Classic Motor Carriages Gazelle on Craigslist
During my daily craiglist search it occurred to me. There are tons of Classic Motor Carriages Gazelle on Craigslist . It would not be a stretch to say there are 150 of these cars in various conditions throughout all of craigslist. As you can imagine with so many cars for sale there are a big difference in prices. Lets just say a complete basket case can be had for $1000 and some sellers think their “RARE” one is worth $10,000. I have always wanted to take one of these basket case ones and turn it into a rat rod of some sort. Always thought that would be a fun use of one.
Back in the 1980s Classic Motor Carriages was turning out so many of these. Some old newspaper articles says only 300 kits a year were sold, and some former employees say that many a month where going out. At any rate at its peak it was a $20,000,000 a year company with the Gazelle being their most popular model I would imagine. They had options to build them on the VW bug, The Ford Pinto, and The Chevy Chevette. Just like with all CMC cars you almost never got all the parts when it was delivered. They also offered them in Turnkey form. Who knows how many of those they sold.
Im sure most of you who are into kit cars already know the story of Classic Motor Carriages. in the 1980s and into the 1990s they dominated the kit car industry. They had a 250,000 sqft manufacturing facility outside of Miami Florida and were head up by a man named George Levin. After many years in business, many 10s of thousands of kits sold (Really CMC kits are NOT rare!) and even more complaints from consumers regarding CMC business practices they ended up being forced to shut down and pay several million dollars to consumers they screwed. Owner George Levin walked away with nothing more than a slap on the hand. Oh and the molds to most of their popular cars via an auction.
He went on to create Auto Resolutions, then Street Beasts. Street beasts was a new name for George Levin’s street rod kit cars that used the old CMC kit car molds. Well wouldn’t you know the new company had the same ole complaints. Kits were bad quality, parts missing, or never got them. Well as with in the 1990s, in 2010 the assets of Street Beasts were sold at Auction. Not sure what ended up happening to all of the stuff from there.
But that was not the end of George Levin. George ended up being found liable in a massive ponzi scheme involving Florida Lawyer Scott Rothstein . According to a Florida News paper George brought in close to 157,000,000 from 173 investors. In April 2015 he George Levin was found guilty in a civil complaint but was not charged with any crimes related to the Ponzi scheme. So it appears as thought other than having to give back a few million he got away with scamming people yet again.
Fast forward to 2015 who do you think is the biggest kit car company out there? I personally believe that title would go to Factory Five. I do not think there is a bigger company out there today.