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Barchetta Business: Be Your Own Boss

For 30 years, Darryl Fling and his company, D&B Enterprises, have been building bespoke exotic cars in Sequim, Washington. His Barchetta 3500 pays homage to the vintage Maserati racers of yesteryear, offering the same care and attention to detail you would expect from something thoughtfully built to order. Each car takes between four and six months to construct and he typically builds just one car per year. That puts the Barchetta 3500 in pretty rarified air, so to find such an offering on craigslist is a bit like finding a genuine unicorn advertised on craigslist.

So here’s the deal: At 61-years-old, Fling is looking for someone to take over his sports car manufacturing business. He has custom engineered a full aluminum monocoque chassis, to which he custom builds and mounts suspension components, and sources custom wire wheels. He offers two aluminum V8 engine options mated to a 5-speed manual, with ZF limited slip differential and disc brakes at all four corners. His creations — which can be customized from what I understand — boast 50/50 weight distribution, weigh 1,600 lbs, and with the 3.9L (smaller) engine option, offer 270 bhp.

 

Basically, you’re buying Fling’s expertise, reputation and engineering prowess, which manifest themselves in the Barchetta 3500. He is careful to explain these are NOT kit cars but rather works of art that are for serious collectors and enthusiasts. Given his age and that he has “lots of restoration work I need to wrap up,” he says he doesn’t have the time to devote to continuing the business. But, Fling adds, “it should go on after me.” Knowing this, he’s looking for someone with mechanical skills to take over the Barchetta business.

Normally, I don’t watch television. But, I happen to be traveling at the moment and hotels have TV. On TV is a program called Shark Tank. I secretly wonder whether buying this business, learning its intricacies, and honing the craftsmanship required to build the Barchetta 3500 (and possibly even expanding the offerings) might help grow this business into something bigger? Or whether even just an appearance — regardless of Mr. Wonderful’s investment bucks — might not kickstart the customer orders?

I ask the above questions knowing that, like so many businesses out there, personal reputation largely anchors success, and 30 years is a long time to be in the auto biz. It’s also a long time to make supplier connections and network in the industry. And a long time to amass tools and equipment. A new owner will clearly need to be tenacious if his/her initial investment is to blossom into something as (or more) fruitful. I suspect there is someone out there for this business and I for one look forward to seeing what the future holds for the Barchetta 3500.

Comments

  1. RayT Member

    I know this doesn’t answer Stephen’s question, but I would love to have one! For a distance, at least, it looks as if Darryl Fling has poured a LOT of expertise into these cars, and the workmanship looks fine. I’ve known one builder of low-volume sports cars — he sold plenty of kits, too, but basically they were virtually finished cars into which the new owner could install wheels and engines — whose work I would trust implicitly, and this appears to be another.

    The chassis looks to be a tube frame and not a moncoque, though.

    I certainly couldn’t afford one of these Barchettas. But then, I couldn’t afford a Maserati 450S, either, and this looks sure to provide the same kind of thrills!

    Like 8
    • Stephen Mostad Staff

      @RayT — Totally agree on the monocoque observation, but far be it from me to correct a master. His CL ad says “a full aluminum monocoque” and so not being privy to the entire build process, it’s reported based on the info he provided.

      Like 3
  2. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    Wow.. what a beautiful machine… Sexy lines and that engine with looks like Weber carburetors really looks cool. Yes that’s rolling art. I was at a local car show at Bear Mountain NY we have it Wednesday night. And talking to our car guys my age 63 we know young people really are not into old muscle cars or beautiful old cars. And it’s hard to find parts and supplies when people are retired and the flow stops. I really hope he finds the right person or people to take over this wonderful business. Good Luck..🇺🇸🐻🇺🇸

    Like 7
  3. ithardin

    I suddenly wish I was 25 and actually was teachable enough to take this over.

    Like 15
  4. Vance

    When Rush came out with ” Red Barchetta ” in 1980, I loved the entire album and bought the 8 track immediately. This is exactly how I pictured that car in my mind, low to the ground with a massive engine, wind in my hair, and a smile on my face. I never skipped that song, I would play the entire album. This car is waaaay out of my means, but to hear that song and drive this car, it doesn’t get any better than that. Beautiful car and great memories.

    Like 18
  5. Allen

    I strip away the old debris, that hides a shining car
    A brilliant red Barchetta, from a better, vanished time
    Fire up the willing engine, responding with a roar!
    Tires spitting gravel, I commit my weekly crime…

    Like 21
    • Stephen Mostad Staff

      @Allen, @Vance — so glad to read fellow Rush fans here! Rick Beato is also a big fan and breaks down the music behind the music. Here, he’s pulling apart Closer to the Heart (https://youtu.be/G_nWnyrvjdU) but also recently did Xanadu which was a thrill.

      Like 2
    • Malcontented Misanthrope

      Peart wrote wonderful lyrics.

      Like 4
  6. Robbie

    BTW —- The roll bar is missing in some pictures, what’s up?
    2 different cars?

    The car is a pure work of art!!!!!

    Like 4
    • Howie

      Yes, the one photo has two cars in it, just the one has a bar. This would be a blast to drive!!

      Like 1
  7. Darryl fling

    To answer your questions, yes is has a custom build ladder frame, and a full aluminum monoquoc attacted to that, to completly support the body.
    And yes some had roll bars, some not, some had hood blisters, etc.

    Like 14
  8. OldCarGuy

    I’m 80+, but does anyone know where to connect to the devil? I need to go back to my 30s, and source a pile of cash. I fell in love with the original, but my gold mining schemes never did work out. What a beauty this is, and my compliments to Darryl Fling.

    Like 8
  9. Sam61

    Absolute beauty! Is there a marriage with the late Carrol Shelby’s organization? There would be economies of scale, crafts people, etc….careful balancing act to increase production and maintain the engineering prowess and exclusivity. Kind of a shadow/halo car to the Cobra

    What a great legacy Mr. Fling created.

    Like 8
  10. peter havriluk

    Too bad he appropriated the Maserati badgework. Fake. No Maserati.

    Like 1
    • Solosolo Solosolo Member

      I believe there were only about 350 AC Cobra’s but there are over 60,000 Fake Snakes, however, that doesn’t make them any less desireable if you don’t have the cash for an original does it?

      Like 11
  11. douglas hunt

    WOW, just WOW!!! that would be so much fun to drive …….unfortunately way outta my league but #thestuffofdreams

    Like 5
  12. peter havriluk

    Tribute art is still beautiful. But if AC Cars didn’t make them, it’s appropriating someone else’s reputation for one’s own product that resembles the one whose badges are falsely being imitated. Lots of observers will think they’re beholding a 60-year-old rarity, not a six-month-old hot rod.

    Like 1
  13. princeofprussia

    Dang, that is one sweet little racer/roadster!

    Like 1
  14. JBD

    My buddy built one with the Rover based 4.5 V8 – 4 V and it is a beautiful piece of art. I e parked my Jag S1.5 E type roadster show car next to it and he still gets more attention.

    Like 1
    • Solosolo Solosolo Member

      No matter if your beautiful E Type is a 100 point winner it is still one of thousands of E Types ,whereas your buddy’s Barchetta is one of less than 100 produced. Both great cars though.

      Like 2
  15. Darryl fling

    I should add I have an instagram accountn for the Barchetta
    #Barchetta3500 where I post lots of pics and videos so you can see and hear the Barchetta in action

    Enjoy
    Darryl Fling

    Like 2
  16. Jim Simpson

    Shaping aluminum by hand and/or through English wheels, spinning lathes, Bead rollers, pull-max machines takes years of experience. There are a few instructors out there–Ron Covell, Fay Butler, Kent White- are a few who offer(ed) these traditional shaping method classes. Yet, finding the dedicated younger set of savvy and capable individuals to maintain the craft may be the larger part of success for such a business. Newer 3D technologies are aiming that direction by making forms for deep draw hydraulic pressings. Still, your budget will have to rival Elon Musk to achieve such shaping -at least so far….Soon we will have that technology in $ scale.

    • Darryl fling

      Is this Jim Simpson from Simpson Racing? I thought about contacting you.
      To the point you are making, my body is fiberglass. And I designed all the aluminum monocouqe without compound curves. So no English wheel needed.

      • Jim Simpson

        Jim S of Jim Simpson Designs out of Washington State and I know each other–coincidentally having the same name, and similar businesses. We had often met each other at events. He has a good deal of Fiberglass experience with the Miata conversions. Close to our all our hearts are hand laid fiberglass creations, as my first car at 14 years old was a Buick v8 powered Devin. Now, my business has evolved into a fairly well known PARTS restoration facility, primarily dealing with exotic Italian parts. The only thing that we do not fix are marriages! Our experience is deep into manipulating and forming parts, and all materials, scratch fabricating the past–far beyond the average shop’s capabilities. Thank you for directing me to what you do! Great stuff.

  17. Darryl fling

    To anwser Jim Simpson’s point. The Barchetta body is fiberglass, I own a mold that was pulled from an authentic Maserati A6GCS Barchetta
    And I designed the aluminum monocouqe so there are no compound curves, only straight bends, and arcs. So no English wheel needed. No great metal shaping skills needed.
    Darryl Fling

    To see lots of videos of the Barchetta driving check out
    #Barchetta3500 on instagram

    • peter havriluk

      So proud of one’s own work that the builder attaches somebody else’s name to it?

  18. Kenn

    I don’t know. Would I rather have a Barchetta or a Fling? Think about it.

    Like 1
  19. Bunky

    FYI: The “Rover” aluminum V8 is an aluminum Buick V8, built under license.

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