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Just noticed the flared Speedster featured on the @SoCalSpeedster advertisement is one of mine that I built., The  picture in their photos also confirms the shaved dash brow.  No idea as to how it got there as last known was in Maryland~  I went back in my file and found this speedster project and I was wrong in the Chrysler color...The paint is 2010 Porsche 51A cream white.... not pearl white.  I sold the speedster on eBay to a guy in Australia, he shipped to his friend in California, Aussie found he couldn't import it, found a couple in MD and they bought it and shipped back to Maryland... I recall something about the oil cooler was damaged in all the transporting.  Now or sometime in the past it's said to be in back in California   .....aka The Traveling Speedster"

Last edited by Theron
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This car was in need of a restoration.  It was taken all the way down to the frame and given a fresh paint job.  All of the work was done in house by our builders.   I can provide the paint code for the exact color should anyone be interested.  The car turned out beautiful and went to a new home here in California.

Please post the photos you took prior to the restoration that your team did to this car.


SoCal, I can understand you being proud of a shop that's turning out such nice work.

You must have photos of the work being done on this extensive restoration and of other builds currently in progress.

Many of the membership here are themselves amateur builders, so we're always anxious to see how the 'pros' do it. Details of chassis prep, suspension and brake installation, fiberglass work, interior detailing, and your paint booth would all be of interest.

Are your builds done at the same location as the business address on your website? Those of us in the neighborhood might be interested in a tour, if that's possible.


Last edited by Sacto Mitch

It's progress shots we're asking for, not pictures of finished cars. You have a phone, I can only assume? One with a camera on it?

It's a business day. There's one quick way to stop the chatter and put the naysayers concerns to rest - just snap a couple of shots and post them to this site from your phone. Nobody's going to judge you buy the skill of the pictures you take.

You emphatically posted quote: " This car was in need of a restoration.  It was taken all the way down to the frame and given a fresh paint job.  All of the work was done in house by our builders".

You then walked that statement back passing responsibility on to Bevery Hills Inc. Quote: "This is the information I was given when I bought the business approximately 6 months ago"

Based on your statement of the facts, this is where creditability come into question,  clearly where the Integrity Flag should fly but, currently it's at half-mast.

Last edited by Alan Merklin

My credibility is of the utmost importance and I take pride in my professional reputation.  We are great shop building high quality replicas and I have invested a substantial amount in this venture.  I look forward to proving my value to this industry and to following my passion of designing, building and delivering custom 356 and 550's. 

@Stan Galat posted:

It's progress shots we're asking for, not pictures of finished cars. You have a phone, I can only assume? One with a camera on it?

It's a business day. There's one quick way to stop the chatter and put the naysayers concerns to rest - just snap a couple of shots and post them to this site from your phone. Nobody's going to judge you buy the skill of the pictures you take.


We're all excited whenever someone new enters the 'industry' end of our hobby; we've seen some pretty neat innovations from builders (even ones who have crashed and burned) over the years, and it's always fun to see people's imaginations at work.

THAT SAID, we have seen a number of guys come and go over those same years, so if you sense a little skepticism and even a touch of distrust, please understand why.  As Stan mentioned, professional quality pics aren't necessary- just a few cell phone shots of the shop and works in progress will go a long way to establishing some legitimacy here (and most of us will get a kick out of seeing another builder succeed!).  Al

Last edited by ALB

Here are some pics for you Stan.  And yes, I work in the shop and have been building and designing cars for many years.  I know this industry has seen its fair share of people who have been less than truthful.  I understand the skepticism.  I hope I am a success story despite the uphill battle we most certainly face.


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The Spyder you have on the web page is the first car I built in 1995 and was sold to Mark Weiss in San Diego . He had the car up until a few years ago and sold it to Carl of BHMC ..... why not use pictures of actual cars you have produced?

I was reading your website and was wondering why you are using the "Vintage Speedster" name all over the site? Kirk Duncan owns the Vintage Speedster Name as he was never fully paid for the Name Website and business from the guys in AZ.

On more thing... lets be honest Carl never built hundreds of cars he bought used cars did some paint and upholstery work and resold them. 


My BS meter is pegged.

Way back when, Daniel ------ had a business named Seduction Motorsports in Arizona. He finished bodies/frames that originated from Greg Leach's Vintage Spyders(now Vintage Motorcars Inc.) shop/factory.

I had the audacity to call him an assembler rather than a builder. A builder BUILDS the bodies at least, and fabricates a frame and/or shortens and refurbishes a pan. An assembler orders stuff and puts it together, or finds old cars and refurbishes them. Anyway, he blocked me from posting on "his" 550 page on FB. So I started my own, which is still running, moderated by me, Chris MacDonald, and Rudy from Canada. All three of us were frequent contributors on the now defunct Sorry for my historic ramblings.

Anyway, I feel maybe this is what is happening at the former BHMC? Same thing as Seduction, finish cars for people that originated somewhere else. Not a builder by my definition.

Last edited by Theron

My initial post was to simply mention that one of my builds was on your advertisement....period. For whatever reasoning, you chose to convey a less than truthful statement that, the speedster was in need of a full restoration and had been taken down to the frame. etc.  My take from the supplied "shop" photos is that nothing is being built, the reflections in the car paint and immediate surrounds further support same and other than some compound residue on the blue speedster tires no building is seen. Also noticed is a large floor fan in place to circulate all the hot air.    ~ One reaps what they sow ~

Last edited by Alan Merklin

Thanks for the pictures, SoCal. Putting them up a month ago would have helped your cause, and maybe headed off some of the resistance you're meeting here.

The pictures show 2 Spyders (one complete, one looking very much like a deluxe kit with running gear), one CMC wide body, one cream colored classic with 4-lug 190s, and multiple shots of the same blue classic with red interior. In addition, you've got at least 2 of what very much looks like Dr. Kleber's Spyder chassis in pallet-racking.

That's 5 cars, which is about what you said was presently in the shop at various stages. It proves you're at least an ongoing concern with some cars. Pictures of sweaty/dirty guys working away in SoCal tee-shirts would also help your cause, but this is better than a month of "it's coming". Pictures of finished cars are fine, but it's progress pictures that prove to people you're a shop and not a car lot.

Putting pictures of other people's finished cars on your page pegs the fraud-o-meter. Al and Greg's posts gives everybody a lot of pause. Like, "a lot" a lot.

At a minimum, the pictures seem to verify that you're not Vintage in Arizona or SAS in TN - you have a shop, it's open, and there are cars in it.

Beyond that, think of us as a pack of stray dogs who've been beaten by bad experiences in the past. Winning the crowd may take more time than it seems like it's worth - and maybe it is. But that's the lay of the land: lots and lots of sharks have cruised this harbor looking for chum, and we're all a bit skittish. Like strays, maybe we might sometimes bite when we shouldn't - but like a beaten dog, some of us would rather bite and ask questions later than be beaten again. I'm sure you understand.

Be honest. Post pictures. Lots and lots and lots of pictures. Pictures and an open door policy is the fastest way to win over a tough crowd.

Last edited by Stan Galat

How fun!  I don't have a dog in this fight, so I'll just stir it up from the cheap seats and pi$$ off everybody.

Alan, when you started this, in the opening post you raised a discrepancy between the color you painted the speedster and the color referenced by SoCal.

OK, then SoCal replied that the speedster had been refurbished and repainted by them, and that they could provide the color code.

Alan, you called them out by posting " Clearly you are mistaken, your in house builders did not restore this particular speedster" and then provided a link to your re-"manufacturing" of the speedster (btw, beautiful job).

OK, but I noticed when looking at the pictures of the speedster driven out of the garage after its re-manufacturing and the pictures of the speedster at SoCal that somewhere along the line the engine hood morphed from one vent grill to two vent grills.  That meant (to me) that Alan's hood was replaced.  And that meant (to me) that someone did a hell of a paint matching on the new hood to Alan's color, or the whole car was repainted.  And (to me) it would make perfectly good sense if I had the in-house (or contracted) ability to repaint the whole body, that's what I would do because it would also cover who knows what had accumulated since Alan's garage; like scratches, rock chips, fiberglass repairs, maybe even fire damage repairs that necessitated the hood replacement, etc., and best of all; add value to the resale.

I guess that when SoCal says the speedster was repainted and they and have the paint code, I'm not convinced they are "Clearly mistaken".  Conversely it seems logical that it would be repainted.

But the thread then drifted into thinly (barely) veiled questions of integrity and honesty.  And given what we have seen over the past few decades it is understandable why some of us knee-jerk to such conclusions.

After a month, SoCal was provoked by Stan to 'fess-up to the questions being asked.

SoCal said come to the shop, I'll show you everything.

Stan said "You have a phone, I can only assume? One with a camera on it?"

Within only 2 hours SoCal posted snapshots from what they claim is their facility.  This looks like the 'real deal' to me.  Obviously there has been a significant start-up investment.  The immediate production of new vehicles is visibly organized and poised to proceed.  SoCal says cars are already the process of production, and from the pictures, that clearly appears to be true.

But then Danny's "BS Meter" got pegged.  I'm sorry Danny, we almost never disagree, but I don't see a lot of BS in anything SoCal posted on this thread.  He answered each question and visually proved the answers to be true.  To Greg's point, the SoCal website needs to be cleaned up (a lot), but that is an issue on its own.  If your issue is manufacturer vs. builder vs. assembler, that just seems like semantics; I look at SoCal's pictures and come to the conclusion that SoCal is all-of-the-above and the words are interchangeable.

I say "so what" if SoCal outsources the body shells, chassis, engines, paint and all the other little gadgets like brakes and gauges.  How much of that differs from the Big 2 during their startup?  How much of that is still the same for them even today?  For one thing, you have to be out of your mind to have an in-house boutique paint shop in CA just for speedsters and spyders.

I think SoCal has been forthright and honest in their response on this thread.  If they cleaned up their website it would really further full confidence in their credibility.  I suppose if I were looking at a 2 year wait for a spyder at the same time I was iooking at those bodies and chassis w/ kitted component totes just sitting on the pallet racks at SoCal I might be inclined to give them a call and ask "how long for the one on the 2nd shelf to roll out the door, in silver?  (Although white is also nice, right?.)

Last edited by RS-60 mark

Thank you all for your comments.   SoCal is here to stay and we look forward to proving ourselves to those who value what we do.  I'm happy to have conversations with anyone (760-910-6438) who would like to inquire about our business, including having a car built by my company.  I started in this business because this has been a dream of mine for many years.  We have our own process which will most definitely evolve over time.   We are currently building Speedsters and Spyders and will shortly make kits available to those who wish to build their own.

I love cars and this is more than a business for me.   We have had some great customers in the short period I have been in this industry and I look forward to hopefully meeting/speaking to many of you as we continue to grow in this market.

Thank you,


i cant help but be curious...and inquiring minds need to know...i wonder if the SoCal owner being in such close proximity in vista to the san marcos  JPS taj mahal of dr jekyll have given each other tours of their respective buildings?....not sure that's in the DNA of mr hyde....but sad to say i was not a psychology major in college

Also, I really have no dog in this fight, and can only offer up that next month I plan to be in LA area and would certainly take the time to drop in on this SoCal enterprise and see what they offer.  I think I can see where once upon a time Merklin "refurbished" a pretty nice car, and added some of his signature tweaks.  That's what Alan does: he buys cars either in distress or kits, has an excellent nose for a bargain, and a simply superb eye for what is truly cool. I'm pretty sure he sells each of his creations at a profit. He has inflicted this "eye" on many a project with all sorts of starting points.  Most recently, and maybe most successfully, he has focused on VW based Speedsters.  Alan has a motor guy, a transmission guy, a paint guy, and maybe one or two other "guys" (subcontractors) who he pays to produce some of the magic that is a Merklin re-do. Usually one at a time, out of his garage.  I guess using strict adherence to semantics we would not say Alan is a "builder", like Intermecanica, JPS, Special Editions, or Vintage are "builders".  They are all much larger enterprises, do some serious designing and building, and produce cars under their own brand.  They are builders.  SE also does refurbishments, mostly (exclusively??) of cars they have previously built, then they take back and spruce up and resell as used cars, with a certain warranty.  In this sense, they in fact have a "car lot" also. They do what Alan does one at a time.  It is possible that SoCal got the car that Alan refurbished some time ago, and found that by their standards it needed another refurb.  Which could have only involved a good vacuuming and new paint.  Or a different engine hood. Without further info from the principles nobody can say.

Does SoCal just buy used cars then fix 'em up and resell them?  Or do they salvage VWs, strip them, use the pans and suspension parts plus other new aftermarket stuff, buy splashed FG shells from folks who make those, and cut, weld, and fit all the other stuff from wherever to produce a "new" car.  Do they build-to-spec turn-key cars custom ordered by  buyers willing to wait for how long that takes? Frankly, I can't tell even from all that has gone down here what the answers to those questions might be.   Maybe the answer is: All of the above, but just not in very large numbers ... yet.

Mr SoCal sounds very sincere, and also a little too much like a salesman, using spit and polish words to paint as pretty a picture as possible.  And so some BS needles whip over to the right near the peg. But I think he has to do that marketing. .  If he can't sell anything, he can't keep this business, so marketing in key.  He rightly assesses this Forum as a vital outlet for information and exposure to his market, so is currying favor here.  Fine and dandy, so long as he shoots straight;  we do not cotton to hucksters.   I would cut him some slack on the Madison Avenue-speak IF he also does the right fit and finish on the products (regardless of the origin of those products) , plus has the no-bull-**** customer service to keep owners happy.  As the man said: we are indeed a tough crowd.  If you measure up and earn the trust, you will find very warm welcome and unflinching support  here.

So, no dog in the fight, as i'm not looking to buy a Speedster (already have one) and only wish the best for my fellow (and prospective) SOCers. Any forthright new builder/refurbisher who would wish to be part of the community should  find us quite agreeable.   

As you can see, everyone here is very protective of our little niche industry... and quite frankly probably tired of seeing people taken from their hard earned money.  I am not saying that @SoCalSpeedster falls into that scammer category at all, BUT I also don't believe that the failed companies set out to scam people (except one that is clearly a ponzi).

I think where most take issue is that you came on and started by calling yourself a "leading manufacturer" for over 15 years...  I know many here had an issue with the new Vintage in AZ staking claim to the old Vintage's 3300+ car and 30+ year history, despite no one in the new building having build cars for very long.  In your case you're laying "manufacturer" claim because you acquired a company that sold used cars, in some cases "restoring" those used cars, swapping engines, interiors, whatever.  In later years they bought a few kits from the various manufacturers and private labeled them as their own.  Lots do this, but a manufacturer does not make...  Those of us that have been around for many years can look at the spyder chassis pictures posted, know exactly what they were copied from and who is making them in Mexico currently.  Same goes for the speedsters, there are several "tells" in fender shape, headlight placement, bumper shape, to name a few.  I am one of the guys who feel there is a place in this industry for many companies, entry level to top tier, and only time will put you in your proper seat.  So that said, I wish you good luck.

Now... where I have personal issue is far deeper than that and it probably boils down to "you don't know what you don't know".  Sir, I count no less than 8 separate times on your website that could potentially get you shut down and bring additional (unwanted) attention to our little industry.  As a savy businessman you can do some research and figure out what these are, I'm not here to teach and those of us that have truly been here for a LONG time took our licks and have since healed our wounds.

In summation, I truly do wish you good luck in your venture, its a long and expensive uphill battle, especially if you don't figure some things out pretty quickly... time will tell.

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