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Hey, I thought I had shared this below but am not seeing it (still getting used to navigation and protols). I have provided my rational for canceling my order even with the most generous possible interpretation.

What I found difficult to interpret here was those who are maybe speaking hyperbolically when they say that Jim is a "grifter"  and "cheater" and someone who intends to exploit people for financial gain of his own well having no intention to build them a car. It's just my opinion but those people sound so frustrated in their language that I didn't know what to make of their statements. Having spent a lot of time with Jim now on the phone in multiple conversations and watching dozens videos and talking to some happy customers in great detail about his manufacturing process as well as, especially his management decisions, I have concluded that he is well intentioned but he is his own worst bottleneck in being more successful and having happier customers. He has turned out cars that people love to drive when they get them but the wait and the lack of predictability about the length of time for the wait especially are killing him. Ultimately it made me decide not to order a new one. Even if I believed everything he says, and there are some areas which I have talks about whether he is being honest with himself, not being able to predict whether I'm going to wait 2 years 4 years 6 years or longer will drive me nuts. It could leave me to becoming one of the haters who sounds so fed up and frustrated. It may be that the result of his manufacturing process has the same effect of him being a "grifter"  so I guess I get where a couple of the more voluable and expressive people are coming from but it was hard to take them literally after seeing how much Jim cares about his cars and making things that will be great whenever they get finished however long that takes. In my conversation with him yesterday I suggested he should charge a good deal more than he does and get help so he can finish more than a couple cars a year, he had some explanations but basically I think it comes down to he likes to be on top of everything personally and has not trained enough people that he trusts to work on key parts of manufacturing process. I think he also let feature creep harm his timing in the past. Sounds to me like when someone wanted something new he was too intrigued about the process of seeing if he could do it to just say no because it was going to kill not only the time frame for that car but every other car chewed up afterwards. Rinse repeat a bunch of times and you get nothing happening for anyone for great length of time.

At least with me throughout he was very upfront that he thinks there is a two-year backlog at this point but that there's no way of knowing how long it will take to get my car for sure because of many variables beyond his control so I should be prepared to wait longer than that. He was very clear about the lack of predictability. Maybe he is more careful how he says things now because of past people's disappointments or mismatch with their expectations and his process. I did ask him about the bankruptcy and company name change and investigated such public documents as were available and tracked down the possible conditions for the BBB rating and it seemed to tell a cohesive story about what went on and why and did suggest necessarily that he was a charlatan. In addition, I do think there are differences in the way he is currently subcontracting out significant elements and has standardized on just a couple designs and constrained significantly what options he offers compared to what he did in the past - probably because trying to solve irresistible engineering problems led him down too many rabbit holes and delayed everyone's cars too long. So it was tempting to think for a moment that he may have sorted things out and once he gets through his backlog will be much more efficient in producing cars. I really wanted to believe this but in the end I couldn't find enough evidence that people were getting their cars more quickly. At least yet.

In my business experience a smart, curious and resourceful engineer who has no one to effectively make productivity demands, is an extremely dangerous and risky asset. If he is very personable it is actually worse. If that person is head of the company then the company has a significant risk of success. This is why venture capital firms will often only invest in new technology companies when they can bring in a management professional from keeping the perfect the deadly enemy of the good (and viable).

But in any case right now I am as worried about him expiring or deciding to sell the company to someone else before my car is completed which would lead to a whole another level of uncertainty and risk for me. So even if I believed everything he said (insert caveat about self deception if not shading facts again), I don't want to have to sit with not knowing what the period of my wait will be. It's the uncertainty more than the length of time. If I had reason to believe that with 100% certainty of a completed car in even 4 years I might still go ahead. But he himself, not to mention many if you here has made it clear I'm just a never going to get certainty until near the very end of the process.

I think the product he is making that I have discussed over many conversations at length and  reviewed on many many videos has  engineering solutions over for windows, tops, internal chasis frame, suspension, engine options,  availability of stock parts later, and many other details for the price he guarantees represents the best bundle of goods for me. But I just can't take the less risk even if I trust his good intentions that I would see the car before my own head exploded and many of you had the schadenfreude pleasure of saying "we tried to warn you! "

Go to his shop and take pictures of all the cars he is working on and post them here.  Look for any sign of employees.  Have him give you a contact of his last customer that actually got a car and go see if it really exists.  
When you have so many horror stories out there, why would you even consider doing business with this person?

Dave, you have as good a handle on what’s been happening there as anyone has had over the past ten plus years.  He is a great design engineer who can’t help but try to design new stuff all the time, but a terrible business manager, even when he knows what must be done to make his business successful.  A good running, profit making company will always be secondary to tackling a design challenge for him.  

This has been discussed with him many times over from several different people who have intimate knowledge about developing and introducing products from design prototype through pre-production and into production at levels from 2 - 5 per year up to 2 - 5 per month.  Charles Gardner (search for him on here - he bought the first SAS coupe) had as much knowledge about starting/growing a business as anyone and tried harder than anyone to get him to run his business as a production business, rather than a design concept studio, and it all seemed to fall on deaf ears.  

I think most people on here are just happy that we managed to convince someone that going the SAS route, while it promises a ground-breaking product, ultimately causes far more angst and emotional upheaval in the process than it’s worth.  

.

Dave, Gordon's initial post here included this quote from you:

"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? "

I was left with the impression that you hadn't yet placed an order, and I wrote this in my reply:

"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."

But it looks like you had already placed an order, so maybe my hunches were right.

In any case, congratulations on having the strength to be honest with yourself and on having a cool enough head to fairly evaluate all the arguments folks were shouting at you. We've watched many people in your situation who were unable to admit to themselves that they may have erred, and we've painfully seen them suffer the consequences over the months and years that followed. I think the farther this whole business gets in your rearview mirror, the better you'll feel about the decision you've made.

The 'evidence' against SAS is scattered across numerous forums and websites on the internet, and in news reports about the various legal entanglements. It's not just a handful of 'difficult', impatient customers. It's a LOT of ordinary people who tell stories remarkably like yours about their first encounters with SAS - before they sent in their checks.

I think you're finding that we frown on flame wars, are enthusiastic about this hobby, and tend to like a nice, civil discussion.  We love to see others get involved, but we want them to understand that these cars are not for everyone.

Pull up a chair, stick around for a while, get some popcorn going, and ask as many questions as you want. Maybe a year from now, maybe sooner, you'll decide that there are many ways to get involved in Speedster replicas that don't involve much risk, and that there are some vendors with long, proven track records for quality products and honest business practices who can probably build you something that will check most of your boxes.

As we are wont to say, welcome to the madness.

.

https://www.speedsterowners.co...6#673348824858132326

Well we are both right Mitch. I not sent him any money but had already sent him my paperwork buildsheet for my order (356 Cabriolet, improved scissor frame roof, electric roll up windows, 5 speed manual trans on a turbo engine, luggage rack, dark town leather interior, AC, headlight rock grates ... A touring 356).  I called him up this week to say I just could not stomach the uncertainty about completion date he himself said was endemic to his process. I tried then to give him some business advice. I probably would not pay the amount that he should be changing to produce his cars but nontheless suggested he should do so. 

https://www.speedsterowners.co...5#673630299871948355



Well, Stan since early retirement, I have started playing poker semi professionally (I have played in the world series of poker main event a bunch of times and made money for both myself and my backers/investors). One of things elite poker players are good at doing is quick assessments risk and reward and quantifying the the possible outcomes while dealing with uncertainty. When you see a big pot out in the middle of the table it's hard to fold sometimes.  But you not only have to look at the hand you are holding dispassionately but the *range* of hands your opponent could be holding and how well that match the board (community cards).  I will never be at the very highst level (those guys are all youngsters) but I think after a decade of playing with them I am better at doing risk assessment than I was as a CFO of a startup biotech company.



I entered a hand in The SAS car game but ultimately had to fold and wait for a better opportunity despite the alute of what the care could be.

@David K posted:

https://www.speedsterowners.co...6#673348824858132326

Well we are both right Mitch. I not sent him any money but had already sent him my paperwork buildsheet for my order (356 Cabriolet, improved scissor frame roof, electric roll up windows, 5 speed manual trans on a turbo engine, luggage rack, dark town leather interior, AC, headlight rock grates ... A touring 356).  I called him up this week to say I just could not stomach the uncertainty about completion date he himself said was endemic to his process. I tried then to give him some business advice. I probably would not pay the amount that he should be changing to produce his cars but nontheless suggested he should do so.

Good on ya, David. You're risk analysis is good enough, and that is what counts.

I would add that, in a setting like the World Series of Poker, one variable that is much reduced, if not eliminated, is cheaters.

Sometimes it's hard to work into your calculation the possibility that a counterparty is simply lying, and that their product's curiously low price is not a business error, but the essential element of their business model, second only to the rather significant up-front deposit.

Glad you dodged this bullet.

@edsnova  ditto!...enquiring minds need to know...sounds to me like this david guy @David K has the ways & means to do some "in person" investigating...and sounds like he is on shall we say "speaking terms" with mr. steve lawing aka mr. ponzi.....he should do us all a favor and show up there in knoxville tenn with his cell phone and snap some photos & perhaps do an interview with this guy...and then report here with his findings....i still cant believe he is still answering his phone and talking to people about building cars!.....he is just a painful memory to me , but  i would think he would be in hiding somewhere and not at all accessible or else a large group of folks would be in his face on a daily basis...along with their lawyers!...i would sure like to hear about justice being served against this guy for the grief he has caused....but that's just me....in what has become a SURREAL world, not sure justice is obtainable anymore when "career criminals" are held truly accountable...if you get my point

@edsnova posted:

I'd love to hear from anyone who has received a new SAS build in the past 5 years. Or to see any solid evidence of such a build and such a customer.

As far as I know, the last car built and delivered was to as guy in Dubai, whose car was delivered late in 2015.

The car I owned was delivered to its original owner in 2012, Jim Kelley's car was in 2013, then the Dubai guy in 2015 (I think his name was Davide).  I have heard nothing about cars delivered since then.

@Jethro posted:

As far as I know, the last car built and delivered was to as guy in Dubai, whose car was delivered late in 2015.

The car I owned was delivered to its original owner in 2012, Jim Kelley's car was in 2013, then the Dubai guy in 2015 (I think his name was Davide).  I have heard nothing about cars delivered since then.

3 cars in 4 years, there's a line up of 19 people (that we know about) waiting for cars, some for as long as 9 or 10 years, hasn't built/sold a car in going on 6 years, keeps on taking deposits and is almost 80- sounds like he's figured out a great way to fund his retirement...

@David K I know you made your decision already but here are some reports from people who HAVE given SL money and haven't gotten a car.

https://www.tapatalk.com/group...b36e954e0ecabe24fae3

The forums to pay attention to are: The Queue, New Member (Another guy in the queue) but start at the last page, and Any Deliveries in 2017. The last reply there was in 2018. Start at the last page or so and read from there.

A Speedster is definitely not for you. Like others have said you WILL GET WET if it rains. I was going to suggest a Subaru powered 356 coupe replica but if it has to be a convertible you’re doing well in checking out older Boxsters. A friend found an all original black 996 for $15K. He had to fix the convertible top mechanism, install new shocks and give it a nice detail but it is a KILLER CAR right from the factory and it has the speed, handling, thrills and creature comforts (A/C system that works as opposed to the ones on earlier aircooled cars). Yes I know, he got lucky but he had an insider at a car dealership that gave him first dibs.

Impala, let me try again. In considering the various possible speedster replicas that I *thought* were available to me, I preferred one that had a better roof mechanism and actual windows that seal compared to the original andore accurate replicas, such as those made by HWSNBNA (He Who Shall Not Be Named Autos, AKA SAS) .  That was one of the reasons I was attracted to HWSNBNA cars.

If I could find a somewhat reliable replica that I could take a road trip in but otherwise would be more weather dependent that was going to get me wet if it rained, I would still be interested because they are so classically beautiful.

My plan was to get a 15-30 year old Boxter or 911 for 2 or 3 years while my 356 was constructed and sell the newer car in fact. But now that my perfect 356 bubble has been burst I am back to square 1. I might find an existing replica to buy and live with it's foibles, or I might settle for a used Boxter or 911 (or TT, or...). Or I might just oggle the 356 cars of others as I have been for the last 15 years.

"Impala, let me try again. In considering the various possible speedster replicas that I *thought* were available to me, I preferred one that had a better roof mechanism and actual windows that seal compared to the original andore accurate replicas, such as those made by HWSNBNA (He Who Shall Not Be Named Autos, AKA SAS) .  That was one of the reasons I was attracted to HWSNBNA cars.

If I could find a somewhat reliable replica that I could take a road trip in but otherwise would be more weather dependent that was going to get me wet if it rained, I would still be interested because they are so classically beautiful."

Has anyone suggested you look for a used Intermeccanica?  Power glass windows, and more closely fitting tops.

Yeah, I've been wondering why the "IM Faithful" (no slight intended, folks) hadn't chimed in on this.  While I don't know if Intermeccanicas are totally leak free, they do seem to be a lot drier inside than the average Speedster replica and electric roll-up windows are the bomb, for sure.  They may sell at a premium over the other brands, but they seem to be worth it for the dry interior and a lot of other popular features.

Something also to consider, is when something goes amiss or you need a replacement part, pretty much anything on an IM can be quickly identified and a source found, while on the SAS you first have to identify the part, figure out if it's a Porsche, VW, Subaru or custom Hot Rod part, then find a source and see if you can get a replacement.  Lawing had a habit of either using eccentric Hot Rod or Custom parts (he comes from the Hot Rod world, remember) or something he fabs up from other stuff.  And when THAT fails you're in deep doo-doo.

Looking at Intermeccanicas, to me, seems like the most intelligent option.

Yeah, I've been wondering why the "IM Faithful" (no slight intended, folks) hadn't chimed in on this.  While I don't know if Intermeccanicas are totally leak free, they do seem to be a lot drier inside than the average Speedster replica and electric roll-up windows are the bomb, for sure.  They may sell at a premium over the other brands, but they seem to be worth it for the dry interior and a lot of other popular features.

Something also to consider, is when something goes amiss or you need a replacement part, pretty much anything on an IM can be quickly identified and a source found, while on the SAS you first have to identify the part, figure out if it's a Porsche, VW, Subaru or custom Hot Rod part, then find a source and see if you can get a replacement.  Lawing had a habit of either using eccentric Hot Rod or Custom parts (he comes from the Hot Rod world, remember) or something he fabs up from other stuff.  And when THAT fails you're in deep doo-doo.

Looking at Intermeccanicas, to me, seems like the most intelligent option.

Why don't the IM faithful chime in on this? Because nobody wants to be "that guy". Some of us are still a bit salty and reluctant to tout the virtues of IM, after being called shills for the company a few (well, many now) years back.

A new build is really, really long money now, but Gordon is right - looking at used ones is where I'd be headed if I was in the market.

We all know IMs are great, even the early ones. As some of my compadres have said above, Convertible D’s are definitely drier inside than Speedsters but that’s the nature of the beast, even in the real Porsches.

And after reading David’s comments I believe he’s on the right track. I am glad fellow forum members saved him from being another SAS victim. Many years ago, an ex member here called Steve who was an airline pilot by trade, and whom I met in person once, had a nice ivory SAS and loved it but regretfully it was totaled in an accident and he retired from the hobby. Hoss (Mr. Hallstrand), who I also met in person is the other guy who had his red one and was very happy with it. I wish Mr. Lawing would streamline his manufacturing process and improve his client satisfaction index because the cars he cranked out, when he did, were very very nice. Quite a large number of manufacturers (if not all of them)  have jumped on the Subaru powertrain bandwagon since then. Maybe this will make it more possible for David to find his dream car that way.

That's true Ricardo, but it's an understatement as well. I have an IM speedster, and like all Vancouver IMs, it has rollup windows. I have driven through biblical-plague level thunderstorms. It's not a leak-proof car, but it's a completely different animal than the 2 pan-based car I had previously.

BTW, Steve is back on here - not posting nearly as much, but has a Subaru coupe on order from Greg.

Last edited by Stan Galat

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