Arizonans paid thousands for custom cars that were never delivered

The company's owners say they're out of money and plan to file for bankruptcy. Meanwhile, customers likely won't see their money returned anytime soon.
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 12:22 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Gary Werner wanted a replica of a Porsche 356 for his daughter. The custom car from Vintage Speedsters in Goodyear was going to be a birthday present for her 50th.

Werner and his wife saved up for the purchase and put down a 50% deposit. “We paid them $27,500,” he said. “We have all of our receipts.”

Months passed, and so did the big birthday. The car was never delivered, and the Werners say they couldn’t get any answers from the company’s owner, Matthew Teerink. “Then he wanted the rest of the money,” Werner told On Your Side. “I said, ‘We’re not going to give you any more money until we get the car.’”

Then, in November, Teerink sent an email to customers telling them he was planning to file for bankruptcy. “It has become increasingly difficult to complete vehicles due to inflation, parts shortages, and numerous challenges with vendors,” the letter read. There is no record of a bankruptcy filing.

According to Goodyear police, nine people filed complaints about Vintage Speedsters. After investigators consulted with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, the case was deemed to be a civil matter, police told On Your Side. Police say the estimated cost for each vehicle ranged from $50,000 to $80,000. “The thing that really grabs me is from the beginning to the end it was a lie,” Werner said.

Kirk Duncan, the previous owner of the business, is out of money, too. Duncan started the business in California in 1986 and says he built 3,000 Speedsters. “He took it over and he was supposed to be taking over the payments to me,” Duncan said.

He sued Teerink and his wife Erin. According to federal court records, the Teerinks never responded to the lawsuit and the court entered a default judgment against them for more than $212,000 with accruing interest. “I guess they think they’re hiding, but we found them,” Duncan said. “I feel sorry for the people. He promised them everything and kept asking for more money, more money, and he wasn’t even building the cars.”

Despite the judgment, the Teerinks haven’t paid Duncan. Werner fears he won’t see any of his money, either. “It’s just horrible for us. Last year was incredible ... 2022, we’ll never forget that year,” Werner said. “If we could get anything, it would be better than nothing.”

In an email to On Your Side, Teerink said he is still in the process of filing for bankruptcy. “Corporate bankruptcies are expensive and need to be paid before the bankruptcy is processed,” Teerink wrote. “I have paid the law firm approximately half of the fee, and as I am currently living paycheck to paycheck, I am making those payments as quickly as I possibly can. Last year I sold my house and other assets and put that money into the business.” Teerink did not respond to questions about what caused the business to fail.

Goodyear police said victims were advised to file complaints with their attorney general’s office. A spokesperson for Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes declined to comment.

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