Lingenfelter’s Expansion Strategy Leads to New Facility

In keeping with its expansion strategy, Lingenfelter Performance Engineering has opened a new, multi-purpose facility in Wixom, Mich., to keep pace with growing demand for the company’s performance products and services. The new 30,000 square-foot facility is an addition to Lingenfelter Performance Engineering’s (LPE) original engine and vehicle build operations located in Decatur, Ind.

“Continual well-planned development and expansion of all the operations that make up this brand have made Lingenfelter a turn-key automotive performance supplier,” said Ken Lingenfelter, CEO/owner, Lingenfelter Performance Engineering. “Our new Wixom Build Facility is a fully operational state-of-the-art engine and vehicle customization center, complete with top-of-the-line engine and chassis dynamometers, and CNC tooling and machining capabilities, all operated by LPE trained technicians.”

Lingenfelter’s new Wixom Build Facility is also a destination that offers performance enthusiasts a unique experience. All Lingenfelter performance components, including its growing line of crate engines, and Lingenfelter-engineered cars and trucks, will be available for purchase at the Wixom facility. With an initial staff of seven technicians, the Wixom Build Facility will feature one-stop-shopping, offering on-site performance tuning and restyling, and engine tuning for GM vehicles, including Cadillacs, CTS-Vs, Corvettes, Camaros, Pontiacs, and Chevrolet/GMC trucks and SUVs. Tuning customers receive a USB flash drive with before and after dyno numbers indicating the increase in horsepower of their vehicles.

Enthusiasts can view a sampling of vehicles from the Lingenfelter Collection in a new showroom housed in the Wixom Build Facility, which will feature a rotating lineup of some of world’s most revered vehicles.

Each Saturday morning, from May 3 through Sept. 20, there will be a Cars & Coffee car show taking place at the LPE Wixom Build Facility from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. Lingenfelter apparel will be available at the new Wixom facility. Additionally, shoppers can visit the on-site Lingenfelter retail store, which carries Lingenfelter-branded apparel, gifts and automobile accessories.

The Wixom Build Facility opened on the heels of the Lingenfelter Performance Engineering Warehouse, conveniently located near Lingenfelter Motor Sports in Brighton, Mich. A global distribution center, the LPE Warehouse was established to house the company’s rapidly growing performance components design and distribution division supplying components to distributors, dealers and the Lingenfelter build facilities.

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What Can CNC Do For You?

Centroid CNC main 300x225 What Can CNC Do For You? by Authcom, Nova Scotia\s Internet and Computing Solutions Provider in Kentville, Annapolis Valley

Are you using Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) equipment in your shop? According to our most recent Babcox Machine Shop Market Profile Survey, 12 percent of engine builders said they own a CNC machining center (a multi-purpose machine that can do surfacing, boring, milling, drilling, etc.). The survey also asked what other types of equipment our readers own (boring & honing machines, surfacers, valve guide & seat machines, etc.), but we didn’t ask if the equipment was manual or CNC. Most shops (88 to 94 percent) own these types of machines, as one would expect since they make their living doing engine work. Had we asked for a breakdown between manual and CNC machines, the percentage of shops who are using some type of CNC equipment would likely be one out of four or maybe even one out of three. The point is the use of CNC equipment continues to grow — and with good reason.

Many of the CNC machines that are in use today are found in high-end performance shops, shops that work on a lot of late model engines, and shops that are doing specialized machining for both automotive and non-automotive customers.

The use of CNC shop equipment is growing because it offers so many advantages:

• It reduces the need for skilled labor. An operator doesn’t have to stand in front of the machine all day manually controlling its motions and babysitting processes. The automatic controls run the equipment, freeing up the operator to work on something else. CNC machines also don’t punch a time clock, don’t call in sick, don’t take vacations and are not interrupted by phone calls, nature calls, coffee breaks, parts deliveries or shop chatter. Any of these things can interrupt the steady flow of work in a shop and create distractions that reduce productivity and sometimes lead to mistakes.

Shop owners we’ve interviewed tell us that CNC allows them to do more work with the same number of employees, or in some cases to trim staff. One shop owner said, “We used to have seven people working in our shop. Now we do the same amount of work with just two people. It’s a huge cost savings in labor for us. Once a job has been setup, the automatic controls take over and do all of the machine work. If it’s a long job, the machine doesn’t stop working at 5 o’clock and go home. We can let it run all night if necessary, and start the next job first thing in the morning.”

• CNC offers a high level of accuracy and repeatability. A highly skilled operator who pays close attention to details can do the same thing, but everybody has a bad day now and then and makes mistakes. Late model engines have much closer tolerances than engines from a few decades ago, so you have to be right on when you bore, hone and machine critical components. There’s less room for slop, so once you have a process in place that delivers the accuracy you want, you don’t have to worry about mistakes messing up a job.

Once you’ve setup the basic machining perimeters for a job, the programming can be stored and reused or easily modified the next time a similar job comes in. For example, say you want to blueprint a small block Chevy engine. Once you’ve established the basic dimensions for locating and centering the cylinder bores, lifter bores, crank and cam bores, deck surfaces, etc., you have a digital map that be used over and over again for every engine you do.

• CNC provides a higher level of quality control through automation. Assuming the job is set up correctly the first time, the CNC machine can do the same job over and over with the same degree of accuracy each time. This takes the human operator our of the equation and delivers consistent results no matter who pushes the buttons on the machine.

• If you are currently sending out parts for CNC machining, you can keep those jobs in-house by installing your own CNC machine. This can give you greater control over your work and reduces the time it takes to complete a job by eliminating shipping and delivery delays.

Can’t find a performance head for the engine you want to build? Having a custom-made CNC billet aluminum head is always an option.

• One of the most popular applications for CNC machining is for porting high-performance cylinder heads. This type of work usually requires a 5-axis machine that can reach all areas of the intake and exhaust ports for a seamless transition. But a CNC machining center can do more than heads. It can bore cylinders, line bore blocks and OHC heads, machine lifter bores, surface decks, lighten blocks and even fabricate custom billet parts from a solid chunk of metal.

• With a CNC machining center and some CAD/CAM design software, you can even make your own parts. A growing number of shops with 4-axis and 5-axis CNC machines are finding new markets where they can offer custom machining services. This includes copying parts, making custom automotive and motorcycle parts and even fabricating custom non-automotive components for a variety of industrial and agricultural customers.

A digital probe on a CNC machining center can be used to map parts, giving you a blueprint of all the key dimensions and surfaces on that part. If you then want to replicate a part out of solid billet aluminum (like a cylinder head, engine block, connecting rod, or crankshaft), you have the three-dimensional map for making it.

“If you can dream it, you can machine it,” said one CNC equipment supplier. With the proper software, you can digitally map and copy or modify parts, and you can design new parts from scratch. It opens up a whole new world of possibilities for expanding and growing your business.

CNC Fear Factor

In spite of all the advantages CNC offers, some shop owners are reluctant to embrace new technology — especially anything that involves computers. Old school machinists are used to pulling handles and turning knobs on their equipment, and watching the machine as it does its work. They enjoy the hands-on control over what’s happening and are reluctant to turn the controls over to a computer. What happens if the computer locks up or crashes? Can they still operate the machine manually or do they have to wait for a service technician to come fix it? These are legitimate concerns for anyone who is considering a major new equipment purchase.

“Those who don’t see a need for CNC equipment are living in the past,” said one shop owner. “As time goes on they’ll find their old school ways of doing things are no longer competitive with shops who have gone to CNC. It’s survival of the fittest.”

The resistance to computers is a generational thing, with younger shop owners and machinists being much more open and receptive to automation. Almost everybody has some type of smart phone these days, or own a tablet, laptop or desktop PC. Cars are packed with numerous control modules and even simple appliances now have computer chips inside them. So it’s not like its totally alien technology that’s being added onto shop equipment to make the equipment easier to operate, more productive and efficient.

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Looking for a Lost ’32 Ford Roadster

Nail12 copy 300x172 Looking for a Lost ’32 Ford Roadster by Authcom, Nova Scotia\s Internet and Computing Solutions Provider in Kentville, Annapolis Valley

Every antique racecar has a past history. Sometimes that history is well documented, and other times, it gets lost over the years through a succession of owners and events.

In the latter case, you have to judge the car for what it is…what you see in front of you.

Mike Nail’s ‘32 Ford Roadster is one of those latter cars. It looks like it just came from a dry lakes meet in 1932 or 1933.

The roadster still has the factory four-banger engine with the Miller overhead valve conversion and a rare Thomas intake with two 94 carbs perched on top.

The motor was also converted to a full-pressure oiling system and has Lincoln Zephyr gears in the transmission, a common swap from the era. The car still has the original mechanical brakes and was never converted to hydraulic, as was common in the 1940’s and 1950’s.

There is an old-style Moon tank hanging out front on the spreader bar, the old time racing goggles and leather helmet hanging on the steering column, and the brass fire extinguisher mounted to the passenger kick panel, all things that are correct for the era.

The body is obviously an early ‘32 from the narrow lip on the inside of the top of the doorsill. The body itself is about as stock as Henry Ford built it, with none of the usual modifications found on a purpose built hot rod from the era. The frame is likewise, no cutting, welding, or grinding has been done to the frame, very unusual for a car from this era thus preserving what is now a very sought after body and frame.

There are some period updates, the sealed beam conversion, the vintage under dash gauges, the JC Whitney style interior, 1950 Pontiac taillights, and the 18”/16” big and little wheel combination.

The inside of the tires are cut like the old dirt track racers used to do with a razor knife to get a square corner for better traction. The cut side of the tire should be on the outside for dirt track use, but could have been reversed for the street.

Mike has spent hours and hours tracking down previous owners to gather as much history about the car as he can find. Here is what he knows so far…

In June of 1972, the car was bought from a car collector in Wichita, KS, by a car collector in Topeka, KS. That person kept it till September of 1974, doing some much needed engine work and mechanical repairs.

He then sold it to a car collector in Hutchinson, KS, who kept it in his collection for the next 38 years until August of 2012.

During that 38-year span nobody knew what happed to the roadster, it just disappeared and never showed up at any car events. That’s when the rumors and speculations started.

No one seems to know much of the history prior to 1972, either. For example no one knows if it was ever a California car as evident by the 1963 tag on the front of the car.

No one knows if the car has a racing history, or who, or where it was raced. The collector who had it the longest put less than 50 miles on it in the 38 years that he owned it.

One more thing… to add a little mystery to the car.

One Sunday afternoon, Mike was driving home from a car show and it began to rain. Mike pulled over to check the trailer and the car to make sure everything was secure. When he got to the side of the car he couldn’t believe his eyes.

“Miller Engineering” was printed there on the side of the car — the letters spelled out just as plain as day.

Running around to the other side…the lettering was the same on that side too.

It had showed up when the car got wet, but couldn’t be seen when the car was dry. The now black lettering was clearly once a dark maroon color and looked to be professionally done, but had been painted over with a brush, allowing some of the maroon color to bleed through.

Who lettered the car and when, is yet another mystery surrounding this car.

Mike has been collecting cars for more than 40 years and he will tell you that once in your lifetime, you will get a chance to own a rare and unique car that is the car of your dreams.

He found his, as well as some new letters for the car — “NOT FOR SALE.”

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2014 Performance Engine Builder Contest Has New Sponsor, Same Expectations

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In the world of competitive eating, Joey Chestnut stands recognized as the champion hot dog consumer – last July, he set the world record by wolfing down 69 Nathan’s dogs in 10 minutes.

Eric “Mean” Melin is the reigning World Air Guitar champion as he out-pretended all other pretend guitarists last year in Oulu, Finland.

Competition drives some people to seek recognition in some very strange ways, doesn’t it?

At Engine Builder, we’re pleased to announce that the winner of the third annual Performance Engine Builder of the Year will be selected based on REAL skills and accomplishments – and this year, the award will be bigger and better than ever.

Before we get into award criteria and prizes, however, I’d like to welcome our new official sponsor, Speed-Pro POWERFORGED Pistons. The Speed-Pro brand, long recognized as one of the leading names in racing and performance, will power this year’s contest to new heights of recognition and excitement.

One thing that won’t change are the lofty expectations we put on potential winners. We will again be looking for the best example of creativity and innovation, training and education, merchandising and promotion, professional standards and conduct, appearance, solid business management, community involvement, business growth, achievement and victories.

As I said last year, that’s a long list, and it’s intended to weed out the weak: we’re looking for the best of the best of the best.

As you read recently in this magazine (Engine Builder’s March High Performance Buyers Guide, page 16), Kroyer Racing Engines from Las Vegas is the 2013 champion. Who will be announced as the winner at the Advanced Engine Technology Conference (AETC) this December?

The race is just getting started.

Applications for the award will start being accepted at 12:01 a.m. on May 1, 2014 and can be found at the official award website, topperformanceshop.com, along with complete rules and prize descriptions.

We’ll announce the winner at a special presentation during the 2014 AETC in Indianapolis, Dec. 8-10. The winner will receive a hefty cash prize, an Apple iPad, three nights’ lodging at the Indianapolis Hyatt during AETC, admission for two to AETC, the Performance Engine Builder of the Year Award Plaque, a feature article about the business in a 2015 issue of Engine Builder, as well as numerous other prizes from Engine Builder and Speed-Pro.

Applications will be accepted until September 31 when a group of semi-finalists will be selected and asked to provide additional information for judging. A panel of judges, including representatives from Speed-Pro and Engine Builder will select three finalists and, ultimately, the 2014 winner.

The fact that Joey Chestnut holds multiple world records for eating 121 Twinkies in 6 minutes and 141 hardboiled eggs in 8 minutes may be impressive in some circles, but if you want to be the Performance Engine Builder of the Year, you’d better bring your A-game. Good luck!

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Kroyer Racing Engines is 2013 Performance Engine Builder of the Year

DSC 0019 web 300x200 Kroyer Racing Engines is 2013 Performance Engine Builder of the Year by Authcom, Nova Scotia\s Internet and Computing Solutions Provider in Kentville, Annapolis Valley

The staff of Engine Builder and a panel of industry professionals, including presenting sponsor Driven Racing Oil have selected Kroyer Racing Engines of Las Vegas as their choice for the “Performance Engine Builder of the Year” award for 2013.

Kroyer Racing Engines’ partner, Kevin Kroyer has been involved in racing since he was a kid. He got his start building engines after he answered an ad in a local off-road trade magazine for Walker Evans Racing.

He became a Walker Evans mechanic in 1989 and spent 10 years at Walker building various forms of small block and big block Dodges, doing V10 development for Chrysler, building V6 engines for the Dodge-Chrysler brand for off-road and helped Walker bring back one of the first Dodges to the NASCAR Super Truck Series.

Walker Evans actively retired from racing in 1999 and at that point Kroyer had the opportunity to move to Las Vegas and form a business building race engines for Brendan Gaughan. Brendan’s dad, Michael Gaughan, owns the South Point Hotel and Casino and was moving his NASCAR operation out of Walker’s shop into a facility in Las Vegas to start Brendan’s NASCAR

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Haas Automation Produce’s 150,000th CNC Machine

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The 150,000th Haas CNC machine, a DS-30SSY, is handed over to its new owners, Claesson Engineering, at the Manufacturing & Automation Expo (MAX) in Stockholm, Sweden, March 19, 2014. Pictured from left to right: Henrik Olsson, Sales Director, Haas Factory Outlet, Edströms Maskin AB; Alain Reynvoet, Managing Director, Haas Automation Europe; Fredrik Claesson, Managing Director, Claesson Engineering AB; Kristin Alexandersson, Haas Factory Outlet, a Division of Edströms Maskin AB.

Haas Automation, Inc., has announce another major milestone in the company’s history as one of the world’s leading machine tool builders – the production and installation of the 150,000th Haas CNC machine.

It was a mere seven years ago that Haas Automation celebrated the installation of its 75,000th CNC machine – a VF-3SS purchased by a family-owned machining business in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. The 150,000th machine – a DS-30SSY dual-spindle turning center with Y axis – rolled off the Haas production line January 19, 2014, and was installed at Swedish company Claesson Engineering in March, following a special handing-over ceremony at the Manufacturing & Automation Expo (MAX) in Stockholm, Sweden.

“Installation of the 150,000th machine is a very special occasion for Haas Automation,” said Alain Reynvoet, Managing Director, Haas Automation Europe. “The fact that it has been bought by a European company – in the relatively high-cost region of Scandinavia – is further proof that the Haas combination of value, performance, reliability, and support is the right one for any market.”

The DS-30SSY combines dual-spindle turning with Y axis, C axis, and live tooling to create a powerful “done-in-one” machining solution. The opposed spindles support fully synchronized turning and allow on-the-fly part pass-off to reduce cycle times. The machine provides 4″ of Y-axis travel (

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Partnership Gives TWR Funny Car a Rottler Makeover

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Rottler Manufacturing, a leading maker of machinery used in all facets of the performance engine-building arena, has joined Team Wilkerson Racing as a technology partner for the 2014 season. In addition, Rottler will be the featured focus on a special-edition Shelby Mustang body during the 2014 O’Reilly Auto Parts Northwest Nationals, at Pacific Raceways. The special wrap will include images of three Rottler machines, the company’s corporate logo, the Levi, Ray & Shoup logo, as well as that of Summit Racing Equipment. The company is located in Seattle.

Tim Wilkerson, owner/tuner/driver of the Levi, Ray & Shoup Funny Car, added a Rottler SG9M, a seat and guide machine for cylinder heads, to the team’s machine shop in 2013, as well as a VR7 mobile valve refacer in the team’s transporter. This year Wilk and his team will add a Rottler F79A, a multipurpose machine used in performance engine building and servicing. Wilk’s favorable impression of Rottler’s products led to further discussions which eventually led to this marketing and technology partnership.

“They make fantastic machines that we need in-house if we’re going to remain contenders on the NHRA Mello Yello tour,” Wilk said. “Our machine shop is a busy place, and we’re able to do our own work instead of having to ship our parts off to be serviced or rebuilt. It’s a really important asset for us, but the thing that impressed me the most was getting to know the Rottler story, which dates all the way back to 1923 when Clarence Rottler founded the company to make portable boring bars. It has remained in the Rottler family since that day, and it’s the largest facility in the USA that’s dedicated to making machines for the automotive aftermarket.

“Our team stopped at the Rottler shop last year, before the Seattle race, and our fascination with the machines they make was kind of mirrored by their fascination with our LRS Funny Car, which led to talking about how we could help them build more business in the racing world. Their customers are engine builders and racers, and the NHRA tour is full of exactly that group of people. This really is one of those mutually beneficial relationships we always talk about, and our goal is to help them build their business in our sport.”

Anthony Usher, Rottler’s Vice President of Sales, was the driving force behind creating this marketing partnership, and he considers it exactly that.

“We’ve never done anything quite like this before, but we’re very excited moving forward with Tim Wilkerson and his Funny Car team, and we have a great vision for this to be a longterm relationship,” Usher said. “We have a number of parallel goals for this partnership. One is to create new business opportunities with NHRA racers and high performance engine builders. Another is to utilize Tim’s car on the NHRA Mello Yello tour as a very big stage for proving and promoting our products. And finally, we aim to be a real contributor to Team Wilkerson’s success. Nothing would make us prouder than to be a part of this team when Tim wins a Mello Yello championship.”

The Rottler logo will be prominently featured on the LRS Funny Car throughout the season, in addition to the one-race special body that will run in Seattle.

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