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At the risk of stirring the green coupe stuff up all over again I am posing the question I am now facing and looking for opinions. JPS HAS offered to ship the car back but wants some money ($800) on the line to do so. I have gotten some advice so far, but would like to hear form others . . .

What would YOU do if it were yours?

A: Pay another $800 to JPS to have the car shipped back to have repairs done (many that were not addressed the last time it was shipped back) on the PROMISE that you will be reimbursed for the $800 - IF - the problems are the responsibility of JPS (as determined solely by JPS). Why the $800? In John Steele
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At the risk of stirring the green coupe stuff up all over again I am posing the question I am now facing and looking for opinions. JPS HAS offered to ship the car back but wants some money ($800) on the line to do so. I have gotten some advice so far, but would like to hear form others . . .

What would YOU do if it were yours?

A: Pay another $800 to JPS to have the car shipped back to have repairs done (many that were not addressed the last time it was shipped back) on the PROMISE that you will be reimbursed for the $800 - IF - the problems are the responsibility of JPS (as determined solely by JPS). Why the $800? In John Steele
I would take the East Coast Bunch up on their offer and do it at your place. It may well cost less than the $800 shipping charge, fix things more quickly and with less frustration, provide more permanent solutions, and provide you with a fun weekend gathering. I think taking control of things locally, instead of letting someone else control from across the country, would give you much more peace of mind. You can trust the folks who've volunteered to help to know the proper way to correct your problems, and to take pride in doing it correctly. Just my humble opinion.
Three possibilities:

1. Ask JPS if they would pay the local shop for agreed upon repairs (local shop to advise JPS what will be done). After which you would sign a release for JPS.

2. Ask JPS if they would buy the coupe back.

3. Check with Kit Car Magazine or Kit Car Builder magazine and see if they would like to do an article and repair project with your car.


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IF this were my baby, I would take Nolan's excellent advice and contact the kit car based magazines both here and in England regarding the project. Don't mention the problems, but somewhat make them aware of the teething process that goes on behind the scenes when a prototype is taken all the way to production. It would make a wonderful article. Just no name calling or dirt kickin'

Then . . . and I just can't believe that I'm typing this . . . I would give the manufacturer another chance.

I kinda think that the publicity is driving this into an unexpected area and they might do a good job of it finally. More importantly though, right now it's still a documented JPS Coupe. Nobody has touched it as yet, it's under whatever "factory warranty" exists (or doesn't) and it's got added value, monetarily and historically, because of what it is. One of the first!

Granted it IS more of a prototype than a production model, but there is considerable worth, value, cache' in that as well. The earliest versions of everything, from automobiles to antique stoves, are always more desirable. Your car falls into this "prototype" category.

Before I would let it become a shop class project, I would honestly try to keep it as a "factory product."

Consider this, If JPS ever builds a coupe and takes it racing and it does well in class, and more orders come in for wilder and more purpose built cars, and the street cars become ever better built, your car will have it's place in the history of it all. In a way, like those first TVRs or Lotus' or Devins or Cheetahs.

And right now it's "an all original, unmolested example," folks just LOVE looking at the details that went into building "those early cars."

Certainly, give the "factory" another chance. The chimps will always be there waitin' . . .
I would lean toward Nolan's #1, because we know that John won't buy the thing back AND none of the kit car magazines who have run glowing articles about JPS in the past will touch a "Fix the Green JPS Coupe" article and potentially make a past magazine celebrity and paying advertiser look bad, right?

So that leaves getting a shop local to Tom to specify the work needed, getting John to agree to the work needed and payment schedules and then getting it all done. BTW: I know for a fact that Henry at IM does this whenever it makes sense, and I suspect that Carey at Special Edition does so, too. Nothing new there.

Will this work in this case? That's yet to be seen, and there's a lot to be leary about in that deal.

I would still put my money on the fellow Speedster/Spyder owners on the Mid-Atlantic Coast to come through and "Git R Dun!" I've already estimated the potential parts cost to be well under the $800 Tom would be out just for the shipping, before anything gets done, PLUS he would be out of the car for at least two weeks (a week each way, plus however long John keeps it) and it's ALWAYS to make things happen when the car is 3000 miles away, right?

It would be cheaper IMHO, to keep the thing back East, get folks workin' on it and fix it incrementally over the Summer - and, of course, document what gets done, too.
Tom - Based on your own comments the past six months, I don't think it would be a good idea to send the car back to JPS to fix. If, in your own words, they are "minor individually and major in aggregate" (1/23/08), why send it back to the West Coast. I am sure JPS will say some of the fixes are your responsibility and use up the $800. Use the $800 for parts at your end and get it done in your backyard. Whether that means the guys who have offered to help or someone JPS agrees to contract with. Tom, you have been talking about minor fixes since December 2007. I think you're right, maybe some of those minor fixes slipped by the first time around. Could be that some of those things you thought ought to be fixed were just the normal build for JPS, who knows. I do think you are very dissatisfied with JPS. I don't think that is going to change, no matter what JPS does for your car. I think sending the car back will just prolong this ordeal. If you really want to fix it right, whether to keep it or sell it, do it at home and chalk this thing up to a learning experience. Good Luck!
Never pour good money into a bad project. I would recommend you keep your $800 and use that money working with the Fix The Green Coupe gang. Your desired outcome is to fix the car of your dreams, not to enhance JPS's image.

As I've always heard that doing the same things over and over and expecting the results to be different is the definition of insanity.

Enjoy your car!
Tom-I don't own a speedster(not yet) but I have been following your saga.You have to be realistic in deciding what you're going to get out of this. You obviously have a negative opinion of John Steele and I believe he has a negative opinion of you. You could go ahead and pay him the $800 dollars to have the car back to him. The question is do you really believe that he is going to admit(based on your correspondence back and forth)to all the problems with the car are his fault? He might admit to some of them. In that case you have to conclude that you will not get all of your $800 back. I'm sure that he will try and improve on some things based on his accumulated experience. The question to you is it worth the time and expense and will you get what you are after?He wants you to sign a hold harmless agreement and then wants this relationship and his responsibility to go away. If you go through with this you could be out some money and still not have the car the way you want it.
Boy this is a tough one. My gut tells me to send it back and give John another crack at it. With email and phone conversations you could ask him to send you pics of the problem areas and you two can discuss solutions ect.... I think we'd all like to see this situation come to a happy ending for all involved (mostly Tom and John). Then if it's still not right, TC said it first, the chimps will still be here waiting to help. I know it's a long time without your car and I know this has been an ordeal for you Tom, but think of the opportunity you have here; you can be a good soul and give John another chance to improve your car and save his somewhat tarnished reputation. Wouldn't you like to be the "better man"? It just sucks that your even faced with this but it is what it is so make the best of it.

1)Keep the car.
2)Make a list of all the parts you need to fix the car locally.
3)Send the list to John and ask him to fill the order.
4)Do the work locally once you receive the parts.
5)Send John the bill for any work performed by a licensed mechanic.

Even if you have a professional do the repairs, I doubt it would cost $800.00. Hopefully, JPS will reimburse you for at least some of your out-of -pocket expenses.
If Gerd is right and John has figured out how to fix the leak then he can explain it in an email or over the phone.

Do not send the car back.
I told you before not to send the car back, and I don't mean that as a reflection on JPS at all. People do there best or not, but that doesn't mean it is good enough for what you want. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Aren't you on number three or four at this point?

Hold Harmless? Do you really understand the total implication of that kind of agreement? Heck you could send the car back to him and never, ever get it back. You held him harmless, so you would have no recourse.

All of these builders, want to pretend that they have some, ancient chinese secret to building these cars, but in reality they don't.

The guys locally will do a better job, and with a lot less frustration and money. You will never see the 800 again, and you won't be any more satisfied.

You would be absolutely crazy to send it back.

As for the arguments regarding value and it being the first one and such, that is just plain silly. It is a replica, it will never be collectible in any regard whatsoever. Heck, even if the argument had validity, who on this earth would ever know which things on the car were done by JPS and which were done by someone else?
The technical issues not withstanding, you pay $ 800 to ship YOUR car back to someone you don't have a very good raport with at the moment. What if you have more disputes when he says he's done and you say he isn't? He's got YOUR car and your $ 800. Doesn't smell like a win/win situation to me.

With all due respect, without seeing the car and exactly where it's leaking, how in the hell can he definitively say he "knows how to fix it?" Did he know it was leaking before he shipped it and simply said "to hell with it" and shipped it anyway? Maybe, but I doubt it (but that is sort-of implied by his comment to you).

This is a "rework" operation. He would have to do the same as anyone else; splash some water up in there with a hose or (better) a pressure washer and see if it shows up inside or (a little more intelligently) shine a bright light along the outside of the seam(s) and see where it infiltrates the cockpit.

Once you find the source of the leaks (and, for that much water on BOTH sides of the central tunnel, there must be several leaks, not one), and depending on where and how it's leaking, only then can you determine a plan to stop the leaks.

Tom: Asking what you should do on here is like asking what color you should paint your car - EVERYONE has an opinion, but only YOU have to live with the end result.

Steve wrote an insightful post. Listen to him and a number of others of us who are telling you to cut your losses, devote your $800 to necessary parts and let your capable friends make your car right. If John Steele agrees to send you the parts needed at his cost, fine. You'll be supplying the labor to install them, so you're even. Accept them with thanks and install them locally. If he does not, then chalk it up to experience, keep us informed on here of what's happening (I think quite a few would like to know the overall outcome) and move on.

I, for one, am getting tired of reading about this, rather than reading about fixes and positive progress being made. This is NOT a big deal. These are NOT complicated cars. Sure, you may have a number of little things to fix, but none of them are especially hard. If either Alan or I (or several others on here) had that thing for a week or two, everything would have been fixed by now.

Let's get to it....

I haven't weighed in on the green coupe situation. I don't know enough about the car or John Steele to have an opinion worth sharing. I do however own a few stores and know how easy it is for customers and staff to have a completely different idea of the same situation. That said I think this situation have gone to far down a shitty road to ever end up happily for both parties. Tom I think you deserve the car you dreamed of. It won't happen by sending it back here to California. Fix it the way you want it with the capable hands of friends that really do care. The $800 will go far and it is an excuse to drink a few beers and eat some of those crazy sounding sandwiches.

Just my opinion of course. Do what feels right.
Tom-You were after advice on what you should do. Again I don't own a speedster or a coupe. However if I were in your shoes I would seek the majority opinion here. The people advising you not to send it back to JPS far out weigh the people telling you to send it back.There are people that are offering to help you out. I would happily get that help,get your coupe in proper leak free shape and save your money.
As the owner of coupe #3 and still waiting for my car to get fixed after about to 2 months after the engine fire incident on the way to Moro Bay, keeping his time table is not John's strong suit (to say it mildly) and giving John a deadline only will cause high blood pressure.

However, I do believe he knows how to fix the car. Mine is also part of the development, and he mentioned that to me when he built mine. With every built he learns more and last time I talked to him, he said that he is trying out some kind of fender liner to prevent the water from coming into the cabin. Not having visited him for a while, I have not seen it myself.

I agree with Gordon and some other posts, try to work with John to get the parts at his cost and do the fix locally. Just be aware that as soon as the car is fixed locally, you have to rely more on our EC fellows to give you a hand in need in the future as he will say that whatever goes wrong afterward is done not by him.

Another thing that I find out dealing with John is that what is important to you might not necessarily be the same to him. The bigger the difference of expectation the bigger the problem you will have with him or vice versa.

I really do hope that this can end up well for both Tom & John and that we all can learn from this experience how to fix things that goes wrong with our replicas, especially the coupe.

However, at the end of the day it is your decision Tom, I just want to wish you good luck

With all the very kind offers to help, just do it at your house and have fun with it. but if you are going to just sell it don't waste their time.

Steve O'Brien (no relation but I like the way he thinks) said it best.

All the shipping back and forth, hold harmless agreements and stuff is now most likely a waste of time and money. After all that you have said and written and with all this bad feeling it doesn't seem like you could have a happy ending going the return to JPS route. This is if you wanted to keep the car.

Of course if you just want it fixed and then to sell it, let John Steele have a chance to make it right and sell it at his shop like IM does. Henry re brokers his older builds for customer's all the time. And John has potential buyers at his shop all the time I was one of those visitors/buyers.
In fact that might be the best solution to this freaking nightmare. Just don't waste all the SOC good will that has been sent your way. If you are just going to sell it, don't waste the time of the guys who volunteered to help.

I ended up buying a used IM because it had rollup windows a class name
and I could alter and wrench it for fun. From reading your posts it sounds like you really wanted a turnkey and for the $$$ you paid you deserve it. And I do feel sorry for your sad sad story and would love for it to be resolved in your favor.

Let John repair it and broker a sale (if possible) then buy a Beck or factory built sports car.

The "brain trust" on this forum is just so amazing to me with so many smart, humorous (I know--"humor this!") folks sincerely giving their best advice. Without this site I might have been just another seller of a Speedster with more issues than I could cope with rather than a very satisfied and thrilled owner with pretty much an issue - free car and some abilities I didn't have before meeting new friends on this site.

So many of the posts on this thread would produce great results---almost any one picked at randon would help---they are that well thought out. After seeing so many great options presented above I myself would proceed like this:

1. NOT send the car back to CA again! You already know this is a black hole. Save the $800 too.

2. Take J. Steele up on his offer to supply the parts---that's the very least he could do. Step #1 would be to list 'em and get the parts list to John S. asap. Request that John tell you what he knows for fact that would fix leaks or about anything else he knows since starting production on these coupes. Do a gracious post publicly thanking John for the parts and knowledge and throw him a bone to offset the stress we have all put on him by having Theron remove all posts relating to this whole affair---offer this up front to John. Leave the door open to go back to John if additional materials or parts are required.

3. Have our top-knotch talent pool who have already signed up for this project to move forward as Gordon suggested earlier in a smart team-based step-by step fashion.

4. Enjoy your sorted out car knowing it is a tribute to the class folks on this site and a freely given gift from your Speedster buddies to a fellow member.

Last note---I would be disappointed ,on a couple of levels, to see you sell the car right after getting it straightened out. I want to see you and the car at Carlisle next year!

Whatever you decide---get with it so you can enjoy the car before winter! Good luck, Tom----Jack
Good money after bad. Never let JPS touch your car again, period. You ever bitch and complain about food delivered to your table at a reastaurant? You make a big enough fuss and I bet I know what's going on with your replacement food order...

Just saying, JPS had his chance and blew it. Take the guys up on their offers of helping you sort the car out. You can then see and know what's done to it and be sure it was done right...or at least as right as can be. You'll have no idea of what JPS does or did.

Bottom line...don't let them get their hands on your car again. Been there before. Bad service doesn't get better the more times you go back...especially if you've been bitching and complaining and causing a fuss (even if its deserved).
Last year when it rained in Paso Robles. Every car that drove in the rain leaked from the bottom. It don't think it was all from where the seats attach either. These cars are what they are. Every VS and JPS leaked that day. I don't know about the Beck or an IM. I won't drive mine in the rain on purpose unless I have to. It's like my pilot license, I am rated to fly in the clouds, but only if I have to. Same thing applies to my car. If I lived where I had to drive in the rain, I would buy an appropriate car, not a Sunday fun car.
One thing to consider, Tom, is the pleasure you will get from knowing that the pleasure you get from enjoying the car once it is fixed is the result of the friends you've made in the Speedster community, not a vendor with whom you have a, ahem, tumultuous relationship. I know I think about the folks who busted their butts to build my car every time I enjoy a drive in it. To me, the efforts of friends to make the car (or in your case to make it right) adds a great deal to its value to me.
A scorpian on the banks of the river wants to cross but could not swim.

The scorpian asks a nearby frog if the frog would give the scorpian a ride on his back to cross the river.

The frog replies "...Oh, no! For you are a scorpian and you will sting me with your poisonous tail and kill me".

The scorpian replies "...but I really need to cross this river. I promise I will not sting you".

With this assurance, the frog allows the scorpian on his back as he wades into the river.

Halfway across the river, the scorpian stings the frog with his poisonous tail.

The startled frog cries out to the scorpian "Why have you stung me when you promised not to? Now I will die and we will BOTH surely drown"

The scorpian replies "What can I say, I AM a scorpian afterall".
Taking a step back from the emotion of a bad transaction, I have to agree with the "fix it with the team" approach.

What you really want (as far as I can tell) is your car working and to be done with John. So why not take up the offer here and get it fixed. I agree, you don't need any more stings from the scopion and I'm not sure the confidence is there in John, justified or not, that he can do the work that needs to be done. If he can, why didn't he just do it the first time?

I'd stay focused on what you really want, which is a reliable, properly sorted car you can enjoy. And I think your best shot at getting that is by embracing the collective experience and skill of the group.

One man with a passion bests one hundred with a job. Having a passionate team with experience offering to help you is a no brainer for me.


PS As far as I can tell this is about the point in the thread where someone should start posting "garage art" of scantily clad women. Far be it from me to stop anyone.
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