Replica Manufacturers/Suppliers

 
  Home  |   Events Calendar  |   Technical Info   |   Speedster History  |   Racing Speedsters   |   Books etc.  |   Videos   |   Useful Suppliers   |   Weblinks  
     

This is an A-Z listing of all the manufacturers/suppliers of 356 Speedster replicas and Speedster kits I have been able to identify. Where the suppliers are still active their names are in Green; where they no longer make Speedsters they are in Red. There also are links to websites and further information pages. There is a separate page for Parts Suppliers. If you can add further information or correct any errors please contact me at johnm@speedsters.com

 

12 Cruze
Someren, Netherlands
12 Cruze, manufactured a 356 Speedster replica kit and a 356 Coupe replica kit for a time but their website - www.cruze.nl - has been disabled and they seem to have closed down some time after 2010


356 Sports
Watford, UK
This company was formed by Colin Gontier to handle the marketing of the Banham New Speedster, a project he had taken over from Paul Banham Conversions. It used a Rover Metro as a donor car and K-series Rover engine driving the front wheels. A few kits were sold between 2004 and 2006 but the company is no longer trading.


911944
Luton, Bedfordshire, UK
This company is the exclusive UK Distributor for Replicar Hellas since late 2014, and are based in Luton Bedfordshire. 911944 now have physical cars in stock in the UK and are begining to exhibit a classic shows and events like the Festival of Speed. All cars are Left Hand Drive and delivery lead times are 5-6 months. Prices start from around £36,000 right up to £65,000 for an ultimately specified car. ... more information


A1 Autocraft
Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, UK
This company made some Speedster replicas and also offered a Cobra and GT40 replica. Trading since 1998 certainly no sign of them since 2009 and now shown as 'Dissolved' at Co House. Director was John Dryden


AC3 Designs
Nice, France
AC3 stands for Atelie de Creation et de Conception Composite, and the company was based in Nice in the South of France from 1998 unto 2002 when they ceased trading. They were co-founded by an English designer and made a Speedster 356 replica as well as Buggies and Super 7 replicas. No information seems to be available on the number of Speedsters produced and have not seen any in the UK.


AirCooled Speedster
Deventer, Netherlands
This company claims to build the most beautiful Speedster replica in Holland and contact Martijn Houthuijse says they are also working on Cabriolet and Coupe replicas. Their website has lots of information - looks an interesting alternative - very impressed with the attention to detail like a torsion bar cover next to to the lower trim below the doors.


Alternative Vehicle Centre
Redditch, Worcestershire, UK
Founded by Terry Sands in 1985 after he left Sheldonhurst. Produced a variety of kits with over 500 sales until production ended in 1990. Models included a 356 Speedster a 'Caliofornian' wide arch variant and a 550 Spyder as well as his Model T 'Mongoose' based on a Ford Cortina and the Appollo bases on the VW Beetle.In 1997 Sands restarted production at his new Legend Motor Company, also based in Redditch.


Auto-Zagaia
Lisbon, Portugal
Produced a 356 replica between 1988 and 1990 but not heard of since then. Not known how many sold.


Automobiles Apal
Belgium
Apal was founded as a small-scale car company in 1961 in Blegny-Trembleur near Liège, Belgium. It was founded by Edmond Pery, a glass-fibre specialist producing short-run specials including Beach Buggies, usually powered by VW engines and Beetle underpinnings. In 1981 Apal started building a Speedster replica under licence from Intermeccanica and a few hundred of these cars still exist. The Belgian Apal company closed in 1998. Limited production was taken over by Apal Gmbh in Ostercappein, Germany, but as of 2006 this company stopped making cars and kits and is no longer trading. ... more information about Apal

A number of companies have marketed Apal kits and finished cars and each have an entry on this page:
1981-83: Starborne 
1985-88: TPC
1992-93: Speedsters of Tunbridge Wells
1993-94: Classic Carriage Company


Banham Conversions
Rochester and Dover, Kent, UK
From 1994 to 2002 Paul Banham Conversions were based in Rochester, Kent and from 2002 to 2004 in Dover Kent. The 'New Speedster' was not sold as a replica as it had a slightly different wheelbase and used the Rover Metro as the donor car with the K-series Rover engine driving the front wheels. The idea was to combine the iconic Speedster shape with easily obtainable modern underpinnings. In 2004 the prorect was sold to 356 Sports in Watford. Around 40 kits are believed to have been sold.


Beck Development
California, SA
Ex racing driver, Chuck Beck was one of the founders and funders of the Chamonix Cars factory in Sao Paulo, Brazil together with Kevin Hines (now of 'Special Edition' in the USA) and Milton Masteguin, father of current Chamonix NG Cars M.D. Newton Masteguin. They build both Spyder and Speedster Replicas and both kits and fully built machines were sold in the USA by Chuck Beck's California based operation. The cars are now made under licence by Special Edition Inc. in Indiana, USA (see opposite)


Chamonix NG Cars
São Paulo, Brazil
Founded in 1987 by Milton Masteguin and Chuck Beck in Jarinu, Chamonix cars began making a Porsche 550 Spyder replica in 1990, a very nice 356 Speedster Replica introduced in 1993 and a 550S with a modern water-cooled engine in 1995. In 2011 they changed their name to Chamonix NG (New Generation) and moved to São Paulo. Their current Speedster replica has a more advance tubular chassis and uses water-cooled VW Golf engines. ... more information


Chesil Motor Company
Dorset, England
In 1990 Chesil, founded by Peter Bailey, entered the replica marketplace with the acquisition of the Street Beetle project from Chris Boyle. During the 1990s the company became the leading manufacturer of Speedster replicas in the UK both in terms of number of cars produced and the quality of the finished product. Cars were sold both as kits and as finished vehicles. In 2004 Peter Bailey sold the company to Angus McCubbin and Jerry Bailey who then traded simply as Chesil. A limited edition of special Speedster2 cars was launched in 2005 in a deal with design house Studio-G. Financal difficulties caused Chesil to be wound up in March 2007 and its assets were purchased by the Tygan Motor Company who planned to carry on production of the Speedster and Spyder replicas and add further models to the range. Tygan went into administration in December 2008 and Peter Bailey was able to purchase the Tygan company and assets and relaunch the Chesil Motor Company. More than 550 Chesil Speedsters and kits have been sold to date. ... more information


Classic & Sports Replicars
Benoni, Gauteng, South Africa
This company produced a VW based 356 Speedster replica, a 550 Spyder replica and a 718 RSK Spyder Replica in the 1990s but the business eventually failed. The project became Replicars SA and were operational from 2009 to 2013 but are no longer trading.


Classic Carriage Company
Mallory Park, England
Derek Moore of the Classic Carriage Company baces at Mallory Park Circuit took over the marketing of Apal Speedsters in the UK from Paul and Sandie Woodward in 1993 until Apal ceased production in 1994. Approximately five CCC branded Speedsters were sold and some are still around in the UK but the company stopped trading some years ago.


Classic Motor Carriages
Miami, Florida, USA
For much of the 1980s and some of the 1990s CMC were the world's largest manufacturer of classic replicas. The range included a 356A Speedster replica and a Classic Speedster C which was basically a racing version with a more powerful engine, and flared arches and wider tyres. There are many CMC Speedsters around in the USA and some found their way to Europe and the UK. By 1985 the company employed over 200 people, were making 300 cars a month and grossing $12 million a year. The firm overmarketed their products and was forced to close in 1995 after the Florida Attorney General's Office filed suit against it on behalf of hundreds of defrauded customers.
CMC later reappeared under the name Street Beasts and again became a large player in the kit car business. However, complaints about its products continued and Street Beasts closed down in 2010. ... more information


Classic Reproductions
Tamworth, UK
Formed in 1982 by Terry Sands. Demo car Iaunched in December in conjunction with Swede Thorsen Sodjeberg and Adrian Cocking. Shown at London Motor Show in October 1983. This was the second Speedster Replica to appear in the UK (the first was the imported Starborne Speedster - see opposite). It had a purpose-built chassis designed to replace VW floorplan used in other replicas. This company changed its name to Sandwood Automotive and later evolved into Sheldonhurst - then into the Alternative Vehicle Centre, and even later into the Legend Motor Company.


Cottage Classics
Chelmsford, Essex, UK
Ginetta specialist Spadge Hopkins of Cottage Classics sold the Chamonix 356 Speedster and 550 Spyder in the UK for a short while around 2002 before Rick Chattel at Thruxton Sportscars later took over as UK agent. Cottage Classics Ltd ceased trading in 2008 but some elements remain as Ginetta Heritage Ltd.


Covin Performance Mouldings
South Woodham Ferrers, Essex, UK
Covin Performance Mouldings was founded in 1983 by Nick Vincent and Tom Cook and produced a number of replica kits including a 911 and a 356 Speedster replica in 1989 in association with DJ Sportscars. Quite a few Covin Speedsters still exist in the UK. Covin marketed the kits direct from until 1992 when they ceased trading and DJ Sportscars of Harlow, Essex took over the company and the Covin Speedster project. DJ Sportcars marketed the Speedster under the DAX name until 1995 when Grannd Performance Cars took over. In 1998 Grannd Performance Cars moved to Ireland but seems to have ceased trading in 2000. ... more information


CSW Speedsters
Napanee, Ontario, Canada
CSW stood for Camden Sportscar Works and the company produced a Speedster replica between 2004 and 2009 in Kingston Ontario, and from 2009 to 2010 in Napanee, Ontario. They sold Kits ranging from $17k to $32k. Turn-key cars were also available. Key people were Ted Hamilton and Jerry Sweet. Definitely no longer trading.


Custom Coachwerks
El Cajon, California, USA
This company took over the business and assets of Thunder Ranch in El Cajon when they went out of business.
No longer trading - assets purchased by Rock West Racing


DJ Sportscars (DAX)
Harlow, Essex, UK
An established replica builder, well known for its AC Cobra replica. During the 1980s the company tied up with Covin between to offer a Speedster. This was apparently quite a good replica with a double skinned fibreglass bodyshell in traditional and California styles, with a factory fitted subframe which mated to a shortened VW Beetle chassis. The Dax Speedster was not produced for very long and was also marketed by Sandwood Automotive. The Speedster replica part of the Dax business was taken over by Grannd Performance Cars in 1995. A number of Dax Speedsters still exist in the UK and Dax is still flourishing as a company - see www.daxcars.co.uk


Emory Motorsports Inc.
McMinnville, Oregon, USA
Rod Emory founded the company in 1996 with the aim of building unique 356 Porsches using original metal bodies and restoring and improving them with more modern components. The result is more than a replica because the starting point is an original 356 which undergoes a painstaking, bare-metal, rotisserie restoration and is then fitted with a modern Porsche engine, modern disc brakes and Porsche 911 suspension mated to an intelligently stiffened chassis. Expensive but wonderful! See their website for more details.


FF Custom & Classic Cars
Warsaw Poland
This company currently produces their FF Speedster replica based on a Beetle chassis. They use a glass-fibre/carbon honeycombe composite body combined with a rigid sub-chassis.. All VW suspension and transmission parts with big bore VW air-cooled flat-4 Beetle engine. They also offer a 'wide-body' version with flared wheel arches never seen on the original. See their website for more information. Tip - use Google Translate if your Polish is not fluent.


Fiberfab
Minneapolis, MN, USA
This company, formed in 1965 by Bud Goodwin produced a number of fibreglass bodies for mounting on the Beetle chassis including a 904GTS look-alike. By the late 1980s they were concentrating on the production of a 356A Speedster replica and a Speedster California. Although the original company is no more, there are a large number of these cars still around in the USA. A more recent FiberFab company exists but without a Speedster replica in their lineup.


Flat 4
Tokyo, Japan
For a short time, around 1997, this company produced a high quality, well detailed VW Beetle based Speedster replica and a number of these are still around. This is not part of their current product range but they are still a useful supplier of wheels and other period VW parts - www.flat4.co.jp


Holmes Motor Co
Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK
Based in Bournes Green, Stroud, Gloucestershire and founded in 1984 by brothers Graham and Peter Holmes, HMC started making sports cars inspired by the Austin Healey. They offered a Spyder replica from 1984 and developed a Speedster replica also. These were finished cars, not kits. I've recently heard from Graham Holmes (Dec 15) that they are no longer offering Speedsters or Spyders and that the www.holmesmotor.co.uk website should not be live.


Intermeccanica
Vancouver, Canada
Frank Reisner established the Intermeccanica marque in Turin in 1959 and produced a number of memorable sportscars. In 1975 Frank developed what was probably the first Speedster Replica and in 1976 formed Automobili Intermeccanica in partnership with Tony Baumgartner in Santa Ana, California, to build Speedsters. About 600 Speedsters were constructed. In 1979 Tony Baumgartner bought out Frank Reisner's 50% share and later sold the Speedster project to Classic Motor Carriages in Florida. CMC produced several hundred more Speedsters.before going out of business in 1995. Intermeccanica moved to Vancouver in 1981 where Frank Reisner started to produce a Convertible D replica. Frank died in 2001 but his son Henry continued to develop the busines and the company now offers a 1955 Pre-A Speedster Replica and a 1958 356A Speedster as well as the Convertible D replica or Roadster. ... more information


JPS Motorsports
North Hollywood, California, USA
JPS Motorsports make a very nice 356 Speedster replica with a choice of VW or Subaru flat-4 engines. They also make an A Coupe replica and an 'SC Speedster' with flared arches and minimal trim. All Speedsters are built on reconditioned VW Beetle pans, either the earlier Swing-Axle cars or the later models with Independent Rear Suspension. Key contact is John Steele and delivery leadtime from order is around 10-12 weeks. ... more information


Kit Kar Centre
Boksburg, South Africa
This company made a number of replicas between 1982 and 2003 including a 356 Speedster replica that they called the Speedster Sebring as well as 550 and 718 Spyders. Other kits ranged from Beach Buggies to a GT40 replica. Forum posts indicate this company later became Venom Kit Cars and later had an association with Replicars SA but I have been unabe to verify this.


Kitzkrieg
Chula Vista, California, USA
This company makes 356 Speedster kits for the independent builder - they also offer a 356 Coupe and a 550 Spyder kit. The kits are designed to accept VW Type 1 or Porsche 4 cylinder air-cooled engines and Type 1 4-speed Swing Axle transmission. Kits have hand laid fibreglass bodies with Kitzkrieg's own steel tube space frame. Base kits cost from around $19,000 delivered in black gel coat. ... more information


L&B Cars
Zandhoven, Belgium
L&B Cars made their own Speedster kits in Belgium from a base in Zandhoven from 1990 to 2006 and later from a new base in Malle as they became L & B Cars BVBA from 2006 until the company closed in 2008. The main product was a 1957 Speedster replica which was available as a kit or finished car. 'L&B' stands for Lambrechts and Bastiaenssen (Willy Lambrechts and his wife). A few cars were imported into the UK under the L&B brand, but Willy later signed a deal with Pilgrim Cars in the UK who first became L&B agents and later made a mould from the L&B masters and started manufacturing the fibreglass bodies in the UK. . ... more information


Legend Motor Company
Redditch, Worcs, UK
When Terry Sands set up the Legend Motor Company in 1997 he used the moulds he had owned since Classic Reproductions days to produce a batch of ten 356 Speedster replicas and 5 of the 'Californian' variant. He also worked with John Braiden to develop a Convertible D kit. Over the next four years around 100 of these three models are believed to have been sold. Only one with Type 1 VW power - the rest using the developed 'Omega' chassis to accommodate VW type 4, Alfasud and Subaru engines. Legen also produced a Karmann Ghia replica and worked on developing other kits. Eventually finances became overstretched and the company ceased trading in 2001.


Martin & Walker
Thruxton Circuit, Hampshire, UK
The company was founded in the mid nineties when Barrie Martin of Trac Services (see opposite) joined forces with businessman and historic Porsche racer Mike Walker. The company first produced an excellent 550 Spyder replica, before developing a Speedster replica in 1997. This was available as either a kit or a finished turn-key car. In 1998 they developed a 356 Coupe kit, and all three were marketed under the Technic name - see opposite.The Technic Speedster is built on the traditional shortened VW Beetle chassis using Technic's own GRP bodyshell with its bonded in steel subframe for additional strength and rigidity. More information on their website at www.technic-motorsport.com and details of their lovely Porsche 904 replica at www.904gts.co.uk.


McGurk Performance Cars
Stratford-upon-Avon, UK

McGurk Performance Cars are the UK representative for Vintage Speedsters, the world's largest manufacturer of 356 Speedster Replicas. They have a build and delivery time from the USA of around 3 months, but usually have several finished cars in stock. Because cars are built using a 1960s chassis, they retain their classic car status and are registered by the DVLA with a genuine historic number plate and are road tax exempt. Expect to pay over £30k depending on specification, but still one of the best replicas with a very high quality finish.. ... more information


Mitsuoka Motors
Toyama City, Japan
Established in 1979 by Susumi Mitsuoka, this coachbuilder and manufacturer produced their 'BuBu 356 Speedstar' replica between 1989 and 1990. Reputed to be a very well made kit, it had an air-cooled flat-4, 1.6 litre engine producing 70hp, linked unusually to a 5-speed gearbox. Front discs and rear drum brakes. Total quantity produced not known.


Oracle Cars
Lokeren, Belgium
Produced the Origin Speedster during 2004. Key people were Sabine Serry and Eric Wouters. The company produced only a handful of cars and is no longer trading.


PGO Automobiles
Saint-Christol-lès-Alès, France
Established around 1985 in Saint-Christol-lès-Alès by the Prevot brothers Gilles and Olivier, this company were agents for Sheldonhurst many years ago. However their current offerings, although based on the Speedster look are not strictly 356 Speedster replicas. The Speedster II (launched at the Paris Motor Show in 2000)and the Cévennes are neo-retro style two-seater roadster designs, originally with centrally mounted Peugot engines but l now understand they are using BMW Mini engines and they have become part of the Al Sayer International Group. For more details go to their website.
 

Pilgrim Motorsports
Henfield, Sussex, UK
Founded by Den Tanner in 1985 and well known for its 'Sumo' Cobra replica, Pilgrim produced a number of Speedster replicas. The company was sold to Tony Holmes in 2002 but eventually went bust in October 2008. Den Tanner, who is also the owner of Kit Car Magazine then bought back the company. The pilgrimcars.com website, which used to feature both the standard Speedster repica and a strange 4-seat version, is no more but as of May 2016 Pilgrim announced details of a new Speedster kit. more details of the new kit and Pilgrim History


Platinum Speedsters Ltd
Mt Wellington, Auckland, New Zealand
This company was active from 1999 to 2003 and the key people were Nigel Scott, Kathryn Main and Rob Schrickel. They produced a 356 Speedster replica based on a shortened VW chassis but is is not known how many were sold. No longer trading.


Prestige Classics
Wayzata, Minnesota, USA
Produced the PC Speedster during 1982 and then seemed to disappear. Not known how many cars or kits were produced. They also produced and XK140 Jaguar Kit and an MG TD.


RC Speedsters
Melbourne, Australia
Founded by Reno Chetcuti, RC produce a Speedster replica with a custom built chassis and also a variant with flared arches. Both rear and mid engined configurations are available, all using the using the Subaru 2 litre turbocharged engine. Custom built chassis using steel tubing 50mm x 100mm x 3mm thick, centre backbone high tensile steel, full protective intrusion prevention system, - lots more information on their website.


Reincarations
Burnley, UK
Reincarations was formed in the Spring of 2009 to import vehicles for stock from Chamonix Cars in Sao Paulo, Brazil, for resale in the UK. Terry Watson's Tribute Sportscars business was absorbed into Reincarations and Terry headed up the Sales side. Reincarations imported about 12 cars, 356 models with 1915cc 125 BHP air cooled engines, 550 Spyders with the 1915cc engine and some 550S models, with 1.8 VW water cooled units. Turnkey Speedsters sold in the UK for about £30,500. Unfortunately the market went flat due to the financial downturn and eventually Reincarations folded. Currently Beck Speedsters/Chamonix Spyders can personally imported from Special Edition Inc. in the USA.


Remmele France SARL
Limoges, France
This company was active from 2004 to 2009 and produced a 356 Speedster Replica. Mike Remmele, the company founder was a VW Beetle expert and the kit was VW based but it is not known how many cars or kits were produced. It is believed that the company in France closed down and Mike is now living and working in Germany.


Renegade Speedsters
Norfolk, UK
Dave Stannett produced a couple of Speedster replicas from his base in Buxton Norfolk around 2008. The Renegade Speedster website has now gone but I think Dave still works from a new base in Frettenham, Norfolk, renovating split screen camper vans.


Replicar
Lisbon, Portugal
Between 1992 and 1995 this company produced a VW Beetle based 356 Replica. Later became Cornauto SA, Valencia Spain but ceased trading in 1995


Replicar Hellas
Katerini, Greece
Based in Katerini, Greece, this company manufactures a range of 356 Speedster replicas and other replicas based on the Speedster theme using type 1 and type 4 VW air-cooled engines. Replicar Hellas owner Elias Gaganelis grew up in Germany and studied automotive engineering before starting the company in 2008. Cars are only available in RHD form and not available as self-build kits. ... more information
Replicar Hellas have an exclusive UK Distributor, 911944 Ltd, based in Luton Bedfordshire, and cars have been available in the UK since early 2015


Replicars SA
Benoni, Gauteng, South Africa
It is believed that this company puchased the assets of Classic & Sports Replicars in Benoni and traded from 2009 to 2013. They offered 550 and 718 Spyder replicas as well as a Speedster. Their website disappeared in 2013 and they seem to have ceased trading.


Rock West Racing
San Diego and El Cajon, California, USA
Rock West Racing has manufacturing facilities in El Cajon, California and produces replicas in turnkey and kit form including the RW Speedster. Rock West Racing purchased the assets of Custom Coachwerks (based in El Cajon) who previously took over Thunder Ranch Speedsters, so they have been able to develop previously successful replica designs. They produce a ridge steel tube chassis integrated into a hand laid fibreglass body which is designed to fit a VW type 1 engine and transaxle and VW torsion arm front beam and VW independent rear suspension. ... more information


Ryan Motors
Vista, California, USA
From 1996 this company produced 356 Speedster replicas and also a 718 RS/60 Spyder replica and a Hummer style beach buggy from their base at Seal Beach, California. They moved to Vista, California in 1998 until 2000, when they ceased trading. Total numbers sold not known


Sandwood Automotive Ltd
Tamworth, UK
In 1983 Terry Sands original company changed its name from Classic Reproductions to Sandwood Automotive and moved to larger premises, still in Tamworth. In addition to the Speedster replica, some work started on a Convertible D replica but the main development by Terry Sands was of a purpose-built chassis. which replaced the need for a VW floor pan and allowed the straightforward fitting of torsion bar front and independent rear suspension. The company later evolved into Sheldonhurst - then into the Alternative Vehicle Centre, and even later into the Legend Motor Company.


Scheib
Ansbach, Germany
Automobil Scheib in Ansbach claim to be No 1 in replicas in Germany and produce a number of replica kits including Bugatti, MG TD as well as a 356 Speedster. Their replica 356 is based on a VW Beetle and uses their own 'torsion chassis frame' together with a shortened Beetle chassis and a 1600 air--cooled VW flat-4 and VW transmission and suspension. Many updated components including front disc brakes, 12v electrics and seatbelts give additional reliability and safety. Turn-key cars can also be supplied with a lead time of 2-3 months. More details on their website.


Scottish Replicars & Classics (SRC)
Scotland, UK
Established as a restoration company SRC started producing replica kits in 1984. The small range offered included an MG TD and TF, a 911 Turbo and a 356 Speedster. Only three of the latter are believed to have been made before the company ceased trading late in 1985


Seduction Motorsport
Chandler, Arizona, USA
Seduction Motorsports are based in Chandler, Arizona manufacturing Spyder/Speedster/Pre-A Coupe replicas for the enthusiast. They offer their Speedster in 'Rolling' and 'Turn-key' Packages. Rolling packages are less engine and transaxle. All Speedsters have hand-laid fiberglass bodies, DOM tubular poweder coated steel chassis, Kevlar reinforced undercoating, and powdercoated front & rear suspension ... more information


Severn Classics
Cradleigh Heath, West Midlands, UK
During 2014 the owner of Severn Classics, Steve Griffiths, has taken over the rights to the old Legend design that was previously marketed under the Sheldonhurst brand and other names. The old kit design has been significantly updated and a very nice demonstrator has been produced called 'Arabella'. I understand that basic kit packages are available from around £6,000 and feature pre-mounted doors, bonnet and engine covers. From the information I have so far this looks like an excellent replica with no modern 'upgrades' like big comfy seats and wind-up windows to spoil the classic look. ... more information


Sheldonhurst
Tyseley, Birmingham England
Formed in 1984 from Sandwood Automotive with Terry Sands as CEO. GRP panels were supplied by Adrian Cocking (now RAM Automotive). The company was based at an eight thousand sq ft facility in Tyseley. PGO Inc. of Bordeaux become French agents. Four kits and two cars a month were going to Mohrsport at the peak of production. 'Omegachassis' design was refined to channel the body over the chassis - giving a more authentic stance to the car. Terry Sands left company in 1985 which subsequently folded in 1987.


Snakepit Automotive
Freeport, New York, USA
This company was a main distributor for Superperformance and JPS Motorsports (see opposite, below) and had an active website at www.snakepitauto.com until a year or so ago. The website is no more and it is believed that they have ceased trading.


Special Edition Inc.
Bremen, Indiana, USA
Originally marketed by Beck Development in California the Beck Spyder originated in Brazil and was sold in Kit form and as fully built machines by the American enthusiast and ex-racing driver Chuck Beck. The Beck 356 Speedster replica and the Beck/Chamonix 550 Spyder Replica are now made under license by Special Editions Inc. in Indiana. The Speedster Replica uses a unique tubular steel frame instead of a shortened VW floorpan for greater strength and rigidity. Special Edition also produce a Convertible D replica and all 356 replicas are available with Subaru power. SEI are also working on an all-electric Speedster conversion. The UK agents were originally Tribute Sportscars and later Reincarations Ltd both with the involvment of Terry Watson although currently there is not UK agent, although cars can be purchased direct from Special Edition as personal imports. ... more information


Specialty Auto-Sports, Inc.
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
This company has been building VW powered Speedster replicas for 20 years, but in 2002 they launched a project to develop a mid-engine water-cooled Speedster replica with a whole host of modern safety and performance features. These Speedster replicas have accurate body dimensions, exterior appearance and interior trim, but are powered by a mid-mounted Subaru fuel injected water-cooled flat-four engine. ... more information


Speedster Center Seibt / SCS
Augsburg, Germany
Speedster Centre Seibt was founded by Richard Seibt in Augsberg in 1990 to produce kit cars. The Seibt Speedster was a Beetle like open two seater based on the VW 1200, 1302/1303. In 1991 Seibt produced the RS1 Classic and the RS2 Classic, these were 356 Speedster replicas and used a VW Beetle chassis but water-cooled engines from the VW Golf and Passat. The business seems to have closed down in 1999 and Richard Seibt is currently running a company called RetroTech in Gessertshausen.


Speedster Clinic
Kenilworth, Warwickshire, UK
Based in Kenilworth and run by Gary Blundall, Speedster Clinic has been building and repairing Speedsters for many years. Working initially with other manufacturers products Gary quickly began developing and improving them for his customers. As long ago as 1998 he began producing his own kits, supplying them to customers in the UK and across Europe. As well as a Speedster kit, Gary now has available a 356 Coupe body kit ... more information


Speedsters of Tunbridge Wells
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK
In 1992 imports of the Apal Speedster were taken over by Paul and Sandie Woodward trading as 'Speedsters of Tunbridge Wells'. This operation sold around 12 cars but only lasted a year or so and the marketing of imported Apals was next taken over by the Classic Carriage Company during 1993.


Starborne
USA and UK

The original Starborne Speedster replica, produced in the USA was probably an Intermeccanica copy. Tim Dutton Woolley imported one into the UK in 1981 and this was the first 356 replica to appear here. He formed Starborne to import these cars but soon became a UK agent for Apal instead. Between 1981 and 1983 he imported and marketed Apal Kits into the UK under the Starborne name before Apal marketing was taken over in 1984 by TPC (see below). His marketing literature had the headline "Build yourself a Speedster"


Street Beasts
Miami, Florida, USA
Created out of the enforced closure of Classic Motor Carriages in 1994 after the Florida Attorney General's Office filed suit against it on behalf of hundreds of defrauded customers. Street Beast became a large player in the kit car business again turning out 40 kits a month including many Speedster replicas and turning over $6m a year. However, complaints about its products continued and Street Beasts closed its business in 2010 and auctioned off its plant and machinery. In 2011 the Speedster moulds were sold on eBay.


Street Beetle
Christchurch, Dorset, UK
One of the earliest British Built Speedsters, developed by Chris and Marcia Boyle already well know for their VW based kits. In 1988 a set of Speedster moulds were acquired and production started on a 356 Speedster replica and a 'Cal-look' Speedster with different bumpers and flared wheel arches. The company was taken over by Peter Bailey in 1990 and became the basis of the Chesil Motor Company. A number of Street Beetle Speedster replicas still survive in the UK.


Studio-G
Woking, Surrey, UK
Mike Milne-Home ran the Surrey Based design house, Studio-G, and designed the Speedster 2 based on the Chesil Speedster but with a number of detail design changes and luxuriuous updates. A limited edition of 25 of these cars were planned to be built by Chesil during 2005 but the exact number produced and sold before the project fell through is not known - probably only 5-7. The Studio-G website has gone and the company, which also produced a Cobra G350 replica, is no longer trading.


Technic (Martin & Walker)
Thruxton, UK
Martin and Walker offer a Speedster and Spyder Replica both as kits for self assembly or as turn-key vehicles individually built to customers specifications. The Technic 550 Spyder is a true mid engined replica of the original car featuring a purpose designed chassis and suspension system. and has been produced by M&W since 1987. The Technic Speedster was introduced in 1997 and is built on the traditional and well proven shortened Volkswagen Beetle chassis using Technic's own GRP bodyshell with its bonded in steel subframe for additional strength and rigidity. - www.technic-motorsport.com - www.904gts.co.uk


Thruxton Sportscars
Thruxton, Hampshire, UK
Thruxton Sportscars was run by Captain Rick Chattel MBE and had a brief history of importing and selling Beck Speedster and 550 replicas. During 2007 he imported 3 of each as finished cars from Chamonix in Brazil via Special Edition Inc. in the USA. With the foundation of Tribute Sportscars by Terry Watson, Thruxton did not import any more Speedsters and is no longer trading.


Thunder Ranch
El Cajon, California, USA
Designers and fabricators of kit cars since 1978. Run by Tom McBurnie, owner of more than 13 original Speedsters the Thunder Ranch 356 Speedster replica was a combination of faithful reproduction and modern innovation. The company also produced a 550 Spyder Replica and a Type 718 RSK Spyder Replica, all available as turnkey cars or in kit form. The company failed in 2009 and their assets were taken over by Custom Coachwerks, also in El Cajun, who who also went out of business and all the assets were purchased by Rock West Racing who continue to make Speedster replicas.


Timeless Cars
Schoten, Belgium
Active from 1998 to 2000. Not a lot is known about this company apart from the fact that they made a number of 356 replicas


TPC Motor Company
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, UK
TPC of Stratford-upon-Avon, run by John Finchman became the UK importer for Apal in 1984 and launched the TPC Speedster under their own name at several UK car shows. They were initially successful and a number of TPC Speedster replicas are still around in the UK. The company continued to import and sell Apals until 1988 when sales began to dwindle and the company ceased trading. The marketing of Apal Speedster in the UK was taken over by Speedsters of Tunbridge Wells (run by Paul & Sandie Woodward) in 1992.


Trac Services
Thruxton Circuit, Hampshire, UK
Trac Services was founded by engineer Barrie Martin and based at Thruxton Circuit in 1989. The company produced a British 550 Spyder replica kit during the 1980s under the Technic name and were also involved in the restoration of original Porsche 356 models. They later added the Technic Speedster replica kit to their range based on VW Beetle underpinnings. Barrie Martin Joined forces in the mid nineties with businessman and historic Porsche racer Mike Walker and the new company, Martin & Walker (see opposite) continued to develop the Technic brand of replicas.


Tribute Sportscars
Northamptonshire, UK
Tribute Sportscars ws founded in 2008 by Terry Watson with the idea of acting as agent for Beck Speedsters into the UK . However only a few cars were sold before Tribute Sportscars evolved into Reincarations where the idea was to import vehicles direct from Chamonix Cars in Brazil and hold stock in the UK.


Tygan Motor Company
Beaminster, England
Tygan were launched in June 2007 taking over the assets of the failed Chesil Motor Company and planning to "migrate a cottage industry into a professional automotive manufacturer". The company were not successful and went into administration under the insolvency act in December 2008 with only a few cars having been supplied to customers. In January 2009, Peter Bailey, the founder of the original Chesil Company bought back the business and assets from Tygan's receivers.


Universal Products
South Africa
This company produces a unique 356 Speedster replica with a steel tubular sub frame side impact bars in the doors and a front impact bar for additional safety. They also produce a RSK 718 Spyder replica in two versions a VW based car that uses a Beetle engine, gear-box, suspension and chassis, and a space frame chassis version with dual wishbone suspension, Subaru boxer engine and Audi gearbox - see their website for more information.


Vintage Replicar
Vista, California, USA
Not a Speedster replica but a reproduction of the first ever 356 produced in 1948 - type 356-01. This company, founded by Mark Gomez produced only a few of these cars between 2009 and 2015 when they finally closed down. They used a tubular steel chassis and a 1835cc Beetle engine and offered kits and turnkey vehicles at around £33,000. Not known how many were built.


Vintage Speedsters
California, USA
Vintage Speedsters is the world's largest manufacturer of the 356 Speedster replica.  Speedsters are available fully assembled or in kit configurations with wide or classic body styles. The cars have reinforced steel frames and are very close to the original Speedster in detailed appearance and driving characteristics - over the years more than 3,500 Speedsters have been produced by Vintage. ... more information

The UK Distributor for Vintage Speedsters is McGurk Performance Cars in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire (see opposite)

     
  © 2017  John Mercer   Maidstone   UK            Privacy Policy           Site Map           Contact Form           Advertising on this site