Back in the day, instrument clusters had some very cool designs and architecture, albeit limited functionality due to the available technology of the times. Today, getting the gauges just right for your resto mod project is the sole mission of Classic Instruments. As owner John McCleod puts it, “We really want that old school look and feel, but being able to run modern,” to which Willie replies with awe, “It really is a craft and a skill; it’s straight up art.”
TGGP Season 2
The aftermarket is a $300 billion industry powered by 270,000 independent shops driving massive amounts of inventory. When COVID swept in, it required an immediate need to pivot. As Chief Merchandising Officer, Dave Morris was at the forefront of navigating those rough seas for CarParts.com. In an insightful and candid conversation, the 30-year industry veteran takes Kevin and Willie behind the scenes of how the company not only survived but thrived throughout this unprecedented crisis. “We’re a very analytical company,” he explains. “We sell jobs, not parts.”
Generations have been trusting Dupli-Color and its sister product VHT for everything from oops-type fixes to full-on paint jobs since 1938. From prep and cleaner to undercoating, wheel coating, engine coating and truck bed coatings, Product Manager Brian A. Suter certainly has a lot on his color palette. Kevin and Willie caught up with him on a recent break to talk about the latest trends in the industry, his top tips for DIYers and how formulation is key to the continuing success of the brands.
zMAX Micro-lubricant is well known for its ability to soak into metal on a molecular level, dispersing nasty engine carbon build-up. Because the movement of metal is a constant engineering challenge, all types of companies have found uses for the product, from locomotives to small aircraft and large diesel engines. “Cars and speed are in our DNA,” notes VP and GM Dan Chittock, as epitomized by the company’s state-of-the-art 4-wide dragways in Charlotte and Las Vegas, a topic Willie and Kevin are all fired up to discuss.
On this episode, Chris Small of AkzoNobel leads the guys on a deep dive exploration of different types of automotive paint and how to successfully apply them. Noting that “cleanliness is pretty much everything,” Small makes the case for waterborne over solvent based paints. “Less experienced painters can have better results blending and things like that right out of the gate.”
RaceQuip has been producing fire protection and safety gear for the racing community since 1975. Patrick “The Badger” Utt bought the company out of bankruptcy in 2006 and nurtured it back to life. The root of his success? “It’s all about building quality gear and coming in at that price point that that grassroots racer is looking for and being competitive at that.” And while this life saving equipment isn’t always top of mind with his customers, as he bluntly explains to Kevin and Willie, “Safety gear is less expensive than skin grafts.”
What does the future of car audio look like? To answer this question, Kevin and Willie welcome John Myers of Kicker back to the podcast. Noting that the OEMs “do stuff to that audio signal that would just make an audiophile cringe,” Myers explains, “you’re really not buying car audio; you’re buying emotion.” Understanding the nuances and complexities of sound dynamics is the key. “You don’t know what you’re missing until you hear what you’re missing and then you gotta have it!”
On this week’s podcast, Kevin muses how brakes are “one of the coolest things you can put on a car, and who would’ve ever thought?” Well, Brembo North America President and CEO Dan Sandberg for one, and Performance Director Mike Messina for another. Not a company known to rest on its laurels, Brembo has just introduced its new UPGRADE program, a direct replacement for OE parts. “Don’t underestimate the brakes,” Dan tells the guys. “Stuff happens.”
Everyone’s heard the old adage, “There’s no replacement for displacement,” right? Well, Henry Bueno and Carsten Wagner of Wagner Tuning have gone to considerable lengths to thoroughly debunk this myth. Their intercoolers are a must-have for boosted applications, offering the largest application list of plug and play units in the aftermarket. With the company’s roots in Germany having recently expanded to a sprawling 60,000 square foot facility in Texas, Willie and Kevin are fired up to hear all about the art and science of cooling down.
Today Willie and Kevin are going vintage, beyond old school, to a time when Ford’s phenomenal flathead engine with its iconic V8 brought affordable parts to the masses – and gave birth to the original hot-rodding era in the process. Joining them on their journey is Bill Jagenow of Brothers Custom Automotive, who has an unbelievable eye for details and knows these engines inside and out.
There’s certainly no shortage of aftermarket waxes and polishes. Let the buyer beware – when it comes to “flossy and glossy,” not all products are created equal. Consider this alternative: ceramic coatings that create show-quality finishes that can last 9+ years. Kevin Davis from Gtechniq educates the guys on what it is and what sets it apart, schooling them on chemical bonding, physical curing, and the difference between hydrophobic and hydrophilic lubricity. Who knew?
On this episode the guys get a step-by-step crash course in powder coating from Lee Goldenstein of Pristine Powder Coating outside Denver. “I’m self-taught and self-trained,” says Lee, “and it’s just incredible what you can do now.” Header coatings in particular have become very popular, he notes; in addition to their killer looks available in hundreds of colors, they’re very strong and extremely durable, supplying a major reduction of radiant heat.