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aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
4/18/22 11:55 a.m.

I am wondering if anyone has heard of them, or if anyone has reasonably good idea on how to deal with a shop in TX that is not delivering?

---- Obviously, I highly recommend, Do NOT send anything to this shop ----

The (unfortunately common) story is a friend sent a shell (66 Corvair) to them to have a chassis built under it (mid-engined, turbo v8).  They did work, got money, no updates, stopped communicating etc.  Apparently the father who originally owned the business died, and I suspect that was the start of the slide.. who knows.

The friend is in CA, so distance is an issue.  He did contact a lawyer and had a background check done.  The lawyer says he would waste his money going after them.  The car (shell) no longer has a VIN or hidden VIN attached, so, hard to prove ownership.  Looking at Google reviews, looks like other have sued, and got nothing.

Anyway, any idea are helpful, it was the first car he restored, so it's a bit of a nostalgia thing.  He really just wants the car and work done.  He is not sure how to proceed. Anyone happed to be near there (it's east TX, near Tyler) want to see if they can spot a silver late Corvair shell?

Anyway, here is the non-updated site:

http://racefabinc.com/

The original owner is a J. Jackson (Sr)  (not sure if I should use a full name here), there are other Jackson involved now

1169 US Hwy 69 (S. Dickerson Rd), Rusk TX 75785

202 Firemans ln, Rusk TX 75785   (seem to be associated also, basically the same location)

The google street view doesn't look a lot like a shop?

 

Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter)
Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
4/18/22 1:08 p.m.

You might call an attorney in Tyler. There is a large legal community there because of the Eastern Federal District Court. But then again, it might be better not to use a lawyer at this point. I would send a registered letter to the property owner and all relatives of the deceased owner asking nicely if you could have the car back, then promise to show up with a trailer and proof of ownership. If the owner of the shop died, his relatives might just want to get rid of everything and you might actually be solving one of their problems. They may actually have to pay somebody to haul it off. Be nice about it. Don't threaten to sue. Don't expect them to do any work on it. Sounds like the guy who was going to do the work is dead so don't expect somebody else to do any work on it.

I live in Dallas and could take a run by there some weekend to see if it is sitting in a field or in front of the place. There are others on this board who might live closer who could get to it sooner.

Toebra
Toebra Dork
4/18/22 5:07 p.m.

Southeast of there, 40-50 miles maybe, on I-45, across the freeway from the big statue of Sam, is Huntsville State Park.  There is a little lake there with a fair number of good sized alligators.  

 

Just saying it would not be much farther to go, if you are planning to go anyway, unless you know a pig farmer in the area or something.

Patientzero
Patientzero Dork
4/18/22 5:53 p.m.

This is a long shot but try contacting Tim at GAP Racing in Houston or Randy at Painthouse TX.  We had a customer several years ago in a very similar situation.  It was also a Corvair having a chassis built and getting an LS7.  I'm no longer with GAP but Tim might be able to point you in the right direction.

 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/19/22 9:26 a.m.

Something from our Classic Motorsports site that might help someone in this situation: How to plan a perfect restoration—and what to do when things go horribly wrong

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
4/19/22 2:55 p.m.

Thanks for the ideas, I will pass them alone.

Just to be clear, the father / founder died, but the business goes on, obviously in a less then ethical way.  Based on some of the reviews on Google they have screwed over a number of people.

And yes, I also thought, hiring someone with a baseball bat and an attitude might be an option... of course it is East Texas, so heavier weaponry might be needed...

Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter)
Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
4/19/22 3:27 p.m.
aircooled said:

Thanks for the ideas, I will pass them alone.

Just to be clear, the father / founder died, but the business goes on, obviously in a less then ethical way.  Based on some of the reviews on Google they have screwed over a number of people.

And yes, I also thought, hiring someone with a baseball bat and an attitude might be an option... of course it is East Texas, so heavier weaponry might be needed...

Wow. This is a strange one. After seeing all the bad reviews, and there are a lot of them, I would second the alligator idea. I have also met a few East Texas Lawyers who would actually scare the alligators. It looks like the guy has his own Amazon page, used to work for Carroll Shelby and has even written a book. Or is that the one who died?

Maybe you could hook up with the other people who got screwed and do some kind of class action thing or find a lawyer who has already sued them and knows about them.

I also found a default judgement against them at the Federal Court in Tyler back in 2015. Interesting.

 

 

759NRNG
759NRNG UberDork
4/19/22 3:36 p.m.

MC Hammel

1 review

2 years ago

I’ll share details later. For now, anyone who has been ripped off by these people, past or present, should file complaints with the Texas Attorney General and the East Texas Better Business. If you are not a Texas resident you should file with the Attorney General of your State. What they are doing is criminal. More complaints the better! Jefferson and Jason...., no, you should not be able to post five stars on your own company.

 

from the google map reviews.     I happen to be going kinda that way on my return trip to B'Ham AL this coming monday04/25/22 .....I could do a slow crawl if you would like?

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
4/19/22 4:11 p.m.

Yes!   I would be very curious as to what you see.  If nothing else, is that building shown in Google Streeview the shop?

Of course, be careful.

759NRNG
759NRNG UberDork
4/19/22 5:49 p.m.
aircooled said:

Yes!   I would be very curious as to what you see.  If nothing else, is that building shown in Google Streeview the shop?

Of course, be careful.

yes yu betcha it appears to be a dead end street...PM me so we can do the text two step....late

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
4/26/22 4:42 p.m.

Just a quick update on this:   759NRNG did his drive by of the address of the shop (shown in the pic above) on Monday.  His summarizing description of the location is:  "Boogerville!"   

Apparently, super sketchy looking house!  Compared to the Google Streetview pics, the yard is very overgrown and covered in trash.  It seems highly likely that this is not the shop and is just the address they use for mail.  759 made the suggestion of calling the auto repair shop in town (a mile or so away in town) and see if they know of the place.  There is even a mobile repair guy (based out of a residential house) that is closer that may know of them.

I am guessing there is some sort of warehouse nearby that they work (worked?) out of.  I guess the question is, is if they still have the cars / frames somewhere? or if they have sold them off for meth?

My friend noted that he has found the schematics for the frame (for a Corvair) being sold by (apparently) the same people on eBay.  So it seems like they are still around in some form, although may not necessarily be associated with the address above.

 

Anyway, I wanted to make sure to send out a public note of appreciation to 759NRNG for his efforts and also thank him for not entering that property!

yes

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/26/22 5:00 p.m.

Interesting that their FB page still seems alive/not dead. 

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
4/26/22 5:53 p.m.

OK, yes, there is recent activity, so maybe some hope.  The phone number is the same, but notably does not seem to give any location information.  They seem to want to do actual work and not just sell plans, so that is something, then they would have to have a location, unless it is just a full on scam at this point. Maybe they say they will build, but will only actually sell plans (almost no work for them obviously)?

I found a pic on the Facebook page of what was to be done (probably why he chose them), but this is certainly is not his shell (the car has a very nice Silver paint job).  

I do wonder if they used some of the pics of this build and passed them off as the new build...

No photo description available.

https://www.facebook.com/RacefabInc

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/26/22 9:24 p.m.

if you do some digging on the FB page assuming the photos are legit, there are some photos that might give away a location if someone is a good map sleuth. Who knows how old they are, but could be a good starting point. Here's a good one with some geographical markers (and a sign)

Alternately, try finding out who this racecar belongs to? There are plenty of pics on it on the page. Seems like the local SCCA might know who owns it, and work backwards from there to find a location?

This shot (and a lot of other photos of builds in a low-overhead building would seem to indicate that rundown "house" actually IS (or was) the built site. Look closely into the open garage and theres a "build" ongoing. Judging by about 100 pics on the FB page of builds, I'm almost certain the builds were being done in the "house" from the original post here, which appears to be a small house with a really big fabrication shop built onto it. The lack of big windows (on the house and in the interior pics) seems to support this. 

The Blue Miata appears to be in a lot of pics of a guy named "Jefferson"  wearing a RACEFAB mechanic's shirt, incidentally

 

clearly a very old pic from back in the day, but it has an address on it, so maybe off chance it's still there?

That's what I have at the moment. 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/26/22 9:32 p.m.

Another pic of a built - clearly the single-door garage there with the little window next to it.

So either that run-down place is full of unfinished cars and a corvair, or they moved all the stuff elsewhere.  There appear to have been a BUCH of very large, heavy, and (awesome) chassis jigs and stuff in there. Seems like if it was all moved, it would have taken a substantial effort. 

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
4/26/22 9:47 p.m.

Hey, that is some good sleuthing!   It looks like the first two shots are from the listed address, and that strange house, which apparently is the workshop.  Maybe the house next to it is the residence.   As you can see below, pretty certain it's the same place.  Of note, the Google Streetview shows 2008, so even they are from 14 years ago!  I did not notice the (unreadable) sign originally.

The last pic appears to be inside the door in the second pic, based on the unique square window.

That third one might be very difficult.  It's likely very old.

So, it appears that if that property has not been sold, the car is likely there (if not sold or crushed of course).  Anyone know an easy way to find out who owns the property now, or if it has been sold recently?  Zillow shows no price history, which it will do many times.

 

BTW, I found a pic of the car he sent.  Obviously, the interior and wheels (and drivetrain) where not in it:

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/26/22 10:03 p.m.

yep, after I posted the pics I went back and almost all the (hundreds) of pics on the FB page were taken at that house-looking "shop." There are other areas of the interior build pics where you can see the double-doors at the center of the house (from the inside). Build pics from inside that place were posted up to the site all the way up to July 2020, a few CAD drawings from October 2020, and then nothing at all posted in the album until March 2022.  But every "photo" since then is a CAD, and no photos of actual cars for 18 months. 

Apparently the original owner was a pretty legit dude...

Another album seems to show the (son?) of the original owner over the years (his name is Jefferson). Seems to be really into it, a shame if he chose the path of non-legitimacy

 

 

 

 

Jeez, they even have a wikipedia page: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racefab_Inc.#:~:text=Racefab%20Inc.%20is%20a%20company,name%20of%20Off%2DRoad%20International.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/26/22 10:14 p.m.

The original owner/founder died in 2018, incidentally. Quite a career....apparently built the first Dodge Viper prototype>???

https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/houston-tx/joel-jackson-7788712

incidentally, the obit has a list of all his surviving family as well as his pallbearers, so maybe a back-door way to find out what's going on with the old property, etc? His widow was still alive at the time and has a fairly unique name so could be easy to find (she's not on facebook so far as I can tell, btw). 

here's his facebook page, defunct now: https://www.facebook.com/joel.jackson.1612

 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/26/22 10:31 p.m.

Also, I located the shop/warehouse in the older picn (8307 Bauman Rd, Houston TX). It's a big complex of small old shops that all look the same but are painted in various colors. But here is the address and a phone number to the property manager. Maybe call them and see if Racefab still owns/leases property there?

probably one of the shops in here, but streetview won't drive me down the alley


:

EDIT:

Listed "for lease" in 2021, but still has the RaceFab sign on it so I'm guessing they were the owner until 2020-2021....

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
4/26/22 10:34 p.m.

It was at least 3 years ago.  He said he would try and get on here so he can provide some more specific info.

I believe he said he found the Corvair plans being sold on eBay very recently, he may have just meant plans.  I found their eBay listings.  The account was started in 2018, the same year the dad died:

https://www.ebay.com/sch/jaj_roa_misf3y6xux/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_ipg=&_from=

Looks like he hasn't sold much, one very recently.  Some parts being sold, but not much, and all older:

https://feedback.ebay.com/fdbk/feedback_profile/jaj_roa_misf3y6xux

 

Looks like he bought some cloths recently off of eBay, and appears to maybe have a fish tank based on an older purchase.

 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/26/22 10:41 p.m.

I mean, they're selling that GT1 body buck (physically), which would at least *suggest* to me that they have it someplace, whether the old house-shop place or elsewhere.  Maybe 75NRNG could make contact and arrange to see the buck/chassis in the listing as if he's considering purchasing. My guess is that maybe the Corvair is stashed at the same place....

Stampie
Stampie MegaDork
4/26/22 10:54 p.m.

Remind me not to piss off you guys.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/26/22 11:08 p.m.
Stampie said:

Remind me not to piss off you guys.

Oh, if it was MY Corvair, I would know what kind of toothpaste he brushes with by now ;)

 

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
4/26/22 11:21 p.m.

I will have to confirm, but it's starting to look like the deal may have been made while the dad was still alive (it definitely could have been over 4 years ago) and the son simply did not have the talent to follow through.

The nice thing is that he clearly wants to use the RaceFab branding and history, so he will always be a bit easy to locate.

Based on the pics the son clearly can weld.  I noticed a muffler shop down the street.. which might be an easy job for someone who might have little more to offer... I wonder...

Kendall_Jones
Kendall_Jones Dork
4/27/22 9:09 a.m.

I just want to point out that miata cage looks sketchy as hell - Main hoop diagonal has bends in it?  Minimal triangulation?

 

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