Panama supercar fraud banks on Top Gear brand

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UPDATED BELOW - Fascinating read on the Jalopnik car blog, about a company called "Super Replicas", which purports to manufacture replicas of really fancy and expensive cars in Panama. Except that they don't. Read it, here's part one, and part two.

We knew already that almost everything swanky and luxurious in Panama is fake. Fake Burj al Arab hotel recycled into a Trump club. Fake screwdriver buildings. Fake glass dildos. And so on. However, with the supercars, even the fakes are fake. They don't exist!

Jalopnik lists a long parade of wackiness typical for the kind of scams one finds in the Nigeria of Central America, from fake interviews with Steven Spielberg to fake pictures, fake famous car people like Tanner Foust being involved, and of course the fake ties with the real Top Gear, a hugely popular automotive TV show from the BBC.

When confronted with inconsistencies in their offerings and claims, a guy called Scott gives the typical reply we've come to know so well from Panamanian shysters:

I told Scott I had a hard time believing any of this, and that the photos they show online appear to be those of actual supercars, not replicas.

His response was a lengthy diatribe on a variety of topics, including how the Bush administration committed war crimes after 9/11, how the FBI and CIA keep international businesses from growing, how "most Americans know" that John F. Kennedy wasn’t really killed by a lone gunman, and how I, as a journalist, should be exposing the American politicians who he said authorize soldiers to murder babies instead of going after a small business like Super Replicas and “Top Gear.”

“America is just one big lie,” Scott said. “If you really believe that bin Laden blew up the Twin Towers, then you’re not a very good journalist ... It’s guys like you that help them crush the little fish.”

The “little fish,” he said, is Super Replicas and Top Gear, which he claims are honest businesses that help working people afford the cars of their dreams. And the people who say Super Replicas took their money? Just trolls, that's all.

Jalopnik asked the automotive hustlers for proof that they were really building cars, and in return they sent a picture of one of the principals, who goes by the name of Rither Sanchez (anyone know who this clown really is?), next to what is supposedly a replica of an orange Lamborghini. Hecho en Panama! Turns out that it is indeed a replica, but built by MC Customs in Miami - a real company and unrelated to the Panama fraud.

Most other pictures they use on their sites and in their weird videos are in fact the real cars, or replicas made by other companies.

Did people lose money with this scam? There are claims floating around on the interwebs to that effect.

We tried looking up the company in the Panamanian Public Registry but, as so often happens, their system didn't work. UPDATE: We found the documents, superreplicas and topgearracing. And now it gets interesting, because here's a quote from the Jalopnik article:

He promised me that the naysayers are just trolls set up by competitors and actual car companies whose business is threatened by Super Replicas. He said we couldn’t find their office because they meet with people “by appointment only,” and happen to be booked solid through May. And he insisted that Tony Sinclair and Rither Sanchez have nothing to do with “Top Gear,” which he said is the New York business he works for. “I can’t tell you you who he is, or what he is,” Scott said.

But if you look at the files from the registry, they have the same directors! (/ENDUPDATE)

In any case, we're thinking about ordering a car. A Bentley, why not? Hey dudes, can we pay with a Pronto Cash debit card?

8 thoughts on “Panama supercar fraud banks on Top Gear brand

  1. Do they sell beach front resorts with marinas and developments with rolling hills also? Maybe they can provide replica Ford police cars!

  2. Maybe what you said might be true… except the comparation with Nigeria… Panamá is one of the fastes growing countries in the world… I bet we grow more tan your country every year. Is there no crime in your country? because we have a lot oo crucks from your country in our jails…Please respect to be respected. If you have an angry soul and a short mind… please respect!

  3. What a bizarre scheme! Wouldn’t it be as easy to operate a productive business than to spend so much effort conning people with these weird and wonderful ideas? Or is it just the sport of it, the juega vivo, that they like?

    During 10 years of importing and financing buses and heavy equipment in Panama I was constantly amazed at how adept the clients were at inventing ways of not paying. They went to huge lengths, with intricate plot-lines and smoke and mirrors to avoid paying. I had to ever sharpen my wits to remain in business.

    However the few that simply paid thrived. The others got caught in their own webs and floundered. In casual conversation the tricksters admit that the payers always do well in the end but somehow they still saw the juega vivo as a more “honourable“ way to go. I harp on about this weird psychology too much. But I still can`t get my head around it. It is as uniquely Panamanian as Samy y Sandra.

  4. Gabriel,

    The Nigeria comparison was the most accurate. It is growing rapidly also along with Iraq. Economic growth is greatest when you start from zero. Panama is growing because it is spending itself into oblivion.

    True many countries have crime, but only a few are based on it.

    Panamanians always demand respect. !Respetame! As though it were something they were entitled to. It is earned and does not need to be asked for.

    As far as having foreign crooks in your jails, this is a good thing. Panamanian crooks however rarely end up in jail. They are sent to the legislature and presidential palace instead.

  5. Now there is a company in David building small 30 to 50 passenger buses!

    They look nice, but look out!

    They are fabricated out of square tubing like they are building a mobile home with wheels(Caravan) , then welded together by uncertified weldors with no quality control inspection or any type of safety certification!

    They then slapped on the molded sheet metal sides, front and back , the floor, then the roof , windows and add the interior.

    If there is any type of accident or even minor collision a lot of people will be seriously hurt, maimed, or killed !

    Just like everything else build, repaired, updated, or remodeled here in Panama the workmanship is not safe at any speed or in any condition for that matter, even when stationary!

    It was on the National News at 6:00 tonight!

    I was unable to locate the video from the broadcast!

    “Panama all show and no go!”

  6. I too spoke with Scott (Ken Scott) and brought up questions of association with SuperCar replicas and fraud activities. Scott promised me they were a legit organization and would even ship vehicle at no upfront cost and that I could pay for it up to 30 days after receipt. I thought “Wow! That’s putting your money where your mouth is!”

    The vehicle was scheduled to arrive today (March 30,2013) and …nothing… cant even get a return e-mail or response… truth is,I could have been a major advertising and credibility asset for them. Oh well, nothing ventured nothing gained…

    If a vehicle shows up.. I’ll let you know and post real pictures! Holding breath now… NOT! 🙂

    Also, Panama has some wonderful and beautiful people. I hate that these good people are being associated with any form of criminal activity. To these good people, like all good people, you have earned the respect of the world. My best to you!

    Dallas Don

  7. If it was possible to build an affordable electric car here in Panama that met reasonable safety standards the cities might not be quieter, but I’m sure they would smell cleaner! That might even qualify as a “pork barrel” project! lol {:<)

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