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This just popped up in my PM inbox and, while I've already responded to the newbie, I thought that more comments quickly, before he sends a check, would be timely input for him.  Here it is:

"Hi, I was planning on ordering a Specialty Auto Sports 356 . I just joined the forum and am now worried but also confused. Can I call you to discuss? "

So what are the comments (or pertinent links to history on here) that you guys want to offer to a newbie?

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I lurked here on the forum for a few weeks, exercised the search function and got to know who really knew what they were talking about (guys like Gordon).  I had seen an SAS add a long while ago and had always wanted a coupe and it peaked my interest.  After considerable research here I decided on either Vintage Motorcars of California or Special Editions in Indiana.  They were considerably more expensive than SAS was advertising, BUT I knew I'd actually get a car and that it would be a quality piece.

The owner of SAS has a long history of ripping people off, never actually delivering cars  and he is in hot water with his states attorney general's office.  It appears that if you want to drop a ton of money for nothing, SAS is your place.  Or you could just dump a few bundles of $100's into your back yard fire pit and get it over with quicker.

Giving money to Mr. L would be exactly that- just handing him a bunch of cash.  There's a long line of people waiting for cars from this guy.  Do some searching here and read up on this guy- you won't be any different than the rest of the marks he's already fleeced.  What's the first installment? It used to be about $17,000- if you want to kiss it goodbye, give it to 1 of us.  At least we'll be honest about it never coming back...  Al

Here are two links from our forum for examples.  We've had many guys wind up here that have lost deposits, never seen cars or been able to contact he who shall not be named of SAS. He's changed his business name slightly at least once maybe more times.  He hasn't delivered a car in YEARS as far anyone can tell.

SAS

need-advice-concerning-sas-steve-lawing?reply=590444326071511359#590444326071511359

AND here is a Better Business Bureau listing, he keep changing the name subtly to confuse people trying to research his scam.

https://www.bbb.org/us/tn/knox...0533-5824/complaints

Last edited by JMM (Michael)

Do not consider doing business with Steve Lawing in any of his business names.  John Hallstrand recently posted on FB that Lawing's legacy is that he invented the use of a Subara platform for replicas, and he didn't get the credit for it.

Some people just don't get it!

Lawing DOES have a legacy, the same that Bernie Madoff has, as a ripoff artist of the first caliber.  Don't just take my word for it, Google "Specialty Auto Sports Knoxville TN", and you will witness his true legacy in the industry.  At my last count, there were 19 customers who didn't get a car or their deposits returned.

What a way to make a living, eh?

.

I'm not sure what more we can do, Gordon.

There is now overwhelming evidence available for anyone who cares to look.

I'm always amazed by the number of folks who show up here having already made a deposit on a new build or having bought a new car, and then ask what we think.

There's not much we can do to influence a decision that's already been made, so maybe what's being sought is support for a choice they're now unsure about, in which case, the last thing they want to hear is why they may have made a mistake.

If the threads linked to here don't steer someone away from SAS, probably nothing will.

I hung out here for about a year before deciding on where to place an order. I got a lot of good advice, but I wish some friends of my builder had been a bit more forthright. I would have likely chosen the same builder, but the details of my order would have been a lot different.

That experience is probably why my comments about my car are often a bit more acerbic than they could be, but I think folks like your newbie come here for honest opinions. They should hear the worst with the wonderful and be left to make their own decisions.

In the case of SAS, though, I don't know that there is much wonderful to be found any more.

.

Last edited by Sacto Mitch

I am the guy who sent the PMs. I have not given Steve money yet. Of yesterday was my first day on this forum.  I was going to go see his facility and drive one of his cars. I have talked to him 4 times now twice for hours. I was planning to talk to the people have taken deliver of the last 4 cars he has finished. I have looked into the single name change and what the issues were with the bankruptcy that happened when he was assembling kits for a kit manufacturer that went belly up and he had to complete cars for customers when the kits were not complete.

When gearing multiple versions of the same story it it's hard to know what to believe from people not involved who have different "facts". I have been parts of forums where, unlike here, I am a true expert and know more than 1%  of people in the world. I have seen what internet forums can devolve into. I'm not saying that I doubt anything anyone in particular has to say but given that some total of here and elsewhere it's hard to know what to believe. So frustrating situation.

Given e the depth of feeling and a couple people who have actually had direct experience that seems applicable I'm unlikely pursue an SAS car. Unfortunately as much as I love the beauty of the Porsche 356 Speedster Cabriolet and Roadster, very few other options that I would consider purchasing, at least that the prices I see now newly constructed one.

I want to get in my car and drive it and be able to drive distances without overheating, without getting wet in the rain, be able to drive it and not have to worry about carburetor floats or other normally aspirated air-cooled engine foibles. I admire the people who have the knowledge that many of you have and how to take care of these cars and deal with them so that they can be reliable transportation as well as beautiful pieces of art. I just don't have that knowledge level yet. I need more idiot proof car that has a true internal frame water cold engine modern suspension in standard parts. It's probably means that while I long to have what I think is the most beautiful car ever built I can't afford an actual Porsche 356 (I would be afraid to drive it even if I did have the funds) and I will not enjoy the variability of servicing a modified VW pan or air cooled version.

If there or any quiet workers here who either have an sas car or until they have more direct experience please PM me. I respect that pretty much everyone here is more experience than  than me but unintentionally initiating a flame war or I'm a target is something I want to avoid but I'm afraid in forums like this, it's very hard to avoid when there are passionate feelings.

TThanks to those of you who has responded to my PMs already. No matter what your feelings about SAS I appreciate you taking the time communicate with me. Should I ever end up with 356 replica of some sort, I hope I will be walking here even if it is a Cabriolet. Groupon if I find an existing used SAS product.

I agree.....   Good update.  This forum is a little different in that in the past 18 years I can’t recall any huge flame wars happening.  We’ve had a few brush fires, but they were usually dealt with pretty quickly and we all moved on.  And I come from the Open Systems Computer World and know scorched Earth flame wars from work experience.  We’re not like that, here.

I have personally met and chatted with Steve Lawing and know that he can be VERY personable and persuasive.  He is also a remarkable engineer and does some very cool stuff on his builds.  But it’s one thing to promise a lot to get the first payment or two and another whole thing to actually deliver the car that you’ve signed a contract on.  He’s really good at taking the money, not nearly so good at delivering anything.  

We’ve been warning people about SAS/SAW now for years but there are a LOT of people out there who have not heard of this site and don’t get the advance warning you’re getting and they get burnt - Very badly.  

Please listen to us.  We’re trying to save you one helluva lot of money and untold angst and aggravation.  There are a lot of posts in the history on here that should convince anyone that this site, and the people on it, are on your side.

@@David Kluchman  Respectfully, you wishing for a pleasant transaction with Mr. L. and that Sir, just isn't going to happen until the 12th of never.  I am sure all herein  wish you well but from the above post you are still leaning toward monumental  financial shyt storm.....   

There are good reputable Speedster manufactures and we often speak of them highly on this Site.

" Caveat emptor "

Last edited by Alan Merklin
@David K posted:

I need more idiot proof car that has a true internal frame water cold engine modern suspension in standard parts.

Respectfully sir, you've answered all of your own questions. The car you desire exists (sort of) but not at all at a price point you'd find acceptable. New IMs start at about $100K, and have a 2 year wait. New Subaru-powered Becks have a slightly to somewhat lower entry point, but are also several years out.

Both are custom cars, with all the attendant teething issues that are not ever dealt with in a mass produced car.

Buy a GT4 - you'll get more respect, pay about the same money, and have something that ticks all the boxes.

@David K posted:

I want to get in my car and drive it and be able to drive distances without overheating, without getting wet in the rain, be able to drive it and not have to worry about carburetor floats or other normally aspirated air-cooled engine foibles. I need more idiot proof car that has a true internal frame water cold engine modern suspension in standard parts.

David,

This is not the hobby for you. You're going to be disappointed. We have all spent considerable time and some have spent considerable money to get our cars in reliable, drivable condition. Sounds like you want an everyday, go to the store vehicle. The purchase of the car is just the entry price.

P.S. if you drive a Speedster in the rain you are definitely going to get wet!

Seriously. SOC is the community that will guide you away from a bad mistake. This we are doing. For the money you're looking to spend, for the enjoyment you desire, there are other communities that can guide you toward your goals.

Consider:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/C8.Corvette.Owners/

https://www.miata.net/clubs/

https://www.718forum.com/

https://www.miniusa.com/why-mi...est-owners-ever.html

Get what you really want and be happy!

David:

I have a replica and a 2008 Cayman S. with about 46k on the clock. Trust me, the Cayman at less than $25,000 is a wonderful, reliable, great performing daily driver. Look around, patiently, and you can find a nice Cayman or Boxster that will scratch your Porsche itch.

My 356 replica tends to be less reliable, but it is a hobby car that I drive and am constantly working on because I like to tinker.

You can have one, the other or both, but neither should come from Lawing, and won't.

It isn't so much his finished product isn't a reasonably nice car, as it is that he won't deliver one to you. If you want to be in line behind some 20 or so people, many waiting for years, please go right ahead, but don't come back on the forum complaining that you have been duped.

Nobody here has any stake in lying to you. We don't know you but many of us have been around the hobby for years and hate to see it sullied by this guy. Note that he has never repudiated anything said about him on this forum, and little of it has been favorable. He knows about the SOC and hopefully we have saved some folks from making a mistake by contracting with him.

You can noodle around and investigate all you want, and you certainly don't have to believe the myriad number of people who will try and wave you off, but you've been informed, believe it or don't.

Thanks everyone I AM listening. I have a long reply I am in the middle of composing but I am swamped with getting my house ready to sell so, car fun is taking a back seat so to speak. However, briefly, I would like to restate something I said earlier. If it were possible to get a 356 body and authentic looking interior AND somewhat more idiot proof modern mechanics and not pay $100,000, that would be my dream. I am probably in the situation where I can have one or maybe two of those things, but not three.

Knowing that  whatever 356 replica I went for could well take a couple years and I want to scratch an itch now. I am looking at older Boxsters and 911s  under $30K as my "for now cars". Has to be a convertible (this is a third car) so Cayman is out. I tried to like the Miata but it just doesn't have a soul for me. I had not really considered the Mini ragtop but not sure why. I might investigate that". The Corvette douse have a soul but not one I like; I wanted to punch that guy in the face in high school (possibly I have some unresolved issues from HS )...

@David K posted:

Knowing that  whatever 356 replica I went for could well take a couple years and I want to scratch an itch now.

Your best option might be to buy a previously owned car that an enthusiast has loved and already gone through. There may be paint chips and small aesthetic defects but you'll be ready to go.  You're more likely to be pleased.

This is great advice. I had similar expectations, and was very thankful to find a community like this to point me in the right direction.

I ended up with a pre-owned (12k miles), mostly pre-sorted toy that required limited maintenance, is "mostly" water tight, and a whole lot of fun. I daily drove it, before the pandemic, through 100°F+ temps and rain. Even after a few months without driving last year it handled a 700 mile road trip through the coastal mountains just fine. I'm about to head on another one.

Keep your eye on the classifieds here, Craigslist, BaT. And then bring back any potential purchases here for the experts to weigh in. If you were already willing to wait for one to be built, I bet you'll find a great one to drive before then. Several from this community have sold their cars over the past year. I think you would've been happy with several of them. There will be more.

@David K wow!...it blows my mind that slick SAS steve is still actually having conversations with people about his ghost cars...i would have thought he would be WEARING OUT HORSES trying to stay ahead of the law and folks that want his liver on a stick!....i have had personal 1st hand dealings with this grifter...if you really need to hear my story even after all the fair warning available here in the open...PM me and i'll lay it on ya....

Have you ever had a conversation with someone about the particulars of your work, using the common vernacular of your industry and everyone gets it......... but then you do the same with people outside and they have no idea what you are talking about?

The suggestion of used 356 is probably David's best bet. What he would probably want to find is a used Vintage (CA, not AZ) or Beck with a Subaru motor but there are other used options with Subies you could entertain. Who knows what the price would be but I am happy to report that I bought my Spyder for less than people said I would. You just have to look around. Frankly, I would avoid BAT because who wants a bidding war? I want a guy that hasn't been able to sell his replica 356 to buy that kidney. Desperation is a wonderful aroma.

Like David, I am not mechanically inclined but finding people to work on the Type 1s in not that difficult. I would assume it would be more complicated with the Subie for certain things but I don't own one, so I don't know.

Please don't listen to the "this isn't the hobby for you" nonsense. If you have some money to pay a mechanic, you will be fine with a used whatever if that is what you want. I also own a Cayman and will give a second recommendation for one but I have had to fix the Cayman at a mechanic slightly less than the Spyder so you are still going to pay someone........ and either way, the mechanic is going to see a Porsche-AHHHH badge and think you are loaded.

For all my SOC friends, it appeared from his first post that he was listening and then he posted again that he was listening. I think the warnings are heard and don't need to be repeated

Last edited by Chris MacDonald

I was going to post this PSA last night but talked myself out of it:

In future, I think we should limit “advice” to PMs. I’m 100% for warning interested parties before they make a huge mistake, but I think we need to be mindful that we live in a litigious society, and IMO, some of the comments in this thread and others could easily convince a bad actor to find a lawyer willing to make a stink.

Ive seen it happen over less on other forums. And it’s usually the forum owners they come after.

@WOLFGANG posted:

Desperation is a wonderful aroma.

I always thought it a bit Despicable but years ago someone posted best time to buy was:  3 D's - Death, Divorce or Disease ---- other would be I guess December.

I’m trying to think of a “D” word for when someone finally realizes that 1/4 finished kit taking up 1/2 the garage just ain’t gonna happen.



Im still gobsmacked that my buddy found a finished, running, driving, licensed CMC Californian for $16K.

Last edited by dlearl476

I was being a bit cheeky about the "needing to sell the car to buy a kidney" bit but these types of cars are both what a seller is willing to accept and what a buyer is willing to pay. It is like that for all specialty/classic cars.

Having said that, I do stand by the BAT comment. Why would you want to fight over a car with your money when you can find a private seller. Frankly, if I can pay $16K for something others are paying $30K for, I'd happily keep my money. If you are willing, you can find deals. You just need to be mindful of what you are looking at.

@dlearl476 posted:

I was going to post this PSA last night but talked myself out of it:

In future, I think we should limit “advice” to PMs. I’m 100% for warning interested parties before they make a huge mistake, but I think we need to be mindful that we live in a litigious society, and IMO, some of the comments in this thread and others could easily convince a bad actor to find a lawyer willing to make a stink.

Ive seen it happen over less on other forums. And it’s usually the forum owners they come after.

Your protection in a litigious society is the truth. And we have that on our side in spades.

@Robert M posted:

Your protection in a litigious society is the truth. And we have that on our side in spades.

The truth being on your side doesn't mean squat when someone with enough money to hire an attorney gets butt hurt. Remember, we have a legal system, not a justice system.  Typically the side with the deepest pockets wins.

Ask the guy who owned Smugmug who spent millions fighting a dubious copyright infringement suit.

Last edited by dlearl476

Sorry, dlearl476, but you are incorrect regarding defamation, which you allude to above.  The key element of the tort of defamation, either libel, which is written, or slander, which is spoken, is a false statement.  Truth is called the perfect defense to defamation.  In addition, a defamation case is extremely costly to mount, and no experienced litigator would take such a case on a contingency basis, since damages would be limited, due to the necessity of proving actual harm.  That's why the only defamation cases that go forward are celebrities or otherwise famous individuals, who can bankroll the costs and can prove that harm to their reputation cost them millions in lost income, etc.

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