Oklahoma-based coachbulder Classic Recreations is back in business one month after state law enforcement raided the shop and impounded vehicles. The cars have been returned and company's owner wants to change a vague law he says harms reputable shops.
Classic Recreations is well known for making recreation Mustangs and other high dollar retro vehicles, including the Shelby GT500CR we drove in May. When we visited the facilities it seemed like everything was being done in a straight-forward manner, unlike what occurred during the Unique Performance saga.
It was therefore a surprise when the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations raided the shop looking for stolen equipment. The company claims this happened because of "false accusations from a disgruntled ex-employee" and points out that no stolen equipment was found.
While the authorities found no evidence of theft or fraud, they did impound numerous cars and determined that Classic Recreations replaced some of the sheet metal on the vehilces without retitling them in violation of current Oklahoma laws. Shop owner Jason Engel disagreed with the definition of the restoration protocol as outlined by the law, but eventually the company made a deal with the DA, the details of which are sealed, but will allow Classic Recreations to continue normal operations.
"Laws were created to protect people from car thieves, now the government is reinterpreting those laws to go after restoration shops, and it makes keeping classic cars on the road very difficult," says Engel.
Classic Recreations will continue to build the cars under the current interpretation of the law to avoid a repeat of the issue and is currently working to craft legislation that clarifies what shops can and can't do.
"What happened to me could happen to anyone."