SEEDSTER MOTORCARS: A HISTORY
Every story has a beginning…
Michael Akins has had a passion for the Auburns and Cords of years past from a very young age. At 21, he already had been hard at work at his own small one man restoration facility when he saw an add in a local paper looking for a shop foreman for the prestigious Antique Autos of America, in Largo, Florida.Knowing that he had the talents to do the job, he interviewed and was hired the same day. With over fifty employees, Antique Autos of America was one of the premier auto restoration facilities in the United States. Cars restored by Antique Autos included the famed Frank Lloyd Wright L29 Cord in 1979.
The company was so well respected that cars would just show up on trailers to be restored, not even knowing whom the cars belonged to. Southeastern Replicars was a side company of Antique Autos of America, the replica division. Southeastern Replicars produced the 1935 Auburn Boattail Replica in kit and turnkey forms, then later adding the 810 Cord Phaeton, or what Southeastern called, the 815SE Phaeton. Southeastern Replicars heyday of building Auburn and Cord replicas.
The company was so well respected that cars would just show up on trailers to be restored, not even knowing whom the cars belonged to. Southeastern Replicars was a side company of Antique Autos of America, the replica division. Southeastern Replicars produced the 1935 Auburn Boattail Replica in kit and turnkey forms, then later adding the 810 Cord Phaeton, or what Southeastern called, the 815SE Phaeton. Southeastern Replicas heyday of building Auburn and Cord replicas. In 1982 Akins went on his own, started up Speedster Motorcars Inc, continued building Auburn Speedsters and restoring Antique, Classic, Sport and Street Rod.
In the fall of 2002, with business really starting to take off, Mike and Jeff Akins decided that the building they were in just wasn’t going to be enough. The two came to an agreement that there was a need for a mass-produced Auburn Boattail Speedster replica and they set out on a course that would rewrite the books on how to build a proper Auburn replica.
With some financial backing, Speedster Motorcars in a matter of months went from a 5,000 square foot facility in Clearwater to a 30,000 square foot full production facility in Pinellas Park, Florida. They then set about to put together a team of people that would make history producing what some have called the absolute best Auburn recreation. They were able to take the car to the next level by using a full custom fabricated chassis, dubbed the Speedster Gen II which used rectangle 2’’ x 4’’ steel with full cross members throughout to provide strength and rigidity. The days of using donor cars were a thing of the past. They utilized a fully modern 5.3 liter General Motors fuel injected engine that was completely computerized. Speedster Motorcars was able for the first time to use what they wanted to make this a real, fully functional, everyday driver automobile, and that is how they advertised it.
After a few months, Speedster Motorcars was once again on the front pages of countless auto magazines. Showing the world what a high-quality replica was supposed to look like. Speedster Motorcars for the first time started a dealer network across the country in which a customer could drive and see a new Auburn Speedster replica in person. In the first year of production with the help of over thirty employees, Speedster Motorcars was churning out car after car, producing twenty-three in the first year alone. Along side of the production, Speedster Motorcars was continuing to do some high quality restorations, total frame-offs to simple interior work, they never said that a job was too big or small for them. They now had some of the best fabricators in the business helping design their world-class automobiles.
By the beginning of 2004, the production outlook was looking up as they were hoping to hit a high mark of fifty cars produced in the year. This same year, the Akins’ met long time hot rodder, Terry Cook. Mr. Cook had been the brainchild behind countless custom automobilesincluding the famed Scrape, a chopped, channeled, and slammed 1939 Lincoln Zephyr.
Cook had been producing replica bodies of his Scrape automobile for years and approached Akins about producing turnkey Lincoln Zephyr replicas. Akins thought that it might be a good fit for the company. Development began on what Speedster Motorcars dubbed their Z-Series line in mid 2004. This was to be a hot rod for the masses. Being that a custom car would take someone years to have built or build on their own, with the Z-Series they could just walk onto the showroom and purchase a brand new hot rod at a decent price. With a hardtop and a roadster available. Speedster Motorcars was ready to take the world by storm with their new car. The first ZSeries cars rolled off the production line in January 2005 to rave reviews from customers, as they were selling quicker than Speedster could produce them. Later adding a Z-Series custom line in 2006 that showed you could build a show quality car in less than two months. All in all, Speedster Motorcars produced forty-one Zephyr replicas between 2005 and 2006. The high watermark in sales being an Alice Cooper themed Z- Series that ran through the famed Barrett Jackson Scottsdale auction bringing a cool quarter million dollars.
In mid 2006, Speedster Motorcars knew that they had to stay ahead of the curve and began to look for that next project. What presented itself was an opportunity to produce a replica of the world renowned 1955 Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe. The car was to called the GW Coupe. The GW Coupe was so stunning that it propelled the company to the front of
the magazines once again and even garnering its own write up in the New York Times.
Starting 2009 Speedster Motorcars worked with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, to build car art for display on their ships.
“Oasis of the seas”, “Allure”, “Symphony”, “Mariner”, “Navigator”
“Oasis of the seas” 1936 Auburn Speedster
1935 Mercedes 500 1955 Jaguar XK120
1974 VW Thing 1971 Dune Buggy
2010 V2 Custom Speedster
Also in 2010 Speedstermotorcars built a Speedster for Yasser the kings family of Saudi.
In 2011 Speedster motorcars finished their 1937 Cord Speedster prototype which made the front cover of severa Magazines.
Speedster Motorcars has become the epitome in neo-classic automobile production. They have shown throughout the years that if you can dream it, they can build it. Michael and Jeff have shown the world that they can build world class automobiles and people have noticed.