Adam Reynoso is a certified gearhead.
In the 2nd grade, the Santa Barbara native gave a detailed class presentation on the differences between the ‘67, ‘68, and ‘69 Chevy Camaro. As a freshman at Dos Pueblos High School, Reynoso wrote an essay about his future goals. “I literally wrote, ‘I wanna have a shop building hot rods and doing custom work,’” he said.
Now Reynoso is living his dream, running his own business, Speedshop, in Old Town Goleta. Speedshop specializes in performance and customization, custom vinyl wrapping, and restoration of classic cars — including the immediately recognizable vintage BMWs, which have experienced a renaissance in the past couple of years.
The business started slowly, initially as a side project for Reynoso, who worked a day job at Prestigious Auto Body and used the space to work on personal projects at night. When the pandemic forced an almost complete shutdown, he found himself with a lot more free time, which he dedicated to running his new venture.
After a few weeks, business picked up. Reynoso was one of the first in town to offer vinyl wrapping services, a faster and more affordable alternative to painting that has boomed in popularity as both the quality and accessibility has increased. And since any design can be incorporated, the possibilities for customization are endless. “After the first couple full wrap jobs is when the word of mouth started spreading more,” Reynoso said.
Reynoso has another specialty that sets him apart — his collection of restored vintage “Bimmers,” ranging from late ‘60s to early ‘90s with their unmistakable rectangular body shapes and low-to-the-ground stances.
These early-era BMWs have found new life in the last decade, starting with musicians like Frank Ocean, who used a tangerine-colored 1990 E30 as the cover for his debut mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra (2011). Since then, the German cars have popped up in music videos like Khalid’s “Better” and have been immortalized by musician and rally car enthusiast Tyler, the Creator in a song titled “Bimmer.”
For Reynoso, his love for BMWs started when, after driving a newer model in 2008, he found the flashy style didn’t fit him, and he traded it two years later for a 1989. “I just got into it,” he said. “It was just so much cooler than every brand-new M3 that I saw on every corner in L.A.”
The model, one of the brand’s most popular among collectors since the E30 debuted in 1986, has skyrocketed in price in the past five years. The M3 version, Reynoso said, can reach prices up to a quarter of a million dollars. Even the base-model 300-series BMWs, which would sell for less than $5,000 a couple of years ago, have tripled or even quadrupled in price. “Something happened where the market just shot up,” he said. “It went from regular cars to just through the roof.”
Reynoso currently owns a small pack of BMWs, including his own personal ride: a 1972 forest-green 2002 that serves as the shop car, a testament to the level of detail he puts into a performance vehicle. He mostly drives it on the track in Santa Maria but occasionally takes it up into the mountains, where he says the car shows its true potential.
“They just feel like they’re glued to the floor, to the point where you can just drive through really twisty roads,” he said. Driving the smaller, nimble cars changed his perspective on speed. “Fast is relative, if you’re going 25 miles an hour through a turn that most people are taking at five — that’s fast.”
Reynoso hopes that his shop can continue to build a profile, and that he can continue to work on cars that he loves. His latest venture is a raffle, where one lucky winner will take home a 1991 five-speed BMW 318i convertible for just $100.
He has sold 70 tickets so far and will choose a winner when 100 are purchased. The raffle has built some excitement through the shop’s Instagram account, @speeedshop, and Reynoso is looking forward to using the money from the raffle to invest back into his shop. “Everything I make goes back into this,” he said. “This is my home, my spot.”