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After a hiatus from building Speedsters & doing four dune buggy builds, in August I purchased Arden Neer's  "CFM Inc "....aka  Rafael)  Speedster Outlaw body & (edit) Berrien square tube / Mendeola suspension chassis.  The chassis has R & P steering, four- wheel double piston disc brakes, 17"  Airkewled" modular wheels. The outer section of the rims are painted beige metallic with the centers being chrome, I need to address that down the road for more eye appeal.

The square tube chassis is a beautiful work of art with all the bells & whistles  including A- arm suspension, coil overs, Kafer & sway bars, 1.5" steel drop floors. etc.  I was surprised with the Speedster body quality, extra steel bracing, the fiberglass thickness and the body was custom made 1" wider at the rear quarters but is not noticeable to the eye and has the realistic rear seat area too. Complete with fiberglass tonneau, show bar, faring and functional side intakes. Complete baseball brown leather interior with a carriage - scissor style top frame assembly, side curtains and matching quarter boot.

Last week I trailered it home from a storage building setting it up on jack stands in the garage. The body was loose on the Mendeola chassis, I squared it up to the chassis running four hex screws into the chassis to temporary hold it in place. Removed 5/16" from the rear wheel well edges for increased tire side wall to body clearance.  My goal is the option of either use the fiberglass tonneau - roll bar & make it simple to change it out to the Stay Fast quarter boot. The trick is combining the top storage placement under the fiberglass tonneau while retaining the show bar horizontal framework, driver's hoop and faring in place. Engine is a new turnkey 2165cc with a custom built transmission I had specifically done for the engine and tire size match up.     

Today I went through all the extra cartons of goodies that came with it including hyd. pedals,  " Vintage Speed " shifter and much more. I started to install the windshield assembly so I could get an eyeball on how the top will fit as well as store but the chrome aluminum windshield frame was too thin of a gauge for my liking & I happen to have new VS frame here but the ID is different so I need to get the correct upper and lower rubbers.

That's it for now, we'll be headed to Florida for Turkey week on Monday & back on the project 12/ 2 and will begin mocking everything up before I remove the body from the chassis for paint is scheduled for about January 15th . The total build should take about five months to complete & then it will be made available, Hence no two year wait :~). I'm undecided as to color but considering Jaguar Vapor Gray Metallic . Photos to follow Comment if you want me to continue to do build updates.



speedster arden A

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Last edited by Alan Merklin
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Alan, just to be clear, Mendeola did not build the chassis.  The chassis is a Berrien Buggies chassis, now built by Acme Car Co in Pennsylvania.  The suspension is Mendeola, now built by Cool Rides Customs in California.  Hopefully this will help others in the future if they are looking for this kind of chassis/suspension setup for their car.

Discussion about this chassis is here: Chassis

and here:   Chassis2

Thanks for the clarification, it should have read "the Berrien square tube / Mendeola suspension chassis " ( I've edited it)  BTW the chassis wheelbase now measures......... 84 - 5/8"...the wheels look correct in the wheel well openings.  After I get around to pulling the body off the chassis I'll have an answer as to what was done to it.

Last edited by Alan Merklin

One of my wife Connie's first comments were: " Wow the wheels are centered,  that's a novelty" !

Update: It took me most of today just to make a PVC pipe steering shaft mockup, confirm the geometry & make the double universal steering shaft. Started w/ a 8-1/2  section of 7/8" solid stock to a VW 36 spine universal to come off the steering rack's splined shaft then a second double 7/8" press fit universal to the now shortened 14" VW column.

C4F8F4A6-3459-416F-9634-6704A97BF6F7

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Last edited by Alan Merklin


Update: It took me most of today just to make a PVC pipe steering shaft mockup, confirm the geometry & make the double universal steering shaft. Started w/ a 8-1/2  section of 7/8" solid stock to a VW 36 spine universal to come off the steering rack's splined shaft then a second double 7/8" press fit universal to the now shortened 14" VW column.

C4F8F4A6-3459-416F-9634-6704A97BF6F7

I'm proud to say that I was a consultant on this little project. 

And that's about the extreme of my technical ability...

I have a set of those side vents from the same guy who built that body. I'm just looking for somebody to install them.

We have a number of fiberglass boat repair places down here who can do it. I have worked with fiberglass before, but getting these on just right is more than I want to tackle.

It's the cutting that freaks me out.

Bob, Installing them will take day, on my speedster the vents are recessed and bolted to a recessed inner support panel, I can do measurements where they are positioned but the quarters on mt Speedster are 1" wider on each side than stock. For your install I would cut the openings slightly round the vent and body edges of the cut to give you a clean gap line. Then install sheet metal inner backing plate that would have 3/4" margin into the cut opening then gluing those to the inner quarter panel and glue the vents to backing plates with 3M Panel Bond or similar. Other option is to just run strips of fiberglass to the back side of the vent and inner quarter panels. I'll be glad to walk you through the process.

Last edited by Alan Merklin

Yeah, it's a 3 piece fiberglass system that will also require some tubing to the engine bay.

There's the visible vent on the body, an inner piece behind it that also directs flow towards the engine compartment, and a third piece that opens to the engine bay.

The tubing is required between the second and third components and there are several options for the type of tubing to be used.

Thanks for the direction, Alan!

I remember when I cut the air inlet hole for my heater in the side wall of the Frunk - Must have measured 12 times and then sat there and just looked at it for a couple of minutes, afraid to start.  I was cutting a 4" hole that had to be straight for the inlet of the heater, but cut into a panel that sloped inward top to bottom and inward left to right.  In the end, all I could do is hope my measurements were right, hold the drill saw straight and start cutting while afraid to look away.  I was afraid of the saw tearing into the paint and ripping the heck out of it.

After the "Cah-Nidge", I found I was about 1/8" off, which eventually was "adjusted" with a rasp, giving me 0" on the left and about 3/16" on the right.  Surprisingly, the saw gave a smooth edge and didn't scratch or tear the gel coat/paint (I was cutting pretty slow, too).

What to do?   I headed to Merklin's favorite DIY store and wandered around until I discovered a decor wall cover for a clothes dryer vent - even in white!  Popped that puppy on there with some decorative finish screws and "It loooks Mah-velous".  

So the short answer is - Take it to your boat guys!

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

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