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.