Hi Everyone!

After a lot of research and deliberation, I'm really excited to announce that I've finally ordered my speedster!

For any potential buyers or fellow newbies out there, this forum is really a wealth of information and the whole community is so generous with sharing their time and knowledge. It's one of the best car forums I've been on for sure. To give back, I'd like to share my thought process in my buying decision in case it may help you decide on options or vendors out there (It can be pretty confusing understanding this landscape given the recent changes in the past couple years). Here I go!

SHOULD I BUY USED OR NEW?
Over a few weeks, I test drove, researched, and inspected 3 used speedsters. Since used speedsters can go for asking prices not significantly higher than new, I decided it was worth spending the extra couple bucks to buy new, get the options/colors I really wanted, and not deal with any potential issues I had not foreseen with a used one. 

Then begged, the next question.

WHO SHOULD I BUY FROM?
I evaluated 5 different companies (Feel free to DM me if you'd like their names). Following weeks of research, discussions, sleepless nights (this is by far one of the most exciting things I've done in years! I feel like a kid again), and tapping into the knowledge base of SOC members > Vintage Motorcars of California came out as the clear winner for me. 

I chose Vintage Motorcars of California (VMC) for the following reasons:

  • Price and Quality: Consensus from many sources was that VMC is the best value for quality. Interestingly, a dealer who has sold speedsters for over a decade, including all 5 makers I researched said that he only carries VMC now. For the price ($32k to $40k, depending on options), "you can't get better quality or workmanship". I'm personally not willing to spend $50k to $100k on a replica so that nixed out a bunch of higher priced makers. Also, my rationale is that less than 0.1% of the population will even be able to tell the difference between an original and replica (if that matters to you). I was told that Greg's (owner of Vintage Motorcars of California) engines run better and more reliably compared to some other makers - probably since he has been building engines in-house for so long with his spyders.  The dealer had mentioned he had issues with some of the makers with regards to engines not being tuned correctly, experienced popping, and needing adjustment - the dealer was not happy having to send the car to a mechanic not long after having the cars delivered. In addition, for some other makers, the cars were delivered months late whereas VMC was mostly on time. 
    Team: Although VMC is newer to building speedsters, a few SOC members told me that VMC inherited years of speedster building experience when VMC hired most of the original employees of Vintage Speedster in California (Back Story: VS was sold and the company moved from California to Arizona) who helped to build over 3,000 speedsters. The company has also been building Spyder replicas and engines in-house for over 20 years so I'm hoping the learnings and experience from there will make VMC's speedster better.
  • References: I've only received overwhelming positive feedback about Greg and the company. I've also been following VMC's instagram feed of recently shipped speedsters and SOC members have been sending me pictures of their recently built cars - INSANELY beautiful!! 
  • Speed to Build: VMC also had the quickest build time of 8 weeks from deposit!! During my initial research, I was led to believe that it would take at least 4 to 12 months to make - which almost made me pull the trigger on a used speedster. Greg sounded very confident on delivery date so will update you on if 8 weeks happens! I know that another SOC member faced a slight delay in delivery, but that Greg made it up to him.
  • Greg: Finally, Greg is a personable, straight forward guy. It's easy to deal with him, he seems happy to answer my endless questions, and respond to my texts, emails, and calls. I have noticed that he doesn't immediately respond to my texts and emails (so call if you need an immediate response), but he has told me he's always on the floor with the guys building the cars - so I only see this as a good thing as I'm sure this has an impact on quality. 


SO THERE YOU HAVE IT!

I've read on this forum that delivery times are often delayed. Greg sounded confident on delivery in 8 weeks (2nd week of January), so let's see what happens! I plan to pick up the Speedster in Hawaiian Gardens and then will drive it to NorCal (should it not be raining then). Will keep you guys updated!

Finally, thanks again to all the SOC members who provided me the information I needed to make my decision!! It took me weeks of research, a lot of time and effort, and I hope this post may help other potential buyers out there. 

Original Post

Tell Greg to seal the hell out of where the fiberglass meets the pan underneath.  Maybe he already does but one year I saw  Speedster at Carlisle with a tub stopper hanging from the rear view mirror!  I learned quickly that this was not a joke.  I have my dialed in now but I dried out a lot of wet floors along the way.  

While you're at it a nice idea is to slather the pan, both sides with truck bed liner and then Dynomat inside including the doors.  Ask him to make the window surround fit snugly up into the pockets in the top, test the bow area with a water hose to make certain it is waterproof and put a 3rd top latch in the center---I'd bet he already does much of this. 

If you want fog lights, get them as part of the build.  Solicit ideas from other SOC members on what they'd do as part of the build process rather than as an afterthought later.  Things like anti-sway bar in front, camber compensator, beam braces, CSP or Vintage shifter, and so forth.  Get a muffler that doesn't have to be removed to check the valves as some have gotten from other builders. 

Just my 2 cents and congratulations on your decision to start building your new Speedster!  You are in for an exciting time.  Best of luck with it!  

WNGD posted:

Congrats, so tell us more about the options you picked. Spill the beans, details details!!

Thanks @WNGD @ALB!

Here's the spec - Have to tell you, it's too EASY to get carried away and just keep adding options!!

"Buy Once, Cry Once" is the advice I was given on a previous feed  I love the clean look of minimal accessorized speedsters, however, this is going to be a driver so I'm adding more accessories that will help me have a better driving experience (eg. passenger side mirror). Also, I'm going for a more period look (eg. white wall tires). Days are passing by what feels like weeks . . .VERY EXCITED!!!

  • Colors
    • Body: Light Silver 
    • Interior: Dark Red
    • Carpets: Grey
  • Top Options
    • Removable Hard Top in Light Silver
    • Black top
    • Black full tonnuea cover
  • Interior Options
    • 3 spoke Ivory Banjo steering wheel
    • Ivory Knobs
    • Crow 2” lap belts
    • retro radio (speakers under dash and not visible)
    • 12v power port under dash
    • Toggle kill switch under dash
  • Wheel Options
    • 165/15 Coker white wall tires
    • Vintage 190 Aluminum wheels, Polished. 15x5.5 silver with moon caps
    • 5 Lug front and rear disc brakes
  • Light Options
    • Tear Drop Lights - Red
    • Fog Lights - Yellow
    • Headlight Grills 
  • Body Options 
    • Bumper guards
    • Hand-Laid Fiberglass body
    • Mirrors mounted on the doors
    • Steel sub-frame
    • Shorten recondition VW chassis
    • Two Stage Paint 
  • Trunk Options 
    • trunk carpet kit
    • Spare tire and wheel kit
  • Other Options 
    • Under dash hand brake
    • Front sway bar
    • Battery cut of switch under hood
    • 1914cc VW type 1 engine, 110 HP. Electronic Ignition. new as41 case, CB performance heads, crank, and cam , CB magna spark distributor, Kadron Carbs /with heater boxes for heat system
    • 3:88 freeway flyer transmission
Jack Crosby posted:

Tell Greg to seal the hell out of where the fiberglass meets the pan underneath.  Maybe he already does but one year I saw  Speedster at Carlisle with a tub stopper hanging from the rear view mirror!  I learned quickly that this was not a joke.  I have my dialed in now but I dried out a lot of wet floors along the way.  

While you're at it a nice idea is to slather the pan, both sides with truck bed liner and then Dynomat inside including the doors.  Ask him to make the window surround fit snugly up into the pockets in the top, test the bow area with a water hose to make certain it is waterproof and put a 3rd top latch in the center---I'd bet he already does much of this. 

If you want fog lights, get them as part of the build.  Solicit ideas from other SOC members on what they'd do as part of the build process rather than as an afterthought later.  Things like anti-sway bar in front, camber compensator, beam braces, CSP or Vintage shifter, and so forth.  Get a muffler that doesn't have to be removed to check the valves as some have gotten from other builders. 

Just my 2 cents and congratulations on your decision to start building your new Speedster!  You are in for an exciting time.  Best of luck with it!  

Thanks @Jack Crosby for the advice and please keep it coming! I will check on all of the above 

By the way, how true is that comment on being stuck with a car with 800 or so miles on it. I drove a few speedsters, which had such low mileage, however drove like they were 80 years old - no exaggeration . . . not only is SOC a lot of fun, it's definitely an incredible place to cut your teeth on replica speedsters 

Speedster,on the banjo wheel.;  I have seen two of them that were falling apart where the metal rods were coming out of the wheel. One here in my town and one at Carlisle.Maybe they were inferior brands of banjo wheels but see about getting one that is going to last.

Well on low mileage cars being sold, mine had only 300 miles or so on it.  The seller gave me a long story why he was selling ---something about his wife seeing a small car get clobbered in a wreck and freaking about that, blah, blah, blah.  The truth is that the car drove awful with being out of alignment, wheels out of balance, so badly in fact that I could go only 35 MPH so the 180 miles home from Monroe, LA to Hot Springs AR took 5 hours instead of 1 1/2 hours.  The shakes and shimmies were incredible but I felt I could get the car straightened, which I did.  Now it drives and rides like a dream. The real reason the car was sold with just 300 miles was that it was a disaster and the former owner was disappointed that it wasn't driving like a new Miata.  This is the main reason these cars get dumped with very low miles, I believe.  I guess you gotta be eaten up with the Madness to hang in there long enough to get some of these cars to match the vision you have when you first get the bug.  Today I love my car and it is as perfect as a Vintage Speedster can be.  Totally reliable and great performance. 

I'd bet the farm that you're new Speedster is going to meet all your expectations and will say "congratulations" in advance".   Remember though ---it's not what you expect---it's what you inspect.

Congrats Speedster, Welcome to the group. Keep us updated with Pics as the build progresses if Greg sends them. The 8 week lead time is amazing. Sure beats 8-12 plus months some builders are running. In the defense of some of the long lead times, I know one builder in Indiana that is covered with orders and that keeps their lead times long. They make a great car as well. I hope you get the car you have dreamt of and enjoy it for many years. I know I sure love and enjoy my Speedster. Glad to have you on the forum.

Jack Crosby posted:

Speedster,on the banjo wheel.;  I have seen two of them that were falling apart where the metal rods were coming out of the wheel. One here in my town and one at Carlisle.Maybe they were inferior brands of banjo wheels but see about getting one that is going to last.

Well on low mileage cars being sold, mine had only 300 miles or so on it.  The seller gave me a long story why he was selling ---something about his wife seeing a small car get clobbered in a wreck and freaking about that, blah, blah, blah.  The truth is that the car drove awful with being out of alignment, wheels out of balance, so badly in fact that I could go only 35 MPH so the 180 miles home from Monroe, LA to Hot Springs AR took 5 hours instead of 1 1/2 hours.  The shakes and shimmies were incredible but I felt I could get the car straightened, which I did.  Now it drives and rides like a dream. The real reason the car was sold with just 300 miles was that it was a disaster and the former owner was disappointed that it wasn't driving like a new Miata.  This is the main reason these cars get dumped with very low miles, I believe.  I guess you gotta be eaten up with the Madness to hang in there long enough to get some of these cars to match the vision you have when you first get the bug.  Today I love my car and it is as perfect as a Vintage Speedster can be.  Totally reliable and great performance. 

I'd bet the farm that you're new Speedster is going to meet all your expectations and will say "congratulations" in advance".   Remember though ---it's not what you expect---it's what you inspect.

@Jack Crosby hoping I don't get a poorly made Banjo steering wheel. Would be shocking as some of the originals are still going 60+ years later!

Great story and to hear you transformed the car into a reliable driver!

Jimmy V. posted:

Congrats Speedster, Welcome to the group. Keep us updated with Pics as the build progresses if Greg sends them. The 8 week lead time is amazing. Sure beats 8-12 plus months some builders are running. In the defense of some of the long lead times, I know one builder in Indiana that is covered with orders and that keeps their lead times long. They make a great car as well. I hope you get the car you have dreamt of and enjoy it for many years. I know I sure love and enjoy my Speedster. Glad to have you on the forum.

Thanks! @Blake also asked for PROGRESS PHOTOS and here they are from Vintage Motorcars today! Check out the beauty!! 

Feels like I started this thread MONTHS ago . . .and actually it has only been 2 weeks  Greg at VM has been just awesome, so happy I chose them to build my speedster.

@Jack Crosby on the sealed pan, I was told they get seam sealers, seam seal all gaps to protect the chassis front and back and then rinoline on top of that. That was never done before when Vintage Speedster was building the cars at that location. So happy to hear about all these improvements given Greg brings his experience from building Spyders over the years. 

@WNGD read the other thread and so relieved the hardtop was fitted at this stage - it wil hopefully fit like a glove!!

The shape alone is so so beautiful - I really can't believe this is my car, being built for me. I really can not believe it. BEST decision I've made in a long time!

This is 70% done before it heads to paint. If all goes as planned, the car will get painted by the end of the week!!

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Question, what type of side windows are used with your hard top?

 Your car looks like it will be very nice. I am wanting a hard top on my Suby Fiberfab  so I can enjoy it more months here in Southern Indiana. It is 22 degrees here but clear and sunny. I would love to be driving my Speedster on days like today. I have heat but need a hard top and tight fitting side windows.

Jimmy V. posted:

Question, what type of side windows are used with your hard top?

 Your car looks like it will be very nice. I am wanting a hard top on my Suby Fiberfab  so I can enjoy it more months here in Southern Indiana. It is 22 degrees here but clear and sunny. I would love to be driving my Speedster on days like today. I have heat but need a hard top and tight fitting side windows.

@Jimmy V. They come with plastic side windows to fit the hard top. I was umming and awwing about getting the hardtop now or later - but if I did it later, I would have to have had to drop the car there for a couple weeks which would have been a pain. I'm going to get the side windows copied in plexiglass, which is quite straight forward. Will let you know how that goes.

Definitely seems worth while to extend the time you can drive the car. Great to hear it is clear and sunny - means there are no excuses but to get out there and drive  

Vintage Motorcars actually puts in heated seats (as Standard), which is a bonus to make the ride that much more comfortable. I'm told they work really well from another customer who bought from Greg!

WOLFGANG posted:

I suspect to get good seal you'll need 2 sets of side curtains - one for hard top and another for the soft top.  The side curtains with a soft top are clostofobic so doubt they would get much use.

Yes exactly. 2 Sets of curtains (1 for soft top and 1 for hard top - which are said to be a little taller). i'm going to make a 3rd set in plexi glass as I heard visibility is a lot better.

Kiwi posted:

Hello Guys and @Speedster I also went with Greg at Vintage.  I am doing a 356 speedster with Non metallic steel grey with red diamond stitch interior and a bunch of other options.  I went with a 2650 914 motor from Fat Performance and the car has been painted and is being put together as we speak.  I can wait.  

^ Dude's my new hero.

Let me list the total options and put some pics up.  

Sorry color is Slate grey non metallic. Red leather interior with diamond stitch seat centers and single diamond stitch door pockets.

Heated seats

Grey square weave carpets

Fat performance type IV

5 lug front and rear disc brakes with drilled rotes and hawk padws

Porsche nipple caps

OMP pedal covers

A1 sidewinder exhaust for Type IV with twin pipes

Front trunk carpet square weave

retro radio

oil cooler with AN hoses

IRS with 12.5 narrowed trailing arms

beehive taillights LED

LED front headlights from Vintage LEDS

Dynamat Upgrade full

Mesh Headlight grills

Hard tonneau with single headrest in match diamond stitch.

Custom 4 speed transmission from Rancho.

Question do you guys think i should get the fog lights?

kiwi 1kiwi 2kiwi 3kiwi 4

 

 

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I have driving lights on my car, and use them all the time.  I'm not sure if I would use fog lights all that much, but the extra lights come in handy, living in the countryside as we do.  They are tied to the headlights, and go to high beam when the headlights do, but are on a separate off/on switch.

I like to have a dark road lit up as much as possible...

BTW, your car is going to be great.  

WOW, the new build here will be something.  Sounds like a lot has been figured out ahead of time.  Very cool, great chance it will be "right" right out of the box.  Two things:

Banjo st wheel: they do indeed have a look of authenticity.  I know nothing about who makes a good one and who does not.  What I do know is I had a real one in my '56 A coupe and hated it.  The horn ring did break after a while, but the whole thing was just too flexible.  Maybe my driving was a little to sporty for the wheel??  All I know for sure is that in that day, everybody thought a Nardi wheel was the cats pajamas, and everybody wanted one.  If I had had the money, I woulda.  Fast fwd 50 years: my Speedster has a Nardi wheel.  Further note: I had a '61 B coupe also, and it had a really nice three spoke Porsche wheel (aluminum??) that was quite substantial.

Hardtop: yes indeed, that might be the next big thing for my car.  I'd like that, but all has to be pretty much custom fit, so $$$.  Maybe someday . . .

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