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This is an email reportedly sent out to a customer yesterday.

"Good morning,

First apologize for the content of this email as it is going to be upsetting. But I want to paint you a clear picture exactly what’s going on. Over the last 12 months it has become increasingly difficult to complete vehicles due to inflation, parts, shortages, and numerous challenges with vendors.

Since February I have invested nearly $250,000 of my own money, which constitutes everything that I have. In an attempt to assist the business through this challenging period. Unfortunately, things have not gotten any better over the ensuing months and have led me to the point of now longer being able to maintain the business.

I have exhausted every option, including loans in an attempt to continue operations. At this point, I have no money or assets left and have no choice but to close the business and file bankruptcy both corporately and personally. I have taken almost no income from the business over the last 12 months and when taking into account, my personal investment has made no money from Vintage Speedsters and more than three years.

Where it stands right now the assets of the business need to be liquidated to facilitate any payback to creditors and clients were possible. This is going to be a process that takes some time I will provide you information as it becomes available.

This is not a decision taken lightly understanding the impact on everyone involved. While I understand that certain attorneys will be involved in this process for the sake of transparency, I want to be very clear that I personally have no assets left that haven’t been sold or used to facilitate the survival of the business.

I am devastated by this development, both emotionally and financially. I have been advised that Communication via email is preferred going forward to insure a record of anything communications.


Mike M's question is a good one, how many deposits, indeed? Yes I can attest this is so. I put down my deposit 3 years ago, we put the project on hold at the height of covid, then I told Matt to go ahead and build 1+ year ago. All I've heard since are inventive excuses. Being here in Scottsdale I've been able to drop by...a few weeks ago they were still in operation but in the last week Sam has not been answering the phones, I dropped by today to find a ghost town, save for a couple of unfortunate customer cars now locked in the showroom. And of course Matt has gone silent. Also interesting to note that Matt moved back to Minnesota months ago, which fits with an attempt to insulate himself from liabilities and potential criminal charges. His comments in his email speak to how HE is personally ruined by this bankruptcy (I saw that email this morning)...this has been a slow-moving train wreck and Matt obviously is not surprised by the result (as evidenced by his move). This whole thing speaks to fraud ("3300 cars built to date") and possible Ponzi scheme (new customer deposits to keep the doors open). I know from Sam and Matt they were delivering 5-6 cars/month in better times but that's been squeezed to 1-2/month recently, what with parts shortages (and maybe not able to finance parts purchases). While at the abandoned shop today I ran into another aggrieved party who has filed a police report with the Goodyear Police and also filed w/ the AZ Atty General's office. I am about to do the same and I'd recommend that to all other victims. We should also share our experiences with each other, compare notes and possibly pool resources - we may or may not recover any funds but at a minimum this should be properly dealt with legally. ...and all I ever wanted was my car!

@dlearl476 posted:

Not really. There is still Kitman, Ramon, and @PaulEnvemo

IIRC, you can also order kits from the guys that took over Chamoix after Carey moved production back to the states, through a guy it TX or FL.

But yeah, I’m catching what you’re laying down.

You missed JPS and a couple of other guys in Mexico (Silverstone, et al)

... but I'm gonna' stand by the statement.

To speak to @Sacto Mitch's point - business (especially small business) is by no means a slam-dunk. The temptation to run on borrowed money is too great for a lot of owners to resist.


I'm guessing a lot of entrepreneurial types, with some experience selling cars, look at this from afar and think it will be easy money. Guestimated production costs are 'x', customers are lined up out the door, I'll sell them for 'y', and — mo' money, mo' money, mo' money.

How many now have found the equations aren't quite that simple?

It took me a while to figure out why Kirk was cutting so many corners towards the end of his run and why so many VS owners before me were reporting happier experiences than what I encountered. I realize now I was lucky to get what I did, when I did. To deliver the car I was expecting, Kirk would have had to charge $10K more than he did, and would have priced himself out of his market niche by doing so.

If you're going to dive into this today as a builder, you'd better know what you're about.


Last edited by Sacto Mitch

Thanks for your comment. Since the backlog had grown to 3+ years, I assume there are many more recent victims. In fact Matt had bragged to me a year ago that with build prices increasing over 50% from my contracted price and the backlog growing, he had new customers who would pay a $30K premium to jump the line, and that he could get that for me if I wanted to sell. Just a guess but I'd bet he was playing games w/ that dynamic to stay afloat.

I assume he was ok when the business was predictable but when covid hit with supply chain problems he was screwed and got desperate. But he was a BSer from the beginning.

@Sacto Mitch posted:

If you're going to dive into this today as a builder, you'd better know what you're about..

Respectfully, I'm not sure anybody who's never owned and operated a small business knows what they're about before they step off the cliff. I sure didn't. I thought I did, but how could I? There are way, way too many things you don't learn about yourself until you are freefalling.

I can tell you this - if you're the "mo' money, mo' money, mo' money" guy, you're not going to make it. Period, full stop.

The guys who successfully build and operate their businesses shove all of their chips into the middle of the table on a do-or-die bet many, many times over the course of building the thing. They suffer through a lot of lean times, even as their business is growing and expanding. The guys who just want to pull money out end up like this.

There are no slam-dunks. You get out and do battle every day - not with your competition (there's always more than enough to go around), but with yourself - your own fears, insecurities, personality flaws, and risk tolerance (or intolerance) level.

You may know what you're about after a couple of years, but most likely you'll be surprised with your capacity or inability on a daily basis forever.

Last edited by Stan Galat

When I bought my speedster from VMC I compared with JPS. I already owned a used JPS and loved it. But JPS wanted a huge deposit and much earlier payments than VMC. I can’t remember the details but I remember being way too leery to pay so much up front with a two year wait time. I felt the same about the guy in Scottsdale.

I’m surprised VMC is not asking for up front money. What is their current payment schedule?

BTW I love my VMC. Awesome build.

@Stan Galat I agree with you completely. I started a software business in 1988 and from day one it was always about providing value; not making money. And boy did we ever sacrifice to build a strong business. If you succeed in providing value then you make plenty of money. Most people starting businesses think only about making money and don’t take a long term approach to building a business. Greg at VMC has done a fantastic job at this. He has a great business and rest assured it wasn’t easy to build.

Stan is spot on, even though I drove big truck for 38 years before venturing out on my own. I thought I have a good grasp on the trucking business, but it was an on-the-job education. I made out quite well even though there were quite a few times when I didn't pull a paycheck for 2 weeks or more in the name of keeping the boat afloat. Aften 9 years of running mostly 500 mile days, I was able to retire. First thing I did when we relocated here to West Virginia was to drop in at the local DMV to surrender my CDL as I was done with it.

Last edited by Alan Merklin

I am Penny Charles husband the one who tried and failed to buy a car from Matt Teerink Vintage Speedster owner and Phoenix Arizona police department officer. I got very lucky, there was an error on my build which he alerted me to which was breach of contract, I immediately requested a refund around May this year. He immediately refunded it to me within an hour and I was relieved and surprised at the same time. Some time passed and my wife found Vintage Motorcars in Palm Beach Gardens in California who uses two U.S. dealers - one being cloud 9 classics in Georgia. I immediately contacted Roy Podolin the owner of Cloud 9 Classics who had a car coming in a month or two which I put a deposit on and waited for delivery. Once I communicated with Roy, he sent me a link of the car Matt built for me for sale for a large premium over what I contracted for. While I thought Matt was being nice in alerting me of the build breach, I later realized he saw a window for me to walk away and he to make more money. Prior to this Matt and I had many “fishy” conversations about the status and why my car was taking so long. I am grateful to be rid of Matt and his shotty build as the car from Vintage Motorcars is exceptional for everyone’s reference. Cloud 9 classics Roy Polodin is also really a top notch honest guy and very professional.  My opinion is Matt was a cop and trying to run a business and grossly mismanaged his time. I question his truthfulness  but that is all I will say on this forum. For those of you who have outstanding non-refunded balances ORGANIZE! Find a way to identify who you all are, determine the sum of outstanding balance and seek qualified legal council. There are laws to protect consumers regardless of what legal corporate organization his company has in place.  There is no sympathy for a potentially dishonest incompetent custom car builder who squandered peoples money. Good luck to you all!!!

@dlearl476 thanks for the mention.  Being in the early stages and someone who has been on this board for many years i will say there was a ton of “what not to do” when running a business like this that I learned from several of the “cases” we have all seen.  The constant always seems to be under capitalization which dominoes into all the other shenanigans we have seen by several players.   Deposits can be tricky. As a business owner you want someone to have skin in the game and not just walk away especially given the costs to build. But If they are asking for absorbent amounts up front with no chassis to show for it the that should be a red flag  

The model we’ve come up with is not unlike most regular car dealers. Have cars in inventory in popular color combos and sell from inventory.  Sure the carrying costs are higher but in the end everyone is happier.  Heck, who wants to wait 2 years for a car.  I will admit in the 2 years of development of our business with my partner it has been a challenge with Covid, supply chain parts issues and shipping costs, but you push forward. Stan is right, it can’t be about the mo money thing. It’s gotta be for the love of the game.

@Sacto Mitch posted:


Another reminder of how difficult it must be to make a quality product as complex as these cars are, sell it for a marketable price, deliver it on a predictable schedule, and still make a reasonable profit at the end of the day.

Doing some of those things may be possible for mere mortals, but doing all of them at once seems like a miracle today.


Exactly! To quote a current customer:

"How hard can it actually be?"


@Robert M posted:

I'm guessing karma has a lot to do with this. When VS was sold the buyer said he was staying put and retaining all of the employees. Then over the weekend he moved what he wanted to Arizona and abandoned all of the employees. He got his comeuppance but unfortunately he's taking some innocent victims with him.

I was under the impression that the business was sold at least once since the initial AZ move.

To DannyP's comment above, yes, the guy who originally bought it and moved to AZ went belly up (I believe in the first year), and Matt took it over w/ the shop guy Will. How these ham-and-eggers have gotten away w/ marketing it with the Hawaiian Gardens history ("3300 units sold"..."Est. 1988"..."largest vintage replica builder"), that's another story for the Fraud Squad

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