Vintage vs Thunder Ranch (Custom CoachWerks)

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Vintage vs Thunder Ranch (Custom CoachWerks)

Postby MarkL » Wed Oct 16, 2013 3:01 pm

Hi Folks,

I'm new to the forum but been a life long Porsche fanatic and I find myself in a very fortunate position. I am trying to decide wether to either buy a 'modern' Porsche (new or used Cayman S) or to build one (550 or 356) - frankly I leaning towards 'build' (I need a "project" to keep my mind busy) and the 550 with a Subaru engine looks to be a great choice.

I live in Huntington Beach, CA ... and seeing as I'm on the 550 forum ... I see that I have two choices;

1) The VERY close (5 miles from my house) but scarily reviewed Vintage Spyder
or
2) The "longer haul" Custom Coach Werks (aka Thunder Ranch)

So now to my questions:
- Should I consider these two as 'equals' and it comes down to personal taste, or is one better or easier to build than the other?
- Does everyone have the problems with Vintage that I have been reading or is this more a case of folks that are communicating from a distance?
- I've never under taken a project like this before but I am "mechanically minded" - just never done something as complicated as build a car. Am I biting off more than I can chew? Is it a case of "read/interpret the instructions" (aka IKEA) or do I have to "figure it out" from a big box of bolts?
- How should I budget?
- An lastly any words of wisdom or posts you think I should read?

Thanks in advance

Mark
.... BTW anyone want to buy a Victory Motorcycle ... guess what I'm selling to start the project ;)
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Re: Vintage vs Thunder Ranch (Custom CoachWerks)

Postby danstern » Wed Oct 16, 2013 5:46 pm

Mark,
Welcome to the Spyder site.
I have a Vintage Spyder which I am very happy with. Was out in in Stanton today for Greg to take care of a few things and the car is more fun than a super car! :nana:
To make your decision harder, yesterday I picked up a '14 base Boxster that I ordered about 3 mos. ago. Don't know about 981 yet, but it seems fine. It really depends on what you want! That's the hard part. :D
Dan
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Re: Vintage vs Thunder Ranch (Custom CoachWerks)

Postby Larry Jowdy » Wed Oct 16, 2013 6:50 pm

You may want to read all 9 pages of this before you deal with Custom Coachwerks http://www.speedsterowners.com/topic/ne ... rks?page=1
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Re: Vintage vs Thunder Ranch (Custom CoachWerks)

Postby Tony46 » Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:07 am

Hi Mark, and welcome!
In February, I received my Vintage body and frame from Greg. The delivery to Canada was smooth, on time, and as promised.

I too am mechanically minded, but have never attempted a project of this magnitude. There are no manuals...except for all the experience and advise found here through members on this site. I find myself reading and planning alot...and checking wth the folks on this site that have been through it, and with their guidance, I'll get there too.

If there is any advise I can offer you, I would suggest taking your time through the build. When I started my build, I came in running...scooping up whatever parts I could gather from vendors with out a real plan. Until I made the $900.00 mistake of buying seats and upholstery from someone on this site that claimed to be a former Spyder owner. The seats won't fit...and the parts promised were never shipped to me. Anyways, a friend from the site tried to stop me from making the purchase...but it was too late. So take your time...

...and enjoy

I wish that I was only 5 min
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Re: Vintage vs Thunder Ranch (Custom CoachWerks)

Postby Larry Jowdy » Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:50 am

In all fairness, the owner of the seats in mention clearly listed tham as "Speedster Seats" and not Spyder Seats
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Re: Vintage vs Thunder Ranch (Custom CoachWerks)

Postby Tony46 » Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:46 am

You're right Larry...he did list them as Speedster Seats...and I didn't pick up on that on the listing. I guess I was blinded by being told by him over and over that they will fit in the Spyder...bla bla bla. He also never shipped me everything that was agreed on. Anyway, he'll get his...it always comes around. My point was that I made an impulse purchase without the proper research. Won't happen again.
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Re: Vintage vs Thunder Ranch (Custom CoachWerks)

Postby Larry Jowdy » Thu Oct 17, 2013 7:50 am

If you still have the seats, you can go to http://www.speedsterowners.com and list them for sale. In fact, there's a guy on their classified section looking for Speedster seats.
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Re: Vintage vs Thunder Ranch (Custom CoachWerks)

Postby SeductionMotorsports » Thu Oct 17, 2013 2:08 pm

I will sum this up for you... I have bought from both in the past. Thunder Ranch (during the CCW takeover buyout) and Vintage Spyders.

To make this easy for you. QUALITY. Hands down I'd choose Vintage over CCW/Thunder Ranch. Thunder Ranch originally quoted me 3 months for turn around time on a kit... 6 months later and me pestering them each week... I got a janky half- finished order. The chassis was NOT powder coated like I paid for, then when I called CCW, they told me (we do not powder coat chassis)... really? Hmmm.. interesting. The gas tank was cracked, needed fixed, my customer found this out the hard way... leaking gas all over his freshly painted and undercoated chassis. The fitment was bad. I actually took apart the body from the frame and re-bonded it proper to make it straight. 500+ hours of body work later.. then time for paint.

The steering column on TR/CCW was horrible, I redid everything. Every single part down to the "gold" emblems and "chrome engine grilles" was poor quality, I call it "China Chrome"... flaking off... luckily I was redoing those as well. I was building this 550 for a customer... so I looked bad being over 7 months behind now. I could go on forever about the lack of quality from CCW. For those who thought their "premium builds" were badass.... let me tell you, you need a side-by-side comparison to a vehicle I have built, then you will define the true definition of badass ;) All in all, jokes aside, the overall product was cheap and bad.

On the other hand... lets move onto Vintage Spyders. To sum it up, Greg at Vintage is legit. The bodies are top notch, the craftsmanship is dead on. All parts are top notch, the fit and finish is perfect down to the door edges and body lines. No waviness in the sides when painted, doors, hood, trunk all lines up. The grade of even the chrome engine grilles are 10x what I received from TR/CCW.

Vintage Spyders chassis are amazing, top quality, all straight, perfect welds. I have seen numerous builds from Greg in person, the engines are top notch from FAT Performance, the interior finish is great quality. They are not considered as equals. Greg has building chassis/bodies/complete cars for over 20 years. He knows his product, this guy can literally rattle off part numbers off the top of his head faster than you can grab a pencil and paper to write them down. Call CCW... (even though they are no longer in the kit car business) and ask them a simple question about coilovers... takes a week to get back to you and you'll order EXACTLY what they tell you and it won't be correct. I have no problem with Alan from CCW or Tom from TR, both great guys, I am just going off my business-to-business relationship and experience with them all.... Greg is a 10+ out of 10, not one complaint. Delivers on time (unless you have some ridiculous change, such as re-paint, etc etc, major changes), but that does NOT count since that now changes the initial contract. Again, delivers on time, product and quality as promised.

Greg also answers my calls and questions, he even answers his phone while working! Got to respect that. You literally cannot compare the quality between the both, Vintage quality is a difference between night and day over TR/CCW.

CCW and Thunder Ranch BTW are now closed. They still have websites up and will still take orders... however good luck getting parts or vehicles from them. Just check the link above in Larry's post, they still owe a few customers money. Alan from CCW is a good guy, not too sure about the rest of them... came off as shady when I dealt with them originally. I was to the point of going and picking up my car unfinished because they never returned phone calls or emails until you kept hounding them, which I feel like I should not have to do... especially for me as I am business-to-business relationship, either way... even as a customer you should be able to contact them during business hours and get responses.

Feel free to give me a call if you would like to personally chat about these 2 companies some more, just send me a PM and I'll shoot you over my cell number.
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Re: Vintage vs Thunder Ranch (Custom CoachWerks)

Postby MarkL » Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:09 pm

Thanks for the great info. Sounds like Vintage is the way to go. Anyone local to Huntington Beach that wouldn't mind letting me check out their 550?. I'd like to get a good look at a finished job.
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Re: Vintage vs Thunder Ranch (Custom CoachWerks)

Postby SeductionMotorsports » Thu Oct 17, 2013 11:44 pm

MarkL,

Give Greg a call, he might have a finished one at his shop, or one in for updates. I'm sure he'd love to show you around and give you a tour so you can see what they are all about over there.
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Re: Vintage vs Thunder Ranch (Custom CoachWerks)

Postby danstern » Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:55 am

I'm in Manhattan Beach. If you're interested in driving up here to see mine, I'd be glad to show it to you.
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Re: Vintage vs Thunder Ranch (Custom CoachWerks)

Postby sjgharib » Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:21 am

Its a shame to hear about the decline of TR and CCW. I got my body/frame from Tom back in 2009. I've been happy with it, but then again I got only the basic frame/body and windshield from him, everything else I sourced myself.
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Re: Vintage vs Thunder Ranch (Custom CoachWerks)

Postby SpyderMike » Sat Oct 19, 2013 12:39 am

Mark,

There are horror stories from both compnies. Caveat emptor. Check both suppliers out....check public records....do your due diligence.

Here is another suggestion. Run away from both companies and find a nice used one.

I'm just saying.

Mike
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Re: Vintage vs Thunder Ranch (Custom CoachWerks)

Postby MarkL » Sat Oct 19, 2013 6:03 am

Great input - and great to see an 'active' forum

@sofresh: Thanks - I will
@Mike: Thanks - this is what I am beginning to think too
@Dan: I will take you up on that in a couple of weeks - will PM
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Re: Vintage vs Thunder Ranch (Custom CoachWerks)

Postby albaran » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:37 am

Years ago when I was looking for a Spyder, I went out to the west coast and visited, Vintage, Thunder Ranch, and Beck when they were in California. Because I wanted to build it myself, I got the TR primered body/frame basic kit. It was delivered on time with a few requested modifications. I agree with Dan that before I would buy a turnkey car, I would definitely try to find a finished car. There are a few people I have met here in Connecticut who got decent finished cars for a good price. The supply in the west must be even better.
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