Interested from birth in anything with wheels, Jim developed a love of mechanical devices that became a lifetime love affair with automobiles and their designs. As a young boy in Houston, Texas, he started drawing cars and went on to a GM sponsored mechanics program, a formal 3-year apprenticeship in European cars and a further 2-year Ferrari apprenticeship. He has had his own business restoring and repairing high-end sports cars since 1975, primarily specializing in high-end classic Italian and Japanese automobiles. Having held his first job as a mechanic at the age of 13, Jim now has half a century of experience with cars of diverse makes and origins.
Jim started Simpson Design in 1978 as an outlet for his original design work in building custom sports cars. His work has caught the eye of other noted designers such as Pete Brock. One of his creations, Blue Ray 3, a concept car built on a preproduction second generation Mazda 929 prototype chassis, represented Nardi at their 60th anniversary at the Concorso Italiano during the 1992 Monterey Pebble Beach weekend. As part of his associations with Mazda, his designs on Miata platforms have been featured in Mazda's booth at the Laguna Seca Historic races.
In addition to his business experience as a designer and mechanic, Jim has appeared as a speaker and celebrity judge at automotive events across the country. He served as Chief Judge at the Classy Chassis Concours d'Elegance—at the time the 3rd largest concours event in the United States—for 9 years, and at Seattle, WA's All Italian Concours for 11 consecutive years. He helped found the first annual Keels & Wheels event in Houston, TX and served as its first Head Judge. He has returned in more recent years as a celebrity judge adjudicating the Concept class.
Simpson Design specializes in unique, hand-built exotic automobiles combining the high level of style and quality of vintage classics with reliability and mechanical peace of mind of modern sportscar technology. Because we build cars tailored to the individual client's needs and budget, SD owners can spend more time on the road and less time in the shop.
Anyone with enough money to burn can drive a big name brand sportscar identical to all the others produced on an assembly line. Our clients are confident, self-assured, earnest automotive enthusiasts from all walks of life looking for a bespoke, tailored driving experience: a car that turns heads beyond the typical status symbol of a well known brand badge. Our owners are excited by the prospect of hearing on a daily basis, "What is this car? I've never seen anything like it!"
Founded by designer and master mechanic Jim Simpson in 1978 in Houston, Texas and now based out of Clinton, Washington, Simpson Design has been producing a wide range of custom automobiles for an equally wide range of clients. We have clients across the USA and have produced custom cars for enthusiasts as far away as Asia, Europe and even the Middle East. While we produced body conversion kits for enthusiast builders in the past, all cars now produced by Simpson Design are built and customized by hand by Jim Simpson himself.