emails, allow us onto his property or supply us with his lawyer's contact info. Lots to share about this business but can't speak of everything at this time. Anyone know of Mr. Steal's activities or have had similar circumstances?

Original Post

Delivery is 6 months for a JPS Custom, from the date of the first deposit and signed build agreement.  (Allow extra week for black)

Make sure you spell his name correctly on filing paperwork - John P. Steele.  Ha, the "Steal" was a Freudian slip.  I send a registered letter requesting full refund in 10 days due to contract breech; file complaint with Better Business Bureau (no real clout but often the nudge needed plus visible to other potential buyers); then file a complaint with the California State Attorney General.  Perhaps others are having the same issue?

Maybe Mr. Steal realized the folly in hard work/an honest living and has adopted Mr. L's business model? (you know, where you just continually take deposits from unsuspecting people who are overwhelmed by his slick website and never actually build a car?)

John Steele (had and or has health issues) he moved the business to San Diego some months ago and he has "new management" running the show. From what I understand Steele would purchase  speedster bodies from Kirk one at a time and that source his no longer available to him.  Me, I would go in person to investigate.  I know that a guy from Pennsylvania waited in excess of two years for a coupe to be completed and shipped.

4Banger posted:

Is John Steal still alive and operating a business as JPS Motorsports?

As of April, 2018, our car contract was breached 7months ago. No car, no proof of any progress, and Mr. Steal owes us a whole lot of money we took from our retirement savings.  He refuses to answers emails, allow us onto his property or supply us with his lawyer's contact info. Lots to share about this business but can't speak of everything at this time. Anyone know of Mr. Steal's activities or have had similar circumstances?

I AM IN EXACTLY THE SAME POSITION AS YOU 4BANGER. Exactly.

Contract & first payment on Sept 1st 2017. Second payment Oct 1st (for paint). I have a paper trail.

I haven't seen a tub painted. He did point to a coupe tub and say its mine...

I took a risk, and this is where I stand.

The instagram and FB pages do have a lot of action amazingly. All the pictures I have seen are of the old shop. He has a vid where numerous people are working on cars. ...His shop is usually VERY slim on employees in my various visits.

 

I see three (at least) end games.

Legit move, new management and his business improves. Has anyone contacted the new 'management'?

Bad health forcing his actions as he he is not doing well? I hope not. I appreciate and wish for good health in everybody.

Potential sell out, 'freeing' himself of past/current builds, taking the money and run? That would be the most worrisome for current clients.

Ok senario # 4... 'New management' results in the dissolving of the company. New management needs to make themselves accessible, right?

There has been some 'confusion' in recent months concerning my build. I am not sure what causes the 'confusion'. I too, for the time being need to be reserved and show good intention.

I want the car. I wish well for John. I hope his life is ok. I hope his business is ok. We have had a couple of good conversations with my visits over time. As you can see, my intentions are good. Other clients hope his intentions are good too.

 

Panhandle Bob posted:

You know he moved the operation down to the San Diego area? There is another thread about that here on the site.

The Mr. Steal must have been a spell check thing? Apologies. We never got updates as promised or on time. Last I heard, whatever he had for us (we had nothing but a picture of a painted shell) was for sale and our money was coming. A couple months later, a Suby coupe showed up in Georgia I would swear is the same color as we ordered (a non-metallic grey German color left over from WWII we picked). It didn't have the same VIN as we were given which we learned late in the process was from a salvage donor. Not a good choice for our state and titling. Lots of other surprises I can't mention at this time. Steele made a meager refund transfer but the large portion is being withheld despite promises. He stated we are not welcome on his property and we can't meet with his lawyer due to a "conflict of interest" (???). He has cut off communication although we continue to email him weekly about his debt. If anyone has a new address or contact info. (ours is at the Vanowen St location, N. Hollywood), please provide so we can supply this to our people. I don't do any form of social media so just a post here or a PM would be appreciated. We want to remain professional as we have always done but we can not afford to let this matter fall in the cracks for us or anyone else's sake. Registerd letter has been sent (which John signed for but says he won't open...sheesh). The rest is being pursued now.

MaxMartens posted:
4Banger posted:

Is John Steal still alive and operating a business as JPS Motorsports?

As of April, 2018, our car contract was breached 7months ago. No car, no proof of any progress, and Mr. Steal owes us a whole lot of money we took from our retirement savings.  He refuses to answers emails, allow us onto his property or supply us with his lawyer's contact info. Lots to share about this business but can't speak of everything at this time. Anyone know of Mr. Steal's activities or have had similar circumstances?

I AM IN EXACTLY THE SAME POSITION AS YOU 4BANGER. Exactly.

Contract & first payment on Sept 1st 2017. Second payment Oct 1st (for paint). I have a paper trail.

I haven't seen a tub painted. He did point to a coupe tub and say its mine...

I took a risk, and this is where I stand.

The instagram and FB pages do have a lot of action amazingly. All the pictures I have seen are of the old shop. He has a vid where numerous people are working on cars. ...His shop is usually VERY slim on employees in my various visits.

 

I see three (at least) end games.

Legit move, new management and his business improves. Has anyone contacted the new 'management'?

Bad health forcing his actions as he he is not doing well? I hope not. I appreciate and wish for good health in everybody.

Potential sell out, 'freeing' himself of past/current builds, taking the money and run? That would be the most worrisome for current clients.

Ok senario # 4... 'New management' results in the dissolving of the company. New management needs to make themselves accessible, right?

There has been some 'confusion' in recent months concerning my build. I am not sure what causes the 'confusion'. I too, for the time being need to be reserved and show good intention.

I want the car. I wish well for John. I hope his life is ok. I hope his business is ok. We have had a couple of good conversations with my visits over time. As you can see, my intentions are good. Other clients hope his intentions are good too.

 

There is another scenario available to a few select people...jail time. Some things you can't avoid despite legal maneuverings. I wish I could elaborate. I too wish no one ill-health. All I can say is if someone thinks they feel bad now, just wait. I had some health issues I had to resolve too and my family has definitely suffered through all of this. The car was intended as a very nice birthday present for my dear wife. We allowed extra time as well as accommodated well past the due date. But business is business. I am sorry for your woes. I can't advise you except to say that just because you live a good life and treat others properly, doesn't mean everyone does. Too bad your contract didn't have specific intermediate due dates so you could claim breach when the first one wasn't met. I hope your outcome will be different than mine. So far it seems pretty familiar.  

MusbJim posted:

@4Banger @MaxMartens I find it despicable what you are both going going through with your Speedster build process! 

I don't have any wisdom to offer but hope that you are both able to resolve your situation soon. Hopefully the new 'Manager' of the JPS shop relocated to San Marcos, CA, will provide a response to your queries.

Thanks for yours and all the other supporting replies. We certainly agree that these matters should NOT go unresolved as a matter of both money and principle. Some trains have been running far too long on the same track. This should not just go away in the weeks to follow. The obvious solution is "both barrels".

There is an outstanding community here made up mostly of good people whose primary motivation is based upon an appreciation of some classic Porsche models. And rightly so. We appreciate and expect equally fine work that matches those cars. That is our focus and we have no time or tolerance for the rest.

I hope to post a lengthy but very important guide for those seeking to build a custom car when time permits. It will deal with matters such as salvage titles, insurance, JDM vs. domestic motors, Federal regulations, contract-specific recommendation and many other matters I have learned about. I can only hope it will be read and followed.

In the meantime, it is my hope that all potential owners will take a very realistic approach to a fairly complicated process and try not to wear rose-colored glasses thinking bad things only happen to bad people.  

550 Phil posted:

4Banger. Very sorry for your troubles.  I have a very short guide for building a replica.

Use:

Intermeccanica

Vintage Motorcars

Beck

Good and bad manufacturers are well documented on this site.

WHAT PHIL SAID!

It greatly saddens me to see enthusiasts, with their hard earned dollars, get their face SMACKED...literally, with such CHAOS and fraud. Its somewhat analogous to a miscarriage as the "baby" is gone and sometimes the where-with-all($$$$) also gone to enable another venture.

I have been to JPS during communication and sparse communication.

Soon, I will see with my own eyes the state of JPS operations. There will be cars & equipment at one or the other location. 
If each location is vacant or liquidated, that will be my time to go to the next step.

This requires, at least initially, 'boots on the ground' to see what is going on at the shop location(s).

Has anyone checked each location? Are buildings open? Or locked up. Take a pic of each location. That is boots on the ground verification. I haven't seen, or heard of anyone checking locations yet.

I will not put out threats of any kind. I will put out results, which ever way they go. I am just now approaching 8 months on the build - I expected the build to fall behind, so....

...Time to drop by. 

Roy Simpson, FF Plastic Porsche posted:

4Banger, how many times have you visited JPS?

Did you see progress?

Did you visit soon after you could not get in touch, the first time?

To answer, I saw some progress at the beginning while I was making my scheduled deposits. I saw a raw body and one after paint. I never saw a completed chassis pic although I was assured they were working on it every day. I saw a motor pic but it wasn't what we ordered. Later that proved worse than we expected. Can't comment further on that. I grew more concerned and insistent when it was apparent the car could not be completed on time. But I had to wait until after the due date. Due to the complexity of such a project, we allowed more time but became insistent on regular updates. Weekly updates were promised and never rec'd. Last we saw was a non-metallic grey roller (saw such a color in Atlanta?) with no interior, no drivetrain, etc. We then learned of a title issue and more procrastination. We set a deadline of EOY 2017 for a refund. JPS said a buyer had been found and money was coming. A meager partial was rec'd  but the majority (a significant sum) was withheld.  Before communication was cut off, we got disturbing emails about prior Porsche lawsuit supposedly won by JPS, how he looked forward to a legal battle and much more.  I am 1/2 across US. I am, so far,  out a large sum of money and can not enter JPS property per JPS. So a trip is likely just something to add to the debt. Money better spent in other ways. My wife was nearly in tears over this tonight. I don't like anyone hurting my wife. This matter will not go away.

4BANGER: I hate to hear it but this happens way too often....I'm ill just from reading your story. Its happened to me but only on a much smaller scale(under 10K loss)

I know a guy....who knows a guy...who knows another guy....his name is LOUIE THE RAT! He knows a guy named ARTURO the "ASSASSIN"....he owns a concrete mixing company and most of his pours are reinforced with organic additives(LOL).

There has gotta be a collective way to gather up the other JPS injured folks and do something to enable some justice/performance.

All I can add is that somehow I have retained “friendship” status on Facebook with John and see an occasional post. Just yesterday he responded to one of my FB posts regarding the YouTube shooting.

I have also seen posts where he has discussed his health, one mentioning he was declared dead but resuscitated. I guess it all revolves around his heart. He may have had a couple of hospital stays in there somewhere.

Then I have seen posts where he has married and feels somgood about that. 

So what does this all say to me? That he might have cheated death and that he doesn’t let his business bother his personal life. Customers? I think he could care less, he’s just grateful to be alive.

That’s all I got.

You know, I have previously posted more than once (when this same discussion with Mr. L....g has come up) that somebody that's being taken for a ride should invest in a Lousville Slugger and go visit the gentleman in question, but so many of you (in the land where it seems everybody takes the law into his own hands) keep on telling me that it isn't the way. Are you telling me that the movie/documentary about the guy in the small town with the baseball bat isn't true? (gasp!) I'll bet it would get results, and you could even rent/sell it to the next guy who needs it

So.

Let's hypothetically assume that there was a guy (say, in SoCal) who always had a sketchy reputation, but who was always able to grift by on bluster and chutzpah. Let's say he always ran a shoestring operation, but liked to pass himself off as a legitimate builder, and that he was able to continue to present himself in this light for 20+ years.

A hypothetical charlatan like that might have health problems, a divorce, and some money issues. None of these problems would keep a guy like that from making promises he had no idea how he could to keep.

A guy like that would always sort've believe his own lies, but he wouldn't have the ability to "beat" Porsche (part of one of the largest corporations in the world) at anything. Deep down, he would know that. I would think it's important that the hypothetical guys he would've lied to would know that as well. I'd be stunned if a guy like that would even have enough money to hire an attorney. He would count on those jilted customers not pursuing justice... because he would know that they would know the cost involved. It's all hypothetical, but a guy like that would count on a mark cutting their losses.

A good grifter (and a guy like this would have to be really good at it) is generally able to ride this line for years, until he loses his edge and picks the wrong mark. He'd be able to win the battle of wills by holding people hostage-- knowing that 999 people in 1000 will take less than they deserve, if he convinces them that the alternative is getting nothing. Guys like that don't get sued, because they know that a suit will likely cost more than anything anybody could recover.

But often at the end of his life, a guy like that will end up overplaying his hand. One day, a guy like that picks the wrong fight, and somebody calls his bluff. Doing so would take an actual legal fight-- and while the guy would talk tough, he would have nothing on his side except mutually assured destruction. He would believe that the desire to get a car or some money would trump the desire for justice. He would likely have nothing to lose personally, as he's probably already cheated death and would likely have lived hand to mouth for years. Con-men never plan for the future with sound investments, they just grift from one mark to the next. A guy like that would likely have to use 5 different cards to purchase a hotel room, and have all of them declined (not that I ever witnessed this personally in 2002). The operation would always have been on a shoestring.

Maybe someday, somebody would get to be mad enough or would be rich enough to call the bluff. Maybe that OP is that guy. But most of the marks would be too emotionally drained and embarrassed to take the fight to him.

Either way, it'd be good if somebody knew what they were up against. 

Shoddy business practices have been discussed on this site for at least the 20 years I've been on here.  Everyone has an opinion, and it's always difficult to determine who is serious, who is venting, and who is clearly kidding.

Vigilante justice is only good advice if you wouldn't mind being incarcerated yourself.  There is no quicker way to exchange your status as victim to that of perpetrator.  Want to make a bad situation worse?  Easy, commit assault and battery on the con man, and now he's the victim.

Lawyers always cost money in these situations, as no qualified attorney would take a case like this on a contingency basis, since a lucrative award that could be split with an attorney is unlikely.  The victim may be awarded restitution in a negotiated settlement, but a sizable damages award in very unlikely.  See below.

Since the business is in California, the county District Attorney would be the law enforcement person to contact.   Each state handles civil/criminal complaints differently, and, in California, you don't contact the Attorney General, which is a state office.  You contact the county DA in one of Cailfornia's 58 counties

Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office will have an online website that likely has consumer complaint forms the public can download, complete, and forward to the DA's Office.  Victims photocopy all relevant documents, emails, and any other writings that support their position.  The Consumer Fraud attorneys have the option of filing a civil or criminal complaint, but usually file civilly, since the victim is more concerned with money damages than jail time for the perpetrator.  In addition, the elements of criminal fraud are more difficult to prove than unlawful business practices.

All of us who have been wronged at one time or another may fantasize about revenge, but there really is no easy way to get satisfaction.  Crooks know this and use it to their advantage.  That's how they stay in business for such a long time.  Whatever route you choose, don't put yourself in legal jeopardy just to get revenge.  We ARE the good guys, and we've worked too long and hard to throw it away. 

I'd like to give Stan's post ten likes. Steve Lawing doesn't deserve to be in this conversation at all. He is an abject bag of scum. How he is still above ground I'll never know.

I've never been a fan of John Steal(oops I spelled it wrong). IMHO he's Steve Lawing lite. I personally saw the questionable quality of his build(s) in person, and all the fixes that were required to get it road safe. There were more required if it were mine, but it wasn't.

I hope you two(4banger and Max) get some answers and/or some money.

Phil is right on the 3 choices though. That's where I'd buy new.

David Stroud posted:
calmotion posted:

Crazy to hear this things. Hopefully SAS and  JPS  figures out soon enough to take care of their customers. 

With all due respect....calmotion.....you are dreaming about SAS. I don't know much about JPS but I'm so surprised that no one has paid them a visit. Throw a bunch of money at someone, get nothing in return other than empty promises and no communication and you don't have the motivation to pay them a visit ? 

Not in the same league as this problem for sure but years ago I sent money to a motorcycle shop in Chicago for some BSA parts and the owner became lethargic in sending me the goods. I got frustrated and called the cops. Literally. One took the complaint, passed me on to a Detective and sure as hell he followed thru the next day and paid them a visit. The goods got shipped while the Detective stood there and supervised the process. 

People yak about rumours from social media outlets, others recommend going straight to a Lawyer etc., others have recommended filing a complaint with the Attorney General I think I remember. Texas isn't far from Cali. Maybe get off your butt and go over there and see what's up for yourself ?  At least you'll have the satisfaction of knowing for yourself what is real and where to start. A personal visit will provide a basis to take some real action. Did he rob you ? Call the cops ...better yet visit with them ( the cops ) and get some advice / action ?  Is this wire fraud ? 

It truly sucks to hear of someone sending money and getting nothing back. I feel badly for that. If it were me, I couldn't sleep at night and would have paid him a visit long ago. 

 

Glad you got your parts. Maybe I have been "off my butt" for a very long time now. Maybe I have already seen "what's up". Maybe there is much you do not know. But thanks for the advice. Again, mess with me...not good. Mess with my wife...you have my full attention. A simple bank transfer tomorrow might ease my mind some.

It is possible there are some extenuating circumstances .... this is pretty much a one man operation and just perhaps his health and/or the move is a problem and is causing delays. 

You should be very careful if you threaten someone, you might turn a problem that can be resolved into a criminal matter with you as the criminal. Not Prudent.

John is a eccentric sort of person but I found him to be honest and dependable... if remote.

He delivered my car exactly as ordered and at the cost agreed too....albeit a couple months later than I expected....the explanation was that his paint shop had moved.  

I love the car, it is much better than I expected , trouble free after 12,000 miles...and I am 100% pleased with it.

All is well.... that ends well....... and I hope that is what happens.....and that is what happened for me....bart

 

 

No one has threatened anyone that I can see. That is pointless and non productive. I will not stoop. And someone's health or marital status is not a business matter. We had a contract that did not include your car. But glad you are happy with your dealings. Perhaps you can start a thread about it.

Jim Kelly posted:

Shoddy business practices have been discussed on this site for at least the 20 years I've been on here.  Everyone has an opinion, and it's always difficult to determine who is serious, who is venting, and who is clearly kidding.

Vigilante justice is only good advice if you wouldn't mind being incarcerated yourself.  There is no quicker way to exchange your status as victim to that of perpetrator.  Want to make a bad situation worse?  Easy, commit assault and battery on the con man, and now he's the victim.

Lawyers always cost money in these situations, as no qualified attorney would take a case like this on a contingency basis, since a lucrative award that could be split with an attorney is unlikely.  The victim may be awarded restitution in a negotiated settlement, but a sizable damages award in very unlikely.  See below.

Since the business is in California, the county District Attorney would be the law enforcement person to contact.   Each state handles civil/criminal complaints differently, and, in California, you don't contact the Attorney General, which is a state office.  You contact the county DA in one of Cailfornia's 58 counties

Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office will have an online website that likely has consumer complaint forms the public can download, complete, and forward to the DA's Office.  Victims photocopy all relevant documents, emails, and any other writings that support their position.  The Consumer Fraud attorneys have the option of filing a civil or criminal complaint, but usually file civilly, since the victim is more concerned with money damages than jail time for the perpetrator.  In addition, the elements of criminal fraud are more difficult to prove than unlawful business practices.

All of us who have been wronged at one time or another may fantasize about revenge, but there really is no easy way to get satisfaction.  Crooks know this and use it to their advantage.  That's how they stay in business for such a long time.  Whatever route you choose, don't put yourself in legal jeopardy just to get revenge.  We ARE the good guys, and we've worked too long and hard to throw it away. 

As always, Jim's legal advice is solid. Everyone involved in these shoddy business deals should sue but no one wants to because of the financial hardship of suing. It costs money to sue and you'll likely only get pennies on the dollar if you win.

However, you may be able to pay an attorney to look over your documents and such and have him/her write a letter on their letterhead to JPS and demand a completion date or a full refund of monies owed. 

Your squawking in his ear may mean nothing, but an official request from an attorney may move him along faster. 

Chris Kleber, KitMan Motors posted:

For those that are interested:     this is public information on website

I just checked the City of San Marcos, CA website  business license division

JPS Classics LLC is listed with  an ACTIVE business license in San Marcos

License BL18-029631  that was issued on 3/12/2018 for 1 year.

Owner is listed as Patrick Crane , Co owner is listed as John Steele

So if Patrick Crane is co-owner why doesn't he come on this forum and enlighten us?

BTW I live 18 minutes from their shop. Have not been there. just going by address posted here.

michel posted:
Chris Kleber, KitMan Motors posted:

For those that are interested:     this is public information on website

I just checked the City of San Marcos, CA website  business license division

JPS Classics LLC is listed with  an ACTIVE business license in San Marcos

License BL18-029631  that was issued on 3/12/2018 for 1 year.

Owner is listed as Patrick Crane , Co owner is listed as John Steele

So if Patrick Crane is co-owner why doesn't he come on this forum and enlighten us?

BTW I live 18 minutes from their shop. Have not been there. just going by address posted here.

Thanks Michel. I didn't know you lived in San Diego since there's no information on your profile. Let us know what's happening.

Robert M posted:
michel posted:
Chris Kleber, KitMan Motors posted:

For those that are interested:     this is public information on website

I just checked the City of San Marcos, CA website  business license division

JPS Classics LLC is listed with  an ACTIVE business license in San Marcos

License BL18-029631  that was issued on 3/12/2018 for 1 year.

Owner is listed as Patrick Crane , Co owner is listed as John Steele

So if Patrick Crane is co-owner why doesn't he come on this forum and enlighten us?

BTW I live 18 minutes from their shop. Have not been there. just going by address posted here.

Thanks Michel. I didn't know you lived in San Diego since there's no information on your profile. Let us know what's happening.

I live in Oceanside (North San Diego).  In will try and swing by there today. 

Robert M posted:
michel posted:
Chris Kleber, KitMan Motors posted:

For those that are interested:     this is public information on website

I just checked the City of San Marcos, CA website  business license division

JPS Classics LLC is listed with  an ACTIVE business license in San Marcos

License BL18-029631  that was issued on 3/12/2018 for 1 year.

Owner is listed as Patrick Crane , Co owner is listed as John Steele

So if Patrick Crane is co-owner why doesn't he come on this forum and enlighten us?

BTW I live 18 minutes from their shop. Have not been there. just going by address posted here.

Thanks Michel. I didn't know you lived in San Diego since there's no information on your profile. Let us know what's happening.

Robert, thanks for reminding me, just updated my profile.

This will be a rare comment from me (you all know that I have never been a big fan of John Steele, going back to when Curt Scott shined the light of exposure on him in the 1990's) but I believe there is a legitimate health issue at work here. 

Last year, at Carlisle, I rode around with Tom Marantz in his JPS-built 356 coupe all weekend and Tom related to me that half-way through his build, John had one or more serious heart attacks which laid him up for quite a spell.  That alone would be a major setback for a 1 or 2 person shop.  

As it turns out, Tom is a recently retired Cardiac Specialist who understood completely the extent of John's heart problems and gave him a lot of slack in completing the build (as well as coaching him through some of the rougher patches, I guess).  Coming back from something like that can be a long hard road, even for a person much younger than me or John - Hell, I've been stricken by illnesses less severe than a heart attack and sometimes it took me a long time to get back to a new "normal".  I honestly do not know what's going on out there, but I suspect that this time John saw it as time to begin to bow out and brought in someone to sell the business to while he stayed involved as a "consultant" or something.  Just guessing, but that's what I might do.

Anyway, the ultimate answer is to get someone over to the new place in San Marcos and get introduced to Patrick Crane and just chat about what's going on from his perspective, then swing it around to expectations of what's happening with any cars in queue, just to help reset expectations.  Lastly, I would invite Patrick to have a presence on here, not to beat him up, but to get him included in the conversations - much like as has happened with Greg Leach and Carey Hines and a few others.

Anybody want to volunteer to be a "Long Range Recon Guy"??

Man (men), I am so grateful. You don't know. Grateful for decent people. The help and advice has been great. I assure you I could see the handwriting a long time ago and have documented well and, with help, made sure I covered a lot of bases. And we have not been idle by any means. What is "missing" here has always been stability. We asked John to deliver a car per the contract or refund. It's a simple matter and he simply did not do either. I always tried to work with him, not delay his production, and staying focused on the matter at hand. I got excuses and rants about his accomplishments. It is and was just weird. People want things to change. People ignore the facts because of a shiny new dream. Some things will not change and must end.

So I ask the simple question. Why doesn't a man tell a client(s) he is moving his shop...taking on a partner...and establishing an LLC? And like it was suggested, why isn't this partner clearing matters up? I don't envy him. I've been on top of the activities for some time. We have been watching maybe even from a prime location. I just can't elaborate now.

Times like these requires one to stay focused. Not to be swayed by distraction tactics regarding personal life, a new website, tales of success stories, etc. True or not, it's more of the same. This is a business transaction. And if a business, regardless of the name or location changes conducts itself consistently one way, you just might be able to predict something from that. Like the song says, "I can see clearly now." I am prepared to lose my money and expenses but not without seeing the matter to an end. Damages often far exceed contracts. I am not prepared to go quietly. Again, all I asked from John was a car right then or money right then. His choice was simple.

Gordon Nichols posted:

This will be a rare comment from me (you all know that I have never been a big fan of John Steele, going back to when Curt Scott shined the light of exposure on him in the 1990's) but I believe there is a legitimate health issue at work here. 

Last year, at Carlisle, I rode around with Tom Marantz in his JPS-built 356 coupe all weekend and Tom related to me that half-way through his build, John had one or more serious heart attacks which laid him up for quite a spell.  That alone would be a major setback for a 1 or 2 person shop.  

As it turns out, Tom is a recently retired Cardiac Specialist who understood completely the extent of John's heart problems and gave him a lot of slack in completing the build (as well as coaching him through some of the rougher patches, I guess).  Coming back from something like that can be a long hard road, even for a person much younger than me or John - Hell, I've been stricken by illnesses less severe than a heart attack and sometimes it took me a long time to get back to a new "normal".  I honestly do not know what's going on out there, but I suspect that this time John saw it as time to begin to bow out and brought in someone to sell the business to while he stayed involved as a "consultant" or something.  Just guessing, but that's what I might do.

Anyway, the ultimate answer is to get someone over to the new place in San Marcos and get introduced to Patrick Crane and just chat about what's going on from his perspective, then swing it around to expectations of what's happening with any cars in queue, just to help reset expectations.  Lastly, I would invite Patrick to have a presence on here, not to beat him up, but to get him included in the conversations - much like as has happened with Greg Leach and Carey Hines and a few others.

Anybody want to volunteer to be a "Long Range Recon Guy"??

Gordon. Your rare reply (ha) is appreciated. Consider this.

I never mentioned but I had three surgeries last year during the time of my dealings with John. One for cardiovascular and most serious. Prior to going in, I asked John to see this through and take care of my wife even though we already knew the score. Thankfully John and I survived. So ? 

How much of this can be the cause of illnesses and not just a symptom?

I have always felt that if a man focusses on his work, things will take care of themselves. If that means e has to eat better, you do it cause the work demands it. If there is a demand for the service, his work will yield good results and he will be successful. If not, the business is not wanted enough and go try something else. Dodging preverbal bullets is not a profession although many spend most of their time and energy doing that instead of the real work.

Sorry, but my compassion is best spent trying to take care of my deserving wife and some of our retirement money. I am focused on my work at hand and will not be distracted.

Ndpendant posted:

I found this, maybe an alternative approach.  Forclose on his business if it exists.  Get the court order and perhaps open his eyes and wallet to get your deal resolved. Interesting tactic I have to admit.  Video included below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ctLEGrOmf4

This is done through the small claims process if you want to handle it yourself but the award limit is $10,000. Or it's done through the civil process. In small claims you sue the debtor in court and after you win the judgement against them you serve them the judgement and request payment. If they fail to pay you can seize a portion of their paycheck, if they are employed by someone, or you can, if after the debtor refuses to pay, go seize their assets to satisfy the debt. Not sure if it is the same process in the civil court system.

The problem however, may be because JPS has started under a new business name the old business may have filed bankruptcy and those assets may not be available anymore.

I'm not an attorney so do your own research.

I may be old school, but with regard to John Steel, regardless of health or other personal issues "A man is only as good as his word". PERIOD!

Kirk & Mary of Vintage Speedster BOTH went through MAJOR health issues requiring very invasive surgery and extended recovery. Kirk still managed to take care of business and customer service issues.

I'm just saying... 

I sure hope that @4Banger and @MaxMartens get this resolved and get the cars they paid for.

@Chris Kleber, KitMan Motors Hey Doc, appreciate your input. Here's wishing you continued success in your endeavors. 

Does Patrick Crane know about the SOC site?

michel posted:
Chris Kleber, KitMan Motors posted:

For those that are interested:     this is public information on website

I just checked the City of San Marcos, CA website  business license division

JPS Classics LLC is listed with  an ACTIVE business license in San Marcos

License BL18-029631  that was issued on 3/12/2018 for 1 year.

Owner is listed as Patrick Crane , Co owner is listed as John Steele

So if Patrick Crane is co-owner why doesn't he come on this forum and enlighten us?

BTW I live 18 minutes from their shop. Have not been there. just going by address posted here.

Then...

in 2004 I ran a Auto Shop program for At Risk Youth we bought 3 turn keys. 2 were delivered on time the 3rd was 6 weeks late even though the CEO s as t a week in a motel near Steels Facility. All 3 cars needed work to be made road safe. Over the years I endured insults from John regarding my speedster hobby. I was able to get him to ship missing parts to 3 different JPS customers because I wouldn't quit . His product did get better over recent years bur his business attitude remained poor at best. I hope I am wrong but I feel he has pulled a business  ploy.....Hope I  am wrong

You are likely correct yet hopefully some may have been prepared all along. Like poorly built businesses and cars, how good is a ploy? Some things are much bigger than they appear. Some things you just can't outrun or out maneuver. Some things are better handled now than later. Just sayin.

 

Sorry if someone's mentioned this, but Patrick Crane writes a blog on the JPS web site.

It's here.

While he hasn't put up many posts yet, the most recent was about two weeks ago, so there's some public evidence that he's at least drawing breath. The blog accepts public comments, so that's one place you could post something that he's likely to read.

Elsewhere on the site, they say new operations at the San Marcos location won't be starting until April.

I don't want to step into the whole John Steele thing a) because I have no history with him and b) because I think more than enough has already been said. And said.

But it looks like, going forward, any business with JPS will be handled by Crane, so maybe the best approach for anyone who's already ordered a car is to holster the shooting irons for now and try a calm, business-like approach with the new owner.

I was owed a substantial sum from another vendor and reimbursement dragged on for over a year, but, in the end, patience, perseverance, and some restraint on my part turned out to be the best course. I think torches and pitchforks work only in the movies.

 

 

 

Sacto Mitch posted:

 

Sorry if someone's mentioned this, but Patrick Crane writes a blog on the JPS web site.

It's here.

While he hasn't put up many posts yet, the most recent was about two weeks ago, so there's some public evidence that he's at least drawing breath. The blog accepts public comments, so that's one place you could post something that he's likely to read.

Elsewhere on the site, they say new operations at the San Marcos location won't be starting until April.

I don't want to step into the whole John Steele thing a) because I have no history with him and b) because I think more than enough has already been said. And said.

But it looks like, going forward, any business with JPS will be handled by Crane, so maybe the best approach for anyone who's already ordered a car is to holster the shooting irons for now and try a calm, business-like approach with the new owner.

I was owed a substantial sum from another vendor and reimbursement dragged on for over a year, but, in the end, patience, perseverance, and some restraint on my part turned out to be the best course. I think torches and pitchforks work only in the movies.

 

 

 

Wise words and will keep them in mind. I will remain cooperative and I am restrained and patient. At the same time, any responsible party needs to understand there are limits  and consequences they just may not have considered. As long as everyone understands that,  I was ready to end this 7 months ago or today.

 

WOLFGANG posted:

...Seems this forum would be where his current and future customers would come from?...

 Don't know anything about the guy or how much he knows about 'the community'. And not making excuses for him. If I were starting out as a new builder of these cars, I would certainly establish a presence here.

But, for anyone wondering how to contact him, that might be a place to start.

 

Ok, Troops.  Here is the daily Recon report on JPS  Dateline April 5, 2018  afternoon.

I stopped by the City of San Marcos business license division and verified the active license of JPS Classics LLC.  the address listed in the city records is in fact :

1825 Diamond St. Suite 103, San Marcos

I drove by the suite in a light industrial complex.  No signs on the doors, No suite numbers on the doors,  the larger suite next door is for rent.   JPS has the back suite that I estimate to be no larger than 2000 sq. ft.

I went to the leasing Agent's office and spoke to  Ken Dubs Sr. ( Dubs and Co. commercial Real Estate agents 1850 Diamond St #103, San MArcos (760)591-4100).

He said that Richard Crane was at the suite yesterday and he may have gone out for lunch. ( this was about 1:00PM) .  He said that he had Richard Crane's cell phone number and he could give him a call if I wanted.  Not wanting to "tip my hand", I told him that I wanted to show Richard something related to kit cars. I was just going to run a quick errand and then I would stop back by and see if I could catch him.  I then left the area and headed home.

My advice would be to contact Mr. Dubs and see if he would relay a message to Richard Crane and John Steele with the request that they contact you.  It never hurts to alert a landlord that there is "something not right" with a tenant and see if they can help you out.  Once you can establish contact with Crane/ Steele......... Take it from there.

Having personally gone a number of rounds with shady characters the likes of the former owners of Thunder Ranch, Carrera Coachwerks, ..........   I feel for you, 4 Banger........ it really sucks and I am constantly amazed at the under handed ways of some of these shysters. They think nothing of lying straight to your face ( since they have done that to everyone else for so long).    I am in deep with the $6 figures of "learning tuition" partly by my own fault and stubbornness not to cut my losses and run. But that is not me.  I have found some wonderfully talented and honest subcontractors that I use and am grateful for.   There are still some bad dogs out there.   Caveat Emptor  ( Buyer Beware)

Persevere,

Dr. Chris

Today at 2;30 pm I went to the JPS building in San Marcos. The building was shut tight. I peeked through the smoked office front glass and saw a desk with a phone some papers and a big can of Bondo on it, I looked through the next window which showed a small room like a waiting room with a coffee table some chairs and some books on table which had some pics of early 356 Porsches on them. I could see through the office part of it and through a partially open door looking into the shop area a huge JPS Motorsport shield sign mounted on wall. I went around to their outside storage area which was locked and there was just an old Mercedes . I will try to upload pics I took but they will just confirm what I saw as far as the exterior. it looks like the first attempt of a move to me on this end. Sorry I couldn't report a better situation. I'm a general contractor in this area and do work on Commercial buildings near by. I will swing by as I can and report any new action. 

Good recon gentlemen. Now we need to recon at the old address. Cleared out, locked up?

There was a lot of product at the old location. Not things that could be hidden away easily. A lot of tubs and pans and cars. Its a gated industrial neighborhood in which the gates are open for other businesses. Easy to drive through (in a semi rough business district).

New management should come through and speak up with intentions.

I will be in socal in about a week to pursue my options. I will not burn bridges with anybody. If that happens, others will do it on their own.

 

My guess is that ears & eyes are in the room to spectate the scuttlebutt.

My wife and I are amazed !!!! Thank you just doesn't cut it.

I immediately became a supporting member of this forum. I am now an official tub-head (without a tub or money...ha).

I am preparing two solutions for Mr. Crane and Mr. Steele. I can not urge them enough to consider them seriously. Stay tuned. Oh...and glad to be associated with people like you.

MaxMartens posted:

Sacto, that JPS blog only accepts fb logged in replies unfortunately.

FB unfortunately does not guarantee that your comment will be seen by anyone but YOU.   The other party can block you, remove your comment and there is no DISLIKE button.  

I am not on FB for that reason... Ebay at least allows you to make a true comment and then gives the seller the chance to explain or fix it... 

4Banger, you should have been around when Carrera Coachworks (see Dr. Chris reference) was around and taking advantage. That too was a full court press by the guys on this site. Point is, this is a small hobby and shysters get weeded out pretty quickly. 

One of our strengths is that we try and take care of each other and those who come with questions, issues or suspicions. 

The challenge is not to draw conclusions without the facts. Most of the time we get to the truth.

I hope this gets worked out to your satisfaction and that the new active management at JPS squares away the company.

I also hope that John Steele regains his health.

4Banger posted:

Wise words and will keep them in mind. I will remain cooperative and I am restrained and patient. At the same time, any responsible party needs to understand there are limits  and consequences they just may not have considered. As long as everyone understands that,  I was ready to end this 7 months ago or today.

It looks like you had not ordered anything on 7/9/1712:59 PM.

https://www.speedsterowners.co...7#563276256719572807

4Banger, did you change your mind before ordering?

4Banger, do you have a name?

What was your signed contract expected, delivery date?

Just wondering, what the timeline really is/was.

As an effort to settle my business matter with JPS, John Steele, Patrick Crane, etc, and to show my good intentions I have some ideas to present here. This new co-owner is interested in establishing a clean slate and offering a quality service to his future clients. What better way to do this than to show real integrity and commitment at this time?  I think this is an excellent opportunity for him. Here are my options.

1.Just refund the remainder of our payments by EOD Monday, 04/09/18. You can get the details but it is a little less than $21k right now. Boom...done. Business off to a good start and everyone can at least recommend you for your integrity. Much better advertising than some old pics of JPS builds at the old address from years ago.

2.You say you have 4 cars ready for the customer to choose an engine and start their summer fun. I want to start having summer fun. Give me one. We can work out the small details like which color, what wheels, non-salvage title, legit engine, etc.. Nothing elaborate... just standard service issue things I promise. And I'll come over there with $10k and verify it is what we agreed and drive away into all that summer fun.

How about it? The ball is in your court JPS Motorsports, JPS Classics, P. Crane,  J. Steele,  or whoever has the keys.

Roy Simpson, FF Plastic Porsche posted:
4Banger posted:

Wise words and will keep them in mind. I will remain cooperative and I am restrained and patient. At the same time, any responsible party needs to understand there are limits  and consequences they just may not have considered. As long as everyone understands that,  I was ready to end this 7 months ago or today.

It looks like you had not ordered anything on 7/9/1712:59 PM.

https://www.speedsterowners.co...7#563276256719572807

4Banger, did you change your mind before ordering?

4Banger, do you have a name?

What was your signed contract expected, delivery date?

Just wondering, what the timeline really is/was.

Contract dated April, 2017. Contract due date given to us no later than 1st week September, 2017 for a completed car, registered and delivered to our door. We questioned this fully at the beginning and were assured there was no prob. We allowed extra time past due date due to nature of project. Finally requested refund and set deadline for EOY 2017. I question why the scrutiny? That post you cite doesn't say I hadn't ordered anything. In fact it shows I already knew there were problems...that is why I said "I think I ordered..." And yes, I actually have two names. One at the start and one at the end. Ha.

MaxMartens posted:

JPS FB shows activity 4-1 & yesterday claiming attendance at La Jolla Concourse. Somebody attend!

And yes any of those available cars should be ours, NOT to new clients.

I will keep my positivity and look to see progress on the JPS business front.

$70.00 per ticket. WE are going to Good Guys in Del Mar instead. 

 

The back channels are busy with activity gentlemen. The new person coming in has a wonderful opportunity should he take advantage of it. With the resume he carries, success could happen. Or maybe its a smokescreen.

If people get burned word of mouth will travel fast.

A smart person would take care of unfinished projects if they wanted to succeed. Even if they shunned off unfinished builds an won in a courtroom, they might be spending too much time there. Would anyone want that?

Continued threatening talk is not wise. We are aware of the issue. Due diligence is a good thing.

Your PM's 4banger, should not be so ultimatum to me. Lets have communication on a friendlier basis. There is a common cause.

Back channels here can be a good thing which has helped me currently, and in the months past. Thank you gentlemen.

JPS claims four cars to be delivered in late May. One has my description. I will cling to that and nose around.

Max, there is a nude beach at La Jolla to consider....but as usual .....nothing but a bunch of old fat guys.....not that there is anything wrong with that... 

I am under the impression that Beverly Hills in San Diego has a number of JPS cars, they might have the scoop.... 

 

bart posted:

Max, there is a nude beach at La Jolla to consider....but as usual .....nothing but a bunch of old fat guys.....not that there is anything wrong with that... 

I am under the impression that Beverly Hills in San Diego has a number of JPS cars, they might have the scoop.... 

 

Blacks Beach. Dr. Chris and I can go check that out if needed.

michel posted:
MaxMartens posted:

JPS FB shows activity 4-1 & yesterday claiming attendance at La Jolla Concourse. Somebody attend!

And yes any of those available cars should be ours, NOT to new clients.

I will keep my positivity and look to see progress on the JPS business front.

$70.00 per ticket. WE are going to Good Guys in Del Mar instead. 

 

$70 a ticket for a concourse? That'll keep out the riffraff (starting with me!)

While my dealings with John were no where near those of 4Banger, dealing with John was very frustrating to say the least. Never answered my emails, texts, or phone calls. Unfortunately  it got so bad we sold the car (it was my wife's, and she loved it, but was not worth the frustration).

Good luck to you both.

I never put a time ultimatum on John with my build. I understand his process, if you want to call it that. He holds true to his style. It goes as Chuck says. I have given John free reign. Time is on my side (even if its delayed time).

I am keeping with the thought of good intention with John and the new person coming in. I will keep the thought that things could get better!

Maybe, and just maybe, if John is not feeling so well, could he have a sense of responsibility to pass his torch to a fresh operator??? That would be a good scenario.

I am going the glass half full route.

 

 

 

 

All the hard luck stories and excuses. My rose-colored glasses came off a long time ago.  I am not swayed by hard luck stories and propaganda pictures anymore.

There's a big move going on right now. Assets are being shuffled. Things are hiding in storage. Businesses have closed. New ones opened with "no connection" with the old. Things are moving from one pocket to another while being removed from a third. A fresher feeding ground opens for those who do not know. Nawh. Can't be. Not here.

All I can say is "watch". You can tell me how wrong I am later. I'll be glad to be wrong.

Karma is king. Some things have to just die off before we can finally get rid of them. But there will be more on the way and the newbies will forget. They are only successful because "one is born everyday" and "none or so blind as those who will not see."

I decided my "how to not get ripped" essay could be a waste of time. Those here who would use it already know what I would say. The others wouldn't believe it until they paid their own "tuition". 

 

FYI. Look on JPS Motorsports website. Kinda confused about all these company names and what is actually active and inactive on public records. Sorry to get sidetracked. I am sure they will clear that up.

Go to About Us...Behind the Scenes...See Our Build Process. In the center of the picture you will see the rear end of a coupe. Look closely. It almost appears to be touched up and teardrops have been swapped with bee hives. Man, isn't that nice? Sure looks unique. I bet it was a special color recipe from an old left over German paint from WWII. I really like it. Looks very much like a sample I have here. Even the polished Vintage wheels were what I was going to use. Nice.

I was going to do some of those things with a coupe once. You see, I was having it built by someone for my very sweet wife as a once-in-a-lifetime birthday present. It didn't work out. I wonder where it is now? Atlanta? California? Storage? Who knows. Sure is/was nice. I wish I could afford one of them now. You know how it goes. Money out here and there on services and personnel. Maybe I can find the new owner one day and look it over first hand.

Rusty S posted:

I hate these kind of threads. It wasn't so long ago everyone was lynching Greg at VMC. Nobody knows what is going on in John's life. He may very well be doing his level best.

You may be right, Rusty, but then you may not be. Since money is involved and John hasn't been exactly easy to get hold of it leaves the door wide open for speculation. If you were part way through building a car with the guy (and had given him a sizable chunk of cash), under these circumstances wouldn't you be wondering what the hell is going on?

I will simply say that the contracts are an area that most of us may not have realized need more work and must have many more conditions and caveats to protect the buyer.  

Otherwise, there may be no schedule for finishing, no expectations of fit, finish even source of parts whether used or new or even refurb. 

You, we, are putting a lot of trust in what the usual build is or isn't

Also, what happens if after the delivery date you start chasing an issue who's cost is it and for how long?  What if the vehicle develops something that you chase and after 2 years you realize was a major error was a logic error by the builder which caused you to chase it for 2 years at your cost. 

These are all potential situations that a custom build can create. 

Did I mention, Shipping of the vehicle and the list goes on. 

Sometimes I think we as a group should develop a basic contract to detail what a build contract should have after all having a full discussion of all points gives you the best possibility to have a good build and a good working relationship. 

 

4Banger posted:

There's a big move going on right now. Assets are being shuffled. Things are hiding in storage. Businesses have closed. New ones opened with "no connection" with the old. Things are moving from one pocket to another while being removed from a third.

 

Karma is king, for sure.

Banger, you have any evidence of the above quote? I mean beyond the location move and restructure as seen online? If it is happening, it should be shared with all as it has relevance. From what I have seen online the new business does not state its ending the connection with the past.

HAS THE N. HOLLYWOOD LOCATION BEEN EMPTIED? Has Mr Crane said to you there is 'no connection'? I hate to see slander if the move and restructure takes time.

I would change your tactics and quit rubbing salt in the wound. We now know the story. Lets hear how this plays out, when it plays out.

 

**** If someone wants to visit the La Jolla Concourse, take some pictures of evidence JPS is in attendance, maybe talk to a live person, I WILL REIMBURSE YOU VIA paypal. $70 that is. No pics of attendance no reimbursement. Take a pic of your ticket (or a receipt of).

Fair enough? Any takers?

 

IaM-Ray posted:

I will simply say that the contracts are an area that most of us may not have realized need more work and must have many more conditions and caveats to protect the buyer.  

Otherwise, there may be no schedule for finishing, no expectations of fit, finish even source of parts whether used or new or even refurb. 

You, we, are putting a lot of trust in what the usual build is or isn't

Also, what happens if after the delivery date you start chasing an issue who's cost is it and for how long?  What if the vehicle develops something that you chase and after 2 years you realize was a major error was a logic error by the builder which caused you to chase it for 2 years at your cost. 

These are all potential situations that a custom build can create. 

Did I mention, Shipping of the vehicle and the list goes on. 

Sometimes I think we as a group should develop a basic contract to detail what a build contract should have after all having a full discussion of all points gives you the best possibility to have a good build and a good working relationship. 

 

IaM-Ray. Man, I really like your thoughts. Imagine if SOC came up with a contract or list of what to include. Such as holding money in escrow. Personally I'd never buy anything again that wasn't complete and ready to go right then. I'd rather buy Seduction or Vintage parts and build it myself. What's the REAL registration Scooby and the legal implications of VIN's and component parts? No more leaving up to the sucker to deal with it. And what about real intermediate completion deadlines? No waiting until the end to call out the dogs. Most real contractors are bonded and insured. What about proof of insurance and certain grades/certification of mechanics? They're out there. Third party objective inspections. The list goes on. No contract can ever be perfect. But we can sure do a hell of a lot more to make a difference for people like us.

In the end, we set the bar. If we want to talk about "level best", let's focus on both words. Let's make this forum about being on the level and doing the best we can. In an ocean, there will always be bottom feeders. They have a function. They eat up the trash. If we want the industry to survive, get better, and put the "thump" back into a solid made car door, we got to quit talking BS and work on the solution. So what is SOC about? We can have fun. Fun is fun. We can make a difference too.

I thank you for your comments. I think they are on target. I want to "pull the weeds"... both past and future.

 

Max. Ease up. I well understand your concerns. You have read far too much into my statements. I referenced no particular business. If you are concerned about a particular business, do research. There are current public records available. If you want to know the difference between a sole-proprietorship and a corporation and what happens to assets, do research. I do not support slander. It is not productive. Stay healthy. Stay focused on your plight. I will refrain.

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