A - Z of Replica Makers

 
       
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I have tried to ensure that the information shown here is correct and up-to-date but if Club Members or visitors can add to the above list or supply additional information or corrections - please let me know and I will update the page.

 

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 Germany, but as of 2006 the company stopped making cars and now only sells spare parts and kits - www.apal.de


Beck Speedster and Spyder
- see Special Edition Inc.


Chamonix Cars
- Brazil

Founded in 1987 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. Chamonix exports most of the production to markets like U.S.A (under the Beck name), Japan, Europe, Middle East, and Latin America - www.chamonixcars.com.br - See also Special Edition Inc.
See also the Chamonix Australia site at: www.550spyder.com.au
and the Chamonix Netherlands site at: www.spyder.nl


Chesil Motor Company
- Dorset, England

In 1990 Chesil, founded by Peter Bailey, enters 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. Financal difficulties cuased the Chesil Motor Company 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 - see - www.chesil.biz


Classic & Sports Car Replicars
- Benoni, South Africa

This company produce a VW based 356 Speedster replica, a 550 Spyder replica and a 718 RSK Spyder Replica 1990s - see - www.replicarssa.co.za for more details


Classic Carriage Company
- Mallory Park, England

Took over the marketing of Apals in the UK from Clive and Sandy Woodward in the 1990s. Some CCC branded Speedsters are still around in the UK but the company stopped trading some years ago.


Classic Motor Carriages - Miami USA
For much of the 1980s and some of the 1990s CMC were the largest manufacturer of automotive 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 wheel arches filled with larger, 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. Although it's a long while since they went out of business, Parts for CMC Speedsters can still be obtained from MG Magic in San Diego - email: info@classicmotorcarriages.com


Classic Reproductions (Sandwood Automotive Ltd)
- Tamworth, UK
Formed in 1982 by Terry Sands. First demo car Iaunched in December in conjunction with Swede Thorsren Sodjeberg and Adrian Cocking. Shown at London Motor Show in October 1983. Purpose-built chassis designed to replace VW floorplan. Mohrspolt of Germany appointed Sandwood Distributors. This company evolved into Sheldonhurst - see opposite for more details.


Classic Roadsters
- Egham, Surrey, UK

Run by Martin Craven, Classic Roadsters sell the T6 Roadster (basically an updated 356 Convertible D replica) made by Mohr Innovationnen in Germany. Lots of other interesting Goodies on their website - www.classicroadsters.co.uk


Covin
- Essex, England

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, I think, with DJ Sportscars.. Quite a few Covin Speedsters still exist in the UK. Grannd Performance Cars took over the company in 1995 and although an Irish address appeared for this company in form forums, I have not been able to trace whether it still exists.


DJ Sportscars (Dax)
- Harlow, Essex, England

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


FiberFab
- 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. Parts for their earlier Fiberfab cars can still be obtained from MG Magic in San Diego - email: info@classicmotorcarriages.com


Flat 4
- Tokyo, Japan

Some years ago, this company produced a high quality, well detailed 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


GP Projects
- Middlesex, England

Founded in the 1960s GP (with several changes of name and ownvership since) were major manufacturers of VW based Beach Buggies and Kits. In 1981 the company changed its name to GP Projects and moved into the production of Porsche Spyder Replicas from their Middesex base. The 718 RSK Spyder Replica, created by Neville Trickett in 1983 was a very authentic and available both as a kit and a turnkey car. Many examples of these well-engineered cars still survive. By the 1990s the range included a RS60 replica and a range of VW engines up to 2.2 litres were available giving the cars amazing performance. Alas the company is no more but I have not been able to find out when it stopped trading.


Holmes Motor Company
- Gloucestershire, UK
HMC build a beautiful 550 Spyder Replica - this is not a kit car but a new low volume custome made sportscar. A Spyder RS and a Speedster replica are mentioned on their website but there are no details there yet - www.holmesmotor.co.uk


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. Judging by Rob Jones' D, the quality is superb - see intermeccanica.com for more details.


PGO Automobiles
- Neuilly, France

Established around 20 years ago, this company organisation produces a Speedster II and the Cévennes which is a neo-retro style two-seater roadster with centrally mounted engine but loosely based on the original Speedster design. For more details go to - www.pgo.fr

 

Perry Ds Inc - Perris, California, USA
This organisation produce a 550 Spyder replica body kit that mounts directly onto a standard VW Beetle chassis. Interior packages and accessory packs are available to make a complete car - www.perryspyder.com - copyright on website states 2005 so not sure if site information is current


Pilgrim Cars
- Henfield, Sussex, UK

Founded by Dan Tanner in 1985 and well known for its 'Sumo' Cobra Replica and produced a number of Speedster replicas. The company was sold to Tony Holmes in 2002 and went bust in October 2008. Dan Tanner, who is also the owner of Kit Car Magazine has now bought back the company. Their website currently features a four seater Speedster replica that fits onto a standard Beetle chassis and I understand they are reviewing their 356 Speedster replica range - www.pilgrimcars.com


Racing Classic - USA and Australia
During the 1980s this company produced a replica of the 718 Spyder based on VW Beetle mechanical components and built under licence in the from GP Projects (GP Specialist Vehicles Ltd). Alan Jones, the Grand Prix driver, was trying to get production underway in Australia at the same time but I have not been able to find out how many cars were produced.


RC Speedsters
- Melbourne, Australia

Founded by Reno Chetcuti, RC produce a Speedster replica with a custom built chassis and a choice of traditional and wide body styles and rear and mid engined configurations using the Subaru 2 litre turbocharged engine - www.rcspeedsters.com.au


ReplicarHellas - Pieria Greece
Offering a 356 Speedster and wide body Speedster replica as well as a 550 Spyder replica from basic parts level to fully finished vehicles. Operations Manager is Elias Gaganelis and full contact details are on their website - www.replicarhellas.com/pages_eng/index.htm


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.


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 and 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 are also working on an all-electric Speedster conversion. Our own Terry Watson is a strong advocate for the Beck Speedster in the UK and McLaren designer Gordon Murray purchased a Beck 550 Spyder in 2009 - www.beck speedster.com


Speedster Clinic
- UK

Base in Kenilworth and run by Gary Blundell, 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. The latest generation Speedster kits and components combine engineering integrity with stylish good looks. www.speedsterclinic.com


Speedsters - UK
In 1988/89 imports of Apal were taken over by Chive and Sandy Woodward trading as 'Speedsters'. This operation and the marketing of imported Apals was later taken over by the Classic Carriage Company.


Spyders Inc. - UK
Established in 2003, this company make a RSK Spyder replica which is available in kit form and based on a shortened beetle chassis. All parts are available separately. Contact tel is 01452 863 658 and email: robert.lindsay@virgin.net - website: www.718-rsk.co.uk


Starborne - USA
The Starborne Speedsters was a 356 Speedster Replica produced in the USA from around 1980 onwards. The number of cars produced was not large but I understand that at least one car was imported into the UK.


Street Beetle - Christchurch, England
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


Technic (Martin & Walker) - Thruxton, England
Martin and Walker offer a Speedster and Spyder Replica both as kits for self assembly or as turnkey 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


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 is a combination of faithful reproduction and modern innovation. The company also produce a 550 Spyder Replica and a Type 718 RSK Spyder Replica, all available as turnkey cars or in kit form - see www.thunderranch.com for more details.


TPC - Stratford-upon-Avon, England
TPC became the UK importer for Apal in 1984 and launched the TPC Speedster at the London Motor Show in that year. They were initially successful and a number of TPC Speedster replicas are still around in the UK. The company is not around any more - I believe the marketing of the Apal Speedster was taken over by the Classic Carriage Company in the 1990s.


Trac Services
- Thruxton, England

Trac Services produced the 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. The company became Martin & Walker (see above) and the Technic brand of replicas continues.


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" - see detailed announcement. 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 of Tygan.


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 universal-products.co.za/ for more information.


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 2,500 Speedsters were produced by Vintage up to 2008 and the rate of production continues to keep pace with demand today - see www.vintagespeedsters.com
UK Distributor for Vintage Speedsters is McGurk Performance Cars - Stratford-upon-Avon - www.vintagespeedsters.co.uk - www.mcgurk.com


Vintage Spyders
- Stanton, California, USA

Vintage Spyders was founded in 1995 by Greg Leach and has built over 500 Spyder replicas for customers throughout the USA and the world. The 550 Spyder replica can be supplied as a Kit for DIY assembly, or a complete turnkey car less engine - see www.vintagespyders.com for more details.


VW Spyder - Rebel Kit Cars
- Netherlands

Producing VW based Spyder replicas with nice space-frame chassis.
Contact Richard Slinger - vw-spyder@live.nl
Website links - see 550 Spyder or 718 Spyder for more details.

 

I have tried to ensure that the information shown here is correct and up-to-date but if Club Members or visitors can add to the above list or supply additional information or corrections - please let me know and I will update the page.

 
 
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