The latest escapade of Noel Slade that has come to light is a tale of two H Vans. Well actually one, and what has now become pretty much half of one. It goes like this:
Chef Nacxi Gaxiola wanted an H Van as a Mexican food truck. He came across Noel on the internet and bought an H Van from him that he said he would restore. Part of the deal was that a kitchen would be put in the vehicle which Nacxi would take care of. It would be structurally prepped and painted by Noel and then the H Van would go to a third party to design and build the kitchen. The kitchen was installed and the H Van was sent back to Noel to finish the job. That required putting in an engine and doing all the mechanical work, but he never did…
After 3 years of trying to take possession of the fully restored vehicle and getting nowhere, (the engine, transmission, some running gear, doors, windshield, radiator, front hood, seats, headlights etc. were still missing), Nacxi took decided to take legal action and got a judgment against Noel in court. (Noel didn’t show up to dispute it so Nacxi won). The judgement came during the period Noel tried to move to his new shop (as mentioned in our February Citroenvie article). When the Sheriff stopped by Noel’s new shop to levy the judgment, Noel said he had sold the H Van to another party. (Incomplete but fully outfitted with a kitchen that Nacxi had paid for)! With the H Van’s ownership being legally under Nacxi’s name, the Sheriff said he had to file a report for theft which he did. Now, with the police involved it became a criminal matter. Nacxi believes that Noel was arrested at that point and made bail. Meanwhile, the police had to go and tell the poor people that paid Noel for the H Van that they do not own it, that it has to go back to Nacxi and that they now need to take Noel to court.
With the H Van (or part of it) finally in Nacxi’s possession, he contacted Dave Burnham, who is now trying to get the all the missing running gear and body parts to make it a functional vehicle that Naxci can make some income in serving Mexican food.
When its not H Vans that are being ponzied by Noel these days, there is the ongoing saga of 2CV fraud. Case in point; that of Larry Epstein who is getting screwed by Noel. He paid $17,000 for what turned out to be a crappy 2CV off eBay (not a Noel car) and then took it to Noel to be restored. Now he has another $18,000 in the car with Noel and he won’t return Larry’s calls or emails. Larry is a lawyer and runs a huge machinery business. Though this will not hurt him financially, he is not happy and will be trying to get whatever he can out of Noel.
As outrageous as these incidents are, it would seem that people are still being duped by Noel. We saved one person, who in April fortunately came across our February article about Noel, from loosing more than just an initial deposit of $2,500 for a fully decked out H Van food truck that Noel claimed he would build for between $65 – 75K and he encouraged the customer to take a loan out to pre-pay for it!
We have published this article in an effort to make people aware of the perils in dealing with Noel Slade and whatever Citroën business he is operating as these days. From what we can tell his website http://www.frenchclassics.us/ is now defunct and he is back operating as Eurocar Imports LLC. http://citroenimportservices.com/ at least on the net! It is probably not by co-incidence that the naming of his short lived FrenchClassics.us business closely resembles legitimate Citroën service and restoration companies such as Citroën Classics in San Diego and French Classics in the UK. Its hard to pin down what business name he is operating as these days with when it comes down emails, phone calls and contracts. Buyer beware!
Even if Noel does cease to do business or go to jail or be deported, there is one heck of a mess to deal with as the vehicles he has actually delivered to customers have extremely shoddy workmanship and in some cases have proved to be downright dangerous! Take for example a customer in Montreal with a “restored” 2CV from Noel that was missing the steering pinion shaft to steering column clamp bolt. Without it if you pull up on the steering wheel while driving you can completely free the steering column from the steering rack!
If you have been affected by dealings with Noel Slade we encourage you to let us know so we can try to get the word out to others. Citroëns are an enjoyable and passionate hobby for many of us that have bought wisely. Its truly a shame that actions like these by Noel Slade are impeding unsuspecting newcomers from the pleasure of Citroën ownership.
Update as of May 30, 2017: We have been able to access the website http://www.frenchclassics.us/ and have noticed that it continues to expand. A call was placed back in March to his landlord in West Creek (it’s a car dealership) and asked if he was really their tenant. The woman on the phone said he was.
UPDATE: April 5, 2018 – We have just discovered that Noel’s “other” old website, Citroën Import Services, has come back online. It does not appear to be updated, but to the unsuspecting viewer there is contact info and the impression that cars are available for purchase. It is amazing that this URL and his other site http://www.frenchclassics.us/ are online and have not been shut down by court order. Buyer beware!
UPDATE: April 26, 2023 – Noel has reappeared with a Facebook page where he lists himself as a “Servant at Medford Golf Course” and lives in Medford, New Jersey. https://www.facebook.com/noel.slade/about
The Canadian west coast chapter of eurocar.ca was just as much a scam then. The owners name was wim vanderbalm, who was always reeking of alcohol. Long story short a bunch of people got screwed out of money and half finished projects. A friend and I helped assemble a few cars for people who manage to free them before the baliff seized his assets. These cars were in boxes. He was was good a disassembly a least. Unfortunately others paid huge deposits on cars that didn’t exist. Interesting to hear that Noel is just a bad.
Has anyone got any knowledge of the whereabouts of the H Van with VIN EGC526H? I sold it a few years ago to Mary & Andy Gowing but have lost their contact details and I would love to know how they have got on with it.
I cannot commend you enough for writing this article. I am the owner of the 2CV in Montreal . It took me seven years to get my car that I had paid in full . When I was driving her to get checked she almost caught on fire .i was extremely lucky . Amoung other things like the steering shaft , the king pins were shoddy , the windows scratched, the bed was rusted out and covered with carpet , the wipers were out on backwards , there was. I super fluid system , the car would rev up uncontrollably, she would spot white smoke . I pumped another 4K into the car to get her drivable . I was lied to for years . My sister has cancer , I’m in England , I’m sick , my kids are sick .. my wife is in the hospital ….
Noel Slade should be IN JAIL .
I will tell you my little adventure with Mr Slade. Last year, I saw on ebay a Citroen Dyane body shell for sale. It looked like a good one and was complete except for frame, running gear and front part (fenders and hood). I kept an eye on it . I have enough parts here to rebuild it and the ad said that it was coming from Spain and with minimal rust issue. It was for sale by Noel.
I bought it, It was cheap enough that I figured if I had to spend some money on shipping it would be worth it. I paid for it in full right away.
I spoke, through ebay, to Noel of the best way to bring it to the west coast. He suggested that I should buy a rusty old frame, axles and wheels from him; he would put it together then it would be easier to ship. He asked $500 for all. I sent the money. Then he said that one of his friends could take care of the transport from NJ to the West coast for $1050. I agreed and sent the money. It was mid-July…
Then the communication become more and more difficult every time I tried to speak to him. He had always excuses why my car had not left his premises. That carried on until December. I was very upset about the complete deal and I was also away during January.
When I came back I tried to get an answer for the delay and when I will see the car that I had already paid for… but, his ebay account was not active anymore. He never answered any of my calls since. I tried and tried, also the new number at the new location.
So I tried to get ebay involved but because the auction finished more than 90 days ago and the seller (Citroenimportusa) doesn’t exist anymore, they can’t do anything for me!!! Disgusting!
It’s not a huge amount of money lost and I have not lost my house or my life, but honestly where is the honesty? How can he lives telling lies and taking other peoples’ money under false promises? I run my own restoration shop and I know that it’s not easy every day but come on, you need to deliver good quality work and be honest with your customers if you want to succeed and be respected.
Though I would let you know .
Please, please, spread the word that Noel Slade is very dangerous crook and we must find a way to either arrest him or spread the word that no Citroen aficionado would be able to contact him.
My story is long and a bit unreal. It goes back to almost 3 years and, at one point, I had sent him over $ 30,000 for him to restore my youth dream cars: a Citroen Traction Avant and a SM.
I live in the NY metropolitan area and I even visited his place. The guy was very convincing. But I acted very fast when I realized that the list of his excuses were endless
(some of them mentioned by others: sick sister in UK, wife having operation, etc. etc.)
I started harassing him CONSTANTLY, by phone , email, driving to his place and threatening to call the police. I called him at least 20 times per day (though got voice mail), emails one after the other…. It worked and I got almost all my money back; Still owes be $ 8,000. And, after 3 years, I am still harassing him…..
I urge you, please harass him as much as you can. This guy is a sleaze and I still cannot understand how he can fool people and how he is not in jail.
Makes you wonder if he reads these forums and prides himself. My Slade adventure started in April of 2016 when I started looking for a 2CV rebuild. Paid the down payment, listened to the sob stories, sent him more money he “ needed to get the paint job done”. Thought paying for the job up front would expedite things. Ha!!! Unfortunately I came across this forum after the damage was done. At this point I lost all desire to have any car that he touched. Just want my money back to I can go to a reputable source and get my dream 2CV.
How I wish these blog postings were made two years ago. It might have saved me many thousands of dollars lost and a lot frustration. I too will share my experience with Mr. Slade. I had been holding off, hoping that he would do the right thing and return the money he defrauded me out of. Well, he’s yet to do so, so here it goes: In October, 2015 I contracted Noel to restore a DS I had purchased from him for $4,500. Over the following ten months I sent money for this project, amounting to $11,200 (including the purchase price of the vehicle). During that time I only received one progress report, along with photographs–and it took many entreaties to get it. At the end of that ten-month period a personal visit to his shop revealed that no work had been to the vehicle at all (that holds true to this day). The progress report was all lies, and the photos fake–probably from a DS he had done years earlier. Foolishly I gave Noel a second chance. Never heard a word from him, not even to inform me that he had filed for bankruptcy, unless I pressed for a status report. Finally when a lot negative stories began to appear online did I terminate my contract with him. That was in February, 2017. As mentioned, I’ve yet to see a dime returned to me. It boggles my mind how he remains in business, especially since it sounds as though he’s been doing to other people what he did to me on a serial basis. To anyone out there considering doing business with Noel, beware! All your hard-earned dollars spent with him will only get you deception and evasiveness. At least that’s all it got me. Thank you, Citroenvie for getting the word out there!
Thank you all for coming forward about this horrible scam artist. I sued him for the $15;000 I paid him for a Citroen CV. I won the case against him. New Jersey has the strictest fraud laws in the country. If you win a fraud case the amount awarded is tripled. That said, he owes me $45,000 plus interest going back three years. I have not seen a penny. He apparently has declared bankruptcy but my attorney found him selling tons of things as ATV’s etc. on Facebook and EBay. So, that means he is still in business and NOT in jail. My attorney has made him a priority and will get him eventually. I will update all when I have more current info.
Here Chef Nacxi, main subject of the story. I would love to get in touch with you to see how that is moving forward on your end as well as to have a better understand about your case. I also had a case against him, but not for fraud. Not that at this point the recovery expectations for any of us are close to nothing. But id i can add or amend my case for fraud, I hope this can add at least to the pile of crimes I’m hoping he has hanging already.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Never met this bird, and not defending him, but having some experience with restorers of other makes, I’d like to comment that I’ve seen (especially, one car, first time) owners get stung, upset, even unmarried as a result of exactly these issues.
Restoration of relatively low-market-value cars is tricky, compared with six-digit work on the valuable stuff. Compromises have to be made, it’s really a craft business, very much dependent on individual skills and the number of unknowns that only appear once the cars come apart. Restorers take on too much work, put lower yielding, less profitable work on the backburner, run into supply problems, run out of cash, and end up failing to deliver, doing shoddy work, or just take forever. It is not unusual to have a shop go out of business with one’s car sitting in piles of boxes, un-recoverable boxes.
With experience, or just good advice, an owner can do more than just avoid known bums. The owner is really the general contractor; the person defining the scope and cost of the job, and therefore needs to study up as much as possible. Ultimately, you are going to put your life behind that wheel, so as much as you can, you provide the quality control and safety functions. An old car always has problems; my dear MGs can actually snap wheel spindles; (a bad thing). No restorer is going to either spot or remediate this. Your carefully rebuilt drivetrain can still pack it in after a conscientious rebuild. And so forth. So, take charge at the get go, compare notes with friends, and prepare to be thrilled when everything works out as you planned.
hi sorry to read this – I sent an AK400 van to Slade last year – he did some work on it – well at least I think he did.
He has stopped responding to text and voice mail.
Should I just go up there and pickup whats left.
Any advise welcomed.
I would get there ASAP and verify the vehicle still even exists. If so, get it out of there no matter what condition it is and send it to a qualified Citroen mechanic (like Dave Burnham) to go over the vehicle to ensure its mechanical integrity and do any further repairs.
thanks – will head up there next week!!!