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The names are what complicates and confuses things.

First, there was Vintage Speedsters: Kirk and Mary Duncan, with a shop in Hawaiian Gardens. VS was the 900 lb gorilla of the replica Speedster jungle- they built over 3000 cars, hundreds per year, with about a one month wait. They were built quickly, to a price point. They were nice looking cars, with some issues baked into the process mostly as the result of the pace at which they were built.

There was a young man who shared shop space with Kirk and Mary in the 90s named Greg Leech. Greg also built replicas -- replica Spyders, and he called his company Vintage Spyders. Eventually, Greg moved out and renamed his company "Vintage Motorcars of California". He added Speedsters and coupes to his lineup, although production was very limited.

Things rolled along like this for many years until Kirk and Mary were ready to retire. They sold to some guys from AZ, who renamed the company "Vintage Motorcar" (no "s") and initially kept production at the facility in California. There was a falling out with the employees over holiday pay, and the new owners made the fateful decision to move production to AZ.

Greg Leech saw an opportunity and seized it. Greg moved his company into the old Vintage Speedsters facility and rehired the old production crew. The company in AZ eventually sold.

It's not been all roses for anyone involved. The company in AZ built a few cars, then folded. Greg's company (Vintage Motorcars) was swamped with custom orders and fell way, way behind on production. Eventually, Greg stopped taking orders for coupes and Spyders, and stopped offering Subaru drivetrains as an option. At the same time, the value of his cars skyrocketed -- due to the law of supply and demand, but also due to the rise of Bring an Trailer and a dealer named Cloud 9 in Atlanta, who found a market with no upward limit on BaT. There was also the happy confluence of Intermeccanica going into the electric car business and eventually exiting the replica Speedster business, further choking the supply.

At this point, there are guys on this board who have been waiting on special cars (Spyders, coupes, and Subaru cars) from VMC who were promised a spot in the queue before orders were shut off) for more than 3 YEARS. At the same time, standard air-cooled Speedster builds have been in steady production and bringing long money on the open market. A choked supply and deep confusion over the names (Vintage Speedster, Vintage Motorcar, and Vintage Motorcars) has caused all of the cars to rise in value, as much as 300% over the last several years. None of this is helpful for the guys waiting in the VMC queue.

I'm not sure what you're after, but this is the lay of the land. A "Hawaiian Gardens" Speedsters means nothing, as it might be a Kirk and Mary Speedster built with some haste to a price-point... or a VMC car, built with better stuff, with price as no object.

Almost nobody will speak plainly to the point, because there is a vested interest in not rocking the boat. I have the car I want, and no dog in the hunt -- but that's the lay of the land. It's not like dropping by the Chevy lot and picking out a new Silverado.

Good luck.

Last edited by Stan Galat

I'll add a bit to Stan's summary.  While production hasn't kept up with demand, VMC is known for good support for its customers, past and present.  There is an alternative with Special Edition in Indiana, who builds the Beck cars.  They are also know for stellar support and their cars have more modern custom chassis and more choices (Speedster, Spyder, 356C Coupe, 904 GTS) but their queue is also 3-ish years and their cars are a bit more expensive than VMC.

Those are the only two builders that most of us can recommend.

I appreciate your thoughts, Gentlemen! I love cars, I love the speedster. I have an opportunity to purchase one, built in 2014, so my research appears that it was Kirk and Mary’s VS that built the car. However, being a “car guy” the possibility of me owning it and then selling it a few years later is high. Trying to see the future here!

Thank you much!

@GolfinIan posted:

I appreciate your thoughts, Gentlemen! I love cars, I love the speedster. I have an opportunity to purchase one, built in 2014, so my research appears that it was Kirk and Mary’s VS that built the car. However, being a “car guy” the possibility of me owning it and then selling it a few years later is high. Trying to see the future here!

Thank you much!

The short answer is that until now, it's been very hard to get hurt on these cars.

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With any 10-year-old car, how it's been driven and maintained is probably more important than what it was like when new, but even more so with these cars.

And how happy you are with it, no matter what shape it's in, will have more to do with you than with the car. How much you know about air-cooled VW's. How comfortable you are wrenching on cars. What your driving expectations are for a car like this, which is about as different from a modern, mass-produced car as it can be.

I have a 2013 Kirk and Mary VS which I've owned since new. My wife and I both love this car and drive it a lot locally and on out of town trips. We have no plans to sell. But I knew what to expect (sort of) going in, was willing to do what was needed to make the car what I wanted, and have never looked back.

Because of unexpected turns in the market, the car is actually worth more than what I paid, although nowhere near as much as what I've put into it over the years. If you're very lucky, find a car that's been very well maintained, and pay a fair price for it, you just might sort of break even selling in a few years. But don't count on it. The simplest answer to your question is no, the term 'Hawaiian Gardens'  has no special meaning in the marketplace. Only a very few will know what that means, and then, it might lower the value in their eyes as much as raise it.

If you're looking for a fun drive with an eye to selling it easily in a few years, something that's a known quantity, you'd be much better off with a Miata or a Boxster, or if you must have a Speedster, with a recent Beck or VMC.

If you can tell us more about the car you're looking at (or better yet, provide pictures and a web link) there will be more than a few opinions here about the car's worth. But, again, if we know a little more about you — your experience with cars and your expectations — we can be more helpful.

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Last edited by Sacto Mitch
@Stan Galat posted:

The names are what complicates and confuses things.

First, there was Vintage Speedsters: Kirk and Mary Duncan, with a shop in Hawaiian Gardens. VS was the 900 lb gorilla of the replica Speedster jungle- they built over 3000 cars, hundreds per year, with about a one month wait. They were built quickly, to a price point. They were nice looking cars, with some issues baked into the process mostly as the result of the pace at which they were built.

There was a young man who shared shop space with Kirk and Mary in the 90s named Greg Leech. Greg also built replicas -- replica Spyders, and he called his company Vintage Spyders. Eventually, Greg moved out and renamed his company "Vintage Motorcars of California". He added Speedsters and coupes to his lineup, although production was very limited.

Things rolled along like this for many years until Kirk and Mary were ready to retire. They sold to some guys from AZ, who renamed the company "Vintage Motorcar" (no "s") and initially kept production at the facility in California. There was a falling out with the employees over holiday pay, and the new owners made the fateful decision to move production to AZ.

Greg Leech saw an opportunity and seized it. Greg moved his company into the old Vintage Speedsters facility and rehired the old production crew. The company in AZ eventually sold.

It's not been all roses for anyone involved. The company in AZ built a few cars, then folded. Greg's company (Vintage Motorcars) was swamped with custom orders and fell way, way behind on production. Eventually, Greg stopped taking orders for coupes and Spyders, and stopped offering Subaru drivetrains as an option. At the same time, the value of his cars skyrocketed -- due to the law of supply and demand, but also due to the rise of Bring an Trailer and a dealer named Cloud 9 in Atlanta, who found a market with no upward limit on BaT. There was also the happy confluence of Intermeccanica going into the electric car business and eventually exiting the replica Speedster business, further choking the supply.

At this point, there are guys on this board who have been waiting on special cars (Spyders, coupes, and Subaru cars) from VMC who were promised a spot in the queue before orders were shut off) for more than 3 YEARS. At the same time, standard air-cooled Speedster builds have been in steady production and bringing long money on the open market. A choked supply and deep confusion over the names (Vintage Speedster, Vintage Motorcar, and Vintage Motorcars) has caused all of the cars to rise in value, as much as 300% over the last several years. None of this is helpful for the guys waiting in the VMC queue.

I'm not sure what you're after, but this is the lay of the land. A "Hawaiian Gardens" Speedsters means nothing, as it might be a Kirk and Mary Speedster built with some haste to a price-point... or a VMC car, built with better stuff, with price as no object.

Almost nobody will speak plainly to the point, because there is a vested interest in not rocking the boat. I have the car I want, and no dog in the hunt -- but that's the lay of the land. It's not like dropping by the Chevy lot and picking out a new Silverado.

Good luck.

I knew Greg stopped building Subies and Spyders etc but didn't realize that those in the que were never delivered or refunded. If you're going to cut off new orders, isn't it incumbent on you to either finish orders currently under deposit or refund said deposits?

I personally believe there's not a never ending supply of new buyers for one motor option 60-70K air cooled replicas and prices will eventually fall off and perhaps, hard. I know it's not the very best time of year (but hardly mid-Winter) and a few of them in a row have resulted in reserve not met outcomes on BAT

Yeah, about that @WNGD.

Greg only had a couple Subie builds in the queue when he made the call to stop building Subie-powered cars. He spoke with these people who either canceled their order or changed to aircooled power.

The coupes are done as far as I know, no orders and no production.

The couple Spyders left are there as the customers want IRS rear and wanted independent front also, but the space up there is tight. I'm sure it could be done but requires an entirely new frame to be made and will require some different fiberglass molds for the unseen trunk and footwell portions up front. The couple remaining orders for Spyders will be filled(Bruce and Rick), I spoke to Greg in March. They will be beam front with rack and pinion steering and IRS/coilover rear.

There is no problem here for y'all to worry about or stick your outrage into.

Also, I believe Greg Leach didn't build any Speedsters until he moved BACK to Hawaiian Gardens after Kirk and Mary sold. I pretty sure that once VS was sold to the original AZ guy the business never re-opened in California until Greg moved back in.

Greg originally only built Spyders from 1990-something until 2010 or so. Then he added the pre-A coupe on a shortened pan.

Greg's Speedsters have a very nice level of fit and finish, like my 2016 Spyder, which is gorgeous. Kirk and Mary built great cars, but they aren't as nice as when Greg took over.

@Sacto Mitch - I am comfortable with a wrench in my hand. Although, I know nothing about VW air-cooled. But I am fine learning. Google is great!

The car is a 1915 cc, front disk, rear drums, no IRS. Not sure what else to look for. It checks my boxes for colors. Has 7500 miles.

I have owned Porsches, but not a Speedster. Although, this is more of a VW. I know we cannot see the future, but just not looking for a money-pit.

Is brand new really worth $30k more?

It sounds like you're looking at the prototypical VS of that era. If it's in decent shape and you like the colors, that's pretty huge.

The cars were built for spirited cruising, not balls-out hooning -- and were set up to be adequate to the task. Asking more of them pushes them into places where they are not comfortable. 95% of the buyers found them to be perfectly adequate: spritely enough for a brisk drive though the countryside, but a handful if pushed past the normal limits.

If the car has a "freeway flier" (3.88 R/P), you'll like it even more. A sizeable number of VS cars had that as an option, but a lot didn't.

Very nearly all of Kirk's cars were swing axle -- even when the pan was IRS, he converted it to swing axle in the interest of KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). The 1915s he installed were stock engines with a bigger cylinder set -- stock cam, stock crank, stock heads -- so there's not nearly as much of a bump in power as you'd expect. For 15 years, the conventional wisdom here was that front disc/rear drum brakes were 100% adequate.

IRS and a more powerful engine and better brakes definitely enhance the experience at the limit, but not necessarily before that limit.

If you found a Vintage Speedster you like for a price you think is fair, I wouldn't hesitate to buy it. If you want a car with different options, there's nothing that says you can't buy a new one once you have a few seasons with a used car under your butt. You won't take a 50% hit on it if you play it like that.

I hope this helps.

@GolfinIan posted:

@Sacto Mitch - I am comfortable with a wrench in my hand. Although, I know nothing about VW air-cooled. But I am fine learning. Google is great!

The car is a 1915 cc, front disk, rear drums, no IRS. Not sure what else to look for. It checks my boxes for colors. Has 7500 miles.

I have owned Porsches, but not a Speedster. Although, this is more of a VW. I know we cannot see the future, but just not looking for a money-pit.

Is brand new really worth $30k more?

I too own a 2013 Vintage Speedster built in Hawaiian Gardens by Kirk.  I purchased the car in 2017 with around 3,000mi on the odometer (I believe).  I haven't checked in awhile, but I bet I have around 18,000mi on it now.

I'm hesitant to write this, in fears that something bad may happen.  But I consider myself to be very fortunate.  I really have had no issues at all.  With the exception of the dry sump I installed, everything else I procured has been cosmetic: new Porsche asymmetrical lenses, new Porsche windshield wipers, the horn grill gaskets VS leaves off, bumperettes, New Bosche ignition (only to have a real key and not a luggage key), Tenax fasteners (which incidentally cost as much as the full tonneau)....just to name a few.  

If you haven't driven one, please do. If you are buying it for you and your significant other to enjoy, make sure they do the test drive as well.  There's a reason why so many low mileage speedsters are for sale.  The romance of the car quickly dies, for those not ready to take the plunge on a 4-wheeled motorcycle.  The wind essentially hits your head in every direction.....making smoking a cigar while driving a bit more difficult.  I highly recommend AirPods.  They have made longer trips in the speedster more enjoyable without the constant wind noise. My wife doesn't mind local roads in ours, but anything over 35 mph she's not having it.  Although as an aside, she said she'll do the rally with me in May.  Let's see how that goes.

After awhile, your left foot starts looking for a convenient place to rest.  For most of us, that opportunity is not present.

I actually like the rawness of the car.  Getting back to the basics.  I have a 1915cc in mine.  It's not the fastest on the street, but not the slowest either.  I'm able to keep pace in the rallies I attend with the likes of Ferrari, Aston Martin, Austin Healey, and Jaguar.  Of course if a few wanted, they could smoke me, but in a rally, the speedster can hold its own.



So, in summary, before plunking down the tens of thousands for one, try to test drive one first.....to see if the car is really for you.  

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One thing that no one's mentioned.

I notice you're near Denver. If the car is being shipped to you from almost anywhere else in the country, the altitude difference will require a substantial retune of the carburetors, and probably some new carb jets.

Not a big deal if you've monkeyed with carbs before, but another thing to consider if you haven't.

Also, if you're a stranger to things aircooled, now might be a good time to contact the local classic VW community for some help finding nearby mechanics, parts sources, etc. (or even other cars for sale). These folks are usually interested in our cars (more than the Porsche community) and willing to help. It's always a good idea seeking them out, but especially before you write any checks.

As a rule, when I wrench on things, they end up worse for the experience and I end up poorer. Finding a highly skilled VW mechanic nearby has made it possible for me to keep a Speedster and to stay happily married for the past ten years.

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These cars are simply re-bodied VW Beetles.  Maybe with more potent engines, but still Beetles underneath.  That’s why Mitch mentioned contacting local VW clubs, because they can be your source of information on good local mechanics, local (and national) sources of parts and so forth, not to mention local shows and cars and coffee events to attend.

Try googling air cooled volkswagen clubs near aurora, co

And see what pops up in your neck of the woods that might be helpful as you get into this madness.  

Great advice shared by owners who are always there to help with guidance, wisdom, and lessons learned to teach and enhance new owners ownership experience.

i too own and enjoy a 2013 VS build by Kirk & Mary ( since 2013) 1915cc/3:88 trani, now with more miles on the odometer than any of our daily drivers.   If you come into the hobby with full knowledge and clear expectations of what these cars are and the love they need to keep them healthy you will not be disappointed in the ownership experience.   Like a vacation, the value is in the joy the car brings you not the $$ spent.  They really are 1960 beetles dressed up as a 1950s sports car.


Find local owners and test drive as many/ much as possible, ( seems like my car gets a couple hundred miles of test drives every spring by interested  potential owners…. I invite them to  local Sunday cruises and let them drive me around … I say it’s a 50/50 love/hate the experience. It’s not uncommon for people expecting a speedster to drive like the modern sports car they show up in… when it’s more like a 4 wheeled motorcycle ;-). Spend some time with local owners hearing their ownership experiences, and pros/cons of the resources available to them/you locally.  

Hopefully this helps…. Welcome to the madness that is this hobby.

@GolfinIan Don’t know where you are in relation to downtown, but when I lived in Denver Bob Storz was the guy. His shop is on Colfax and Vine and although it’s been 20 years since he did a PPI on my 968, there are somewhat current reviews on the shop.

He’s a Porsche guy, but he may (or may not) want to help you out. Or recommend someone else who can.  In fact, when I lived in Denver in the 90’s, I went to his old shop to pick up some parts for my 912 and he had Janis Joplin’s 356 in for a fluid change and tune up. (Her sister lived in Boulder)

https://nicelocal.com/denver/a...ervice/storz_garage/

@GolfinIan posted:

Thank you, Bill.

I have been a part of other forums, but the passion and advice from this one post is the best I’ve seen. I hope when I do pull the trigger that the help when I have issues is the same! 😂

You just found the nugget of gold.  Back in 2004 when I started looking for a hobby car I was not particularly interested in Speedsters, but one trip to Carlisle in '05 and hanging with the Speedster folks convinced me.  Consider the people you'll be spending time with and asking for advice from as an important part of your purchase decision.  These are great folks.

Yeah, we're awesome like that.

We're a friendly lot, and try to keep things that way. As diverse as we are, we do a pretty good job of opining and drifting and engaging in friendly banter in a way that FB (populated as it is by a world full of self-promoting blowhards) never seems to be able to pull off.

We can offer opinions, but I'd caution you to take it as advice rather than as gospel. At the end of the day, the buck stops with you and you alone. You are the mechanic and the warranty department.

Over the years, there have been some spectacularly bad recommendations -- people speaking authoritatively about things they've never done and parts or cars they've never purchased. Take everything with a grain of salt and trust your eyes (does the guy talking have a working car? Does he do the work himself? Has he been in the hobby for a while? Is his information current?). One dude who came and went built a spectacularly bad car, and told us he was only here to show us how it was done. It was easy to write him off, but there are subtler bits of misinformation -- advice from 20 years ago, half-truths repeated until they are gospel, etc.

For example, does a BlazeCut®(TM) REALLY work to put out an engine fire? Nobody has ever seen it to report back either way. Similarly, is a plastic fuel filter in the engine compartment any more prone to burn your car to the ground than a rubber hose or a leaking fitting? Probably not -- but that doesn't stop us from repeating an old saw over and over and over. Internet advice is often worth what you pay for it.

Above all, don't buy stuff on faith. I've done that WAY too many times and it's bitten me more times than not. Unfortunately, no small number of people who "serve" this hobby are straight-up thieves, and even the good guys (and we can tell you who they are) are all small businesses who may (or may not) be optimistic with timelines and prices. Go and visit places of business, even if you're on the opposite coast and it's a hassle -- because trading in this hobby is more akin to buying a piece of art than buying a washing machine or a Camaro. You don't need to see the factory where your blow-dryer was made, but you do want to see the shop your pride and joy is supposed to be coming out of. Doing this would have saved me many tens of thousands of dollars along the way.

Everybody kind of backs into this hobby and we're all a bit weird in our own way. Normal people buy normal cars -- an Audi or a Z06 are not something that requires 20 minutes to explain, but it also won't form a flash-mob at the C-store when you're trying to buy a fountain drink and soft pretzel.

I hope you buy one. You seem like a solid dude.

Last edited by Stan Galat

Thank you @GolfinIan - sorry missed your name. As I was told by the boys at Special Edition (Beck) they may the most expensive cup holders ever put in a car. Between CAD time and machining it was a bit comical.

Listen to the advice given. I purchased a used Beck in 2012 and drove it for 4 summers figuring out A) did I like driving 60 year old technology and B) if so what would I change. I ended up selling the car in 2016 (without losing money) and having them build my dream car.

Best of luck, sounds like your head is in the right space for the madness.

@GolfinIan

As you have discovered, this site is a conglomeration of gear heads from all walks of life: Doctors, lawyers, mastercraftsmen, blue collar, white collar, physicists, rocket scientist, master mechanics, etc. Additionally, many on here have also currently or previously owned various Porsches and hot rods..

We're a forum that functions like hanging-out-on-the-back-porch-shooting-the-$hit-with-a-bunch-of-your-.buddies. We also gather at various parts of the country, like Carlisle, PA; Lake Tahoe, Smokie Mountains, Central California Coast, etc.

"Welcome To The Madness" known as replicar ownership. Here's a short video of that comaraderie;

@MusbJim posted:

@GolfinIan

As you have discovered, this site is a conglomeration of gear heads from all walks of life: Doctors, lawyers, mastercraftsmen, blue collar, white collar, physicists, rocket scientist, master mechanics, etc. Additionally, many on here have also currently or previously owned various Porsches and hot rods..

We're a forum that functions like hanging-out-on-the-back-porch-shooting-the-$hit-with-a-bunch-of-your-.buddies. We also gather at various parts of the country, like Carlisle, PA; Lake Tahoe, Smokie Mountains, Central California Coast, etc.

"Welcome To The Madness" known as replicar ownership. Here's a short video of that comaraderie;

@GolfinIan  Jim’s best video that he has produced is the one showing how to pack for such a meet up.

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