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!