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I guess it depends how you view history and building.  "Beck" has been around for "over 20 years". Beck early on sold the Brazillian Chamonix under Chuck Beck. The Chamonix was on a VW pan until 1995 --- according to UK internet site below. So, it wasn't until 1995 that they got tube chassis. (Not sure if those early ones made it to US - never saw one but I did see a BECK SE Speedster with the water-cooled VW engine at Carlisle years ago). Chuck Beck was Beck Development in Calif originally - it wasn't til later that Beck SE came about under Kevin Hines in Indiana and the tubular chassis was developed.  "We" refer to both as Beck when perhaps they are evolutions?

Speedsters.com - Directory of 356 Speedster replica suppliers

Their original 356 Speedster replica was based on the Beetle chassis and mechanics but since 1995 Chamonix have evolved to a more advanced design with their own tubular chassis and using water-cooled VW Golf engines instead of the original air-cooled flat-4.

Good info on Beck Development and Beck Special Edition at: Speedsters.com - Directory of 356 Speedster replica suppliers

Years ago Beck said they brought the fiberglass body production back to the US so they could better control quality.  Carey also commissioned the current versions of the 356 replica gauges (with GPS Speedo) due to quality of the original Brazilian gauges and the really bad quality of the Chinese ones. Carey also has noted the lack of quality in the new aluminum bumper "over-riders" - citing that many get rejected for air holes in the aluminum castings that can't be buffed out.

I have always been a fan of Edward Deming - who in the '60s introduced "continuous process improvement" - i.e. making a ball bearing rounder.  He turned around the Japanese auto industry so that today cars last 200k and not 50k miles.  Beck must have a copy on their shelf as they do keep improving the product.  Think Lane pointed out the new "under carriages?" used to hold the engines in and new suspension components.

PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong - just insight I gleaned from internet (and we know how accurate that is!)

Not sure where Brazilian Chamonix is now - seems to have faded around 2012 and then come back as ChamonixNG (Next Generation).  Interesting to note that they were offspring from Brazilian Puma and the Envemo.  Chuck Beck seemed to have had his technical expertise involved too.

Edward Deming quote -

No one knows the cost of a defective product - don't tell me you do. You know the cost of replacing it, but not the cost of a dissatisfied customer.

W. Edwards Deming

Last edited by WOLFGANG

@joe18d @WOLFGANG

No Beck was ever built on a belly pan.   The early ENVEMOs were, and those were tied to both my father and Chuck but at the time had nothing to do with Chamonix (actually pre-dates Chamonix).  Likewise the PUMA was on a belly pan, and both my father and Chuck did some work for PUMA (mostly my father) but that also pre-dates Chamonix.  It is likely that the linked information contains these errant statements due to some simple confusion, which I see all the time, especially since all of these companies and products stem from 2 generations of just 3 families.

From a quick scan through that linked site: unfortunately it is littered with errors and misinformation.  Its neat that someone is trying to catalog all of the companies, but its just plain wrong (and I only looked at 5-6 companies that I know the history personally).

Special Edition actually came on MUCH earlier also.  It was a side company for special projects, like the Special Edition SHOgun and the Special Edition RAMside truck bed conversions.  These were products of Ford's Rick Titus, Chuck Beck and my father, Kevin.  

The most common misconception that I always see is the history of Chamonix: Chamonix did not exist as a car factory before my father and Chuck turned it into one.  Since we stopped producing in Brazil there have been several attempted "restarts" of the Chamonix brand and the old molds.  Chamonix NG was the first, a few others failed and Athios is the latest.  I do believe that Newton, who headed up the original Chamonix plant, is involved in the restart of Athens, while some of the other attempts were outside individuals renting the old molds.

Badges:    The oval prancing horse is Chuck's own coach builder badge for Beck Development.  It was also the logo used in early 550 advertising and Chuck uses it (very limited) still today.  The Chamonix and Beck crests were designed during the era of our Brazil factory and @Lane Anderson is correct in the origin of the southern cross.  It was adopted as the worldwide Beck logo in the early 1990s and has been ever since, and yes I own the name(s) and logo(s).  The block looking Chamonix NG logo was made by one of the companies renting the molds, probably around 2011/2012, and was a tribute to the old logo since they could not actually use that logo

The history is interesting, especially as it relates to Chuck, Kevin, and the Brazilian forays. I've always wondered about the "Special Edition" name - now I know.

I think the international component is what makes the entire thing a bit exotic to the rest of us schlubs. The history of most small businesses would be pretty boring in comparison. At least mine is.

Intermeccanica started in Italy, moved to LA in the '70s and Vancouver in the '80s. Beck/Special Edition, etc. spanned 2 countries and 2 planets (Kalifornia and earth), eventually landing in "BFE" Indiana. It's a kind of "man bites dog" story that I think is really interesting. I love that it's a tale of a company that farmed production to a second-world place for economic reasons, but ended up moving all production back to the heartland of 'murica, with small-town craftsman producing world-class bespoke automobiles. We're constantly told that sort of thing is not possible in 2022.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

i like it that Chuck Beck is a crusty chain smoking octogenarian with more fresh ideas than the average mid-sized company, and that he's still welding and fabricating long after most guys his age have toddled off the Shady Acres Home.

I like it that Carey is buying up blocks of Buttscratch, Nowhere to expand his operation. I love that he's doubled and redoubled the size of his operation, and he still can't keep up.

I love this hobby.

Last edited by Stan Galat

Working summers when I was in college I worked for Ralston Purina Company. Smoking was forbidden because it could cause explosions.  So, a lot of people chewed. Occasionally they would offer me some.  It would upset my mother to see me walk out after work chewing.

Sometimes people would cheat and smoke anyway.  One time I was in a little restroom off a stair landing.  I was sitting on the toilet having a cigarette.  I thought I heard someone coming and went to drop the cigarette between my legs into the toilet. Unfortunately, I burned myself.

I still remember the smell of my Dad's pipes in their little round rack on the mantle.  He kept them years after he quite smoking.

Mine too!

True story:

Hanging out on the beach in Jamaica with my ex-wife and a couple friends. They are trying to roll a joint, very unsuccessfully. I pick up a paper and drop some buds in and roll a perfectly round and tight joint. Watching three jaws drop simultaneously? Priceless!

I don't smoke ANYTHING as most of you know. Beer and spirits is another story though.

So how do I know how to roll? I used to watch my great-grandfather roll cigarettes when I was like 4 or something. He had a great big tin of tobacco and chainsmoked. I had no idea that memory stuck with me. It simply popped into my mind while drunk in Jamaica, watching them struggle! LOL!

I rolled a lot that week.

Last edited by DannyP

I have many fond memories of both my Father and Grandfather smoking pipes. I too loved the smell of the tobacco. Both also chewed tobacco, a nasty habit ! My Dads choice was Copenhagen in the tin, but my Gramps chewed plug tobacco. He would sometimes dry his chewed plug on the window sill when he was a little short on money and the smoke it in his pipe. Got his money's worth from his chew. Anyway, I ended with both of their pipe collections. My Grandfather was a fur trader for the Hudsons Bay Co. and spoke seven languages. He would trade pipes with other traders and ended up with pipes from all over the world. My Dad loved classic pipes like Dunhills and later the freeform pipes from Italy and Denmark. I don't smoke but I have 60 or so pipes that I inherited  and a few of my own that I will display someday. I love all the styles and woodwork. As close as I get to a pipe in my mouth is a plastic wire tie or toothpick that I manage to keep there most of the day while working on a car or projects.

@WOLFGANG posted:

Saw a You-Tube of Chuck driving a 604 around teh Talladega track for his 82nd Birthday - that was 2019 so he must be about 85 now!

https://www.bing.com/videos/se...0C28B0&FORM=VIRE

Tradition is to rent little Tally every year for Chuck's birthday.  I didn't make it out in time for the track that year but did the previous and subsequent years.  The cream coupe at the end of the video is mine.  Yes, Chuck is 85 this March, and someone already had the track rented for "test and tune" but they are letting us come out and play with them.  I sold Chuck's mule 904 to a guy in the Czech Republic, but he has his  hopped up Lister he'll be piloting this year (the white V8 car, not the green V12 car).

@Stan Galat thanks.  It's a strange little hobby/career, but I wouldn't change it for the world...

Et al.  My father has threatened to write a book as he moves further into retirement.  I'd like to see it happen to.  For those of you who know Chuck in person, he starts every story with "It was funny"...  I expect to see that tired into the book title somehow.  :-)

My dad smoked a pipe for many many years. He likely started in the mid-fifties and continued until the mid-eighties. He also smoked cigarettes as did my mom. They both quit smoking altogether some time in the 80's. Lung cancer eventually took her life in 2007 but I'm sure quitting helped prolong her life. Both of their parents smoked cigarettes which is where they probably picked up the habit. I couldn't stand the smell of the cigarettes and even as a small child and I would let them know I didn't like it. They did their best not to smoke too much around us which was nice.

My dad's pipe was another matter. I liked the aroma that drifted from the pipe and you could always tell when he was in the house. Although, once, as a small child, I picked up the empty pipe from the ashtray, put it in my mouth, and drew back on the stem with a deep inhale. I just about puked right there on the spot. Apparently drawing on an empty pipe was nothing like smoking a pipe filled with good flavored tobacco. My dad smoked Borkum Riff Bourbon Whiskey and Borkum Riff Black Cavendish. Based on some pipes I looked at online I'd say he had Carey brand pipes and also some Dr. Grabow Pipes, They Need No Breaking In. He bought the tobacco in the tins and we took the empty tins to store our treasures in. This was when the lid for the tin was metal. He also smoked Amphora Extra Mild Cavendish.

There are numerous family photos from when we were all growing up. All of us kids would be in the family room, usually in our underwear that we wore as pajamas. The black and white would be on but no one was watching because we were all reading one book or another and my dad would be in his chair reading the daily paper. Interesting side-note is that no one in my family took up smoking. My brother has dabbled with a cigar once or twice a yer but no one smoked cigarettes and no one took up the pipe. For me it was probably that drag on his empty pipe that did it for me.

Both my mother and father smoked in the house as that was the norm but at times it looked like it would be best to low crawl to my room. Back then men still wore cuffed trousers and on occasion would use the cuff for an ashtray so on one particular Saturday my Dad's friend Steve visited and they are all were puffing away in the living room when Dad pipes up and say's "Hey Steve you're pants are on fire"   ...........Me, I never smoked.

Last edited by Alan Merklin

I grew up with the same experience. Both parents chain smoked in the house and in their cars. Wintertime was especially terrible having both parents smoking with all the windows rolled up. I remember my two brothers and myself all crying and complaining about the smoke as we coughed and suffered with burning eyes, getting the response to sit down and shut up. I never smoked because of my hate of cigarettes. I walked around every day of my life until I moved out smelling like a dirty ashtray from all the concentrated smoke and never realized it until I started dating a girl whose family were nonsmokers. Nicotine addiction no doubt caused my parents to ignore the facts as they came to light in the mid 70's but they remained in denial of the danger they exposed their self's and children too every day.  When my parents started smoking it was the norm in society. I still have to think common sense would tell you it wasn't a healthy thing to do, but this was the excuse they used. My mother was the heavier smoker and passed from cancer 6 years ago at 78. My dad still smokes every day and night and is 85 now and has been a smoker for 73 years. Go figure. He has been a perfect customer to the tobacco industry. I used to ask smokers I knew if they were sorry they started smoking, each and every one of them said they were. Addiction is a bitch. Sorry for the long post, Alan's post brought up some strong emotions.

Last edited by Jimmy V.

I have a similar story, Jimmy.  As a small child in the 50's and 60's my parents and most of their friends smoked.  When the first Surgeon General's report came out about the negative affects my Dad quit cold turkey and never smoked again.  Still, he had smoked for decades and the damage was done.  He was taken by emphysema at 81 in 1987.  I had a half brother who also passed from emphysema in his 70s, only a few years after Dad died.  My Mom continued to smoke even when Dad was on oxygen (!) as she just couldn't break the addiction.  I remember all of the paintings (Dad's Mom was an artist) and the TV screen in the house being covered with a tarry film that was nasty to remove on the TV and impossible on the paintings.  Only a few of the latter were salvageable.  I would visit her weekly and when I got home I would have to hang my clothes in the garage or put them in the dryer to get rid of the smell.  She eventually quit when she became bed ridden from rheumatoid arthritis that was exacerbated by her smoking.  She passed from COPD at 80 in 2002.  Given how poorly they took care of themselves and the fact that they both made it to 80 or more gives me hope that I will last a bit longer.

My brother smoked for years but I was never attracted to the habit.  Blegh!

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