King Motorsports Unlimited, Inc. - Mugen Performance Products for Honda and Acura

Staff Interview: Mike Lindquist (Part 2)

 

(Continued from Part 1 of our Staff Interview with Mike Lindquist)

 

In Part 2 of our interview with King's Service Manager Mike Lindquist, we talk about customer collaboration, favorite projects, and tuning myths.

 

I’ve heard that you really take the time to listen and ask questions when customers come to you for a build. What is the initial contact like with your racing customers?


Mike L: Our customers from the Dominican Republic are a recent example. They knew King had been building race cars for years, and they always thought of us as the “go to guys” if they ever built a Honda.


Previously, they were running Mazdas that were ex-US World Challenge or Grand Am cars. The cars were from a company called Tri-Point Engineering, the team that really won with those cars. So once  Tri-Point went to the newer Mazda chassis, the older Mazdas got shipped down to the Dominican Republic where our customers raced them. Those Mazdas were kind of heavy, and they’re not as tuner-friendly as the Hondas. The rules are very lax down there.


They called and said, “Hey we know Hondas, we used to race them years ago. We want to go back to the EG hatchback, with a properly built engine. We knew that if we ever did a Honda that you guys would be the people to talk to. Here’s what we’re looking for... here’s what the displacement of the engine needs to be per the rules,” etc. Basically if they tell me the rules, I can come up with something that fits those rules. I send them pictures and dyno charts from previous customer’s builds so they know what we’re talking about throughout the conversation.


We usually go back and forth until we get a quote hammered out. It’s usually a good five or so phone calls (with race engines we’re talking about a project that’s the price of a new Civic, so it’s not something you get done in the first phone call). So the process starts with letting the customer know that we can definitely accomplish their goals. I’ll usually ask them specifics about those goals. Then we go from there: “I have this idea” or “I have that idea.” If they’re ok with my initial ideas, I check the dyno charts for a couple of engines that I’m thinking will fit what the customer’s looking for. They give me feedback like, “This looks good, but can we do this or that?” Then I’ll send them a chart for another variation, and we’ll work on it together and come up with a final build strategy. It’s definitely a team effort between the customer and King.



Usually the race guys pretty much know what they want, so it’s different than talking to a customer that’s less experienced and might be looking for our direction 100% of the way.


So there’s quite a bit of collaborative consulting with the race guys?


Mike L: Right, I won’t build anything or recommend anything that wouldn’t be right. So there have been times when someone has insisted on running a certain part and I’ve had to say, “I’m sorry but we can’t do that part because of reliability issues, and here’s why ....” and I send them pictures of how that part failed in previous builds. That pretty much makes the case. We’re talking from experience, not just personal opinion. Our recommendations are based on facts.


Understandably, customers are used to doing it their own way. Especially overseas, everyone does it differently. They may have theories: “Oh these guys are fast, and they’re doing this ....” They talk to us and we might flip their world upside-down sometimes. At the end of the day what matters is that the customer understands we’re here to help. 


So the race rules are a driving force for their goals?


Mike L: Right, that’s pretty much the first thing to consider. I usually start the conversation by asking what the race rules are. They’ll  tell me something like, “We’re racing in the Dominican Republic, we have this race that’s 2-liter class, the car has to weigh this much, the only real regulations are stock throttle body and stock intake manifolds. Compression is unlimited, cams are unlimited... what do you think you can do for me?” In any racing, the first question I ask is about the rules: What are your rules? What class are you racing? ...so I know what to start out with, and make sure we’re going the right direction to begin with.


So what about the non-racing customers? What are the common services requested?


Mike L: These customers require anything from full engine builds to simple things like “I have a ‘check engine’ light in a car that I bought modified by the previous owner.”


As far as the engine build customers that come off the street, they’ll say “I really want to make my car go faster, I don’t really care if it’s all motor or turbo.” But I prod them a little bit for what they’re really going to be doing with the car. How do they typically drive it? Do they pound the car from stoplight to stoplight? Do they like driving it in pretty much stock manner versus something they can take to the track on weekends? I try to get a better feel for what the customer does with the car.


Sometimes the customer doesn’t know how to describe what they’re looking for. Which is fine, that’s what I’m here for. I help them along by asking questions about how they’re going to use the car, then suggest a build accordingly. Now, if it’s someone that is really a hands-off car guy (and we’re going to be doing maintenance on the car), we’ll give them a more conservative build as far as reliability of parts... or try to work with the OEM build and see if they’re happy with making 200hp on all-OEM parts and internals. Or if it’s a guy who says he wants to go 12 flat in a street car -- then he’s asking for something that can’t be done with OEM stock parts. So I educate them along the way.


We take pictures of every part of the engine build, and the customer gets a whole file folder with all his pictures from the build. I can sit down with the customer for a visual explanation: “Here’s what we do with the sleeved block, here’s what we do with a non-sleeved block, or here’s what we do when we add valve cover vents to the valve cover, these are the kind of pistons we use .... see this mark here? This is what we machine versus the stock one.” We show it to them in pictures.


A customer can know nothing about parts, but the pictures and my explanation will teach them. That’s a big part of getting the people’s business. I kind of like teaching them, helping them along, you know? We get all kinds of customers. If the customer is willing to take the extra time, I can explain all the stuff to them so they can feel like they have and understand all the facts. I want to make sure they don’t feel like they’re getting “taken” or whatever.


A lot of customers bring us stuff built by other people where they don’t even know what’s inside these engines. They don’t even have an invoice that shows the individual part breakdown, so all they can say is, “I think it has CP pistons, maybe Eagle rods, but I don’t really know.”


So we take the extra steps. Our builds may be more expensive than other places, but a lot of that cost comes from my time spent with them making sure they’re comfortable and on board with everything, as well as our painstaking methods for assembly. The whole build is well-documented with pictures, dyno charts, and itemized invoicing. We make sure everything’s done right.

 

 

When we’re building an engine, we keep communication flowing with the customers. If they ever call with questions or they stop in, I walk them out to the shop and show them where Chad [King’s engine builder] is. He’s always willing to show people the work in progress. I walk people right in all the time in the middle of him working. I say “Here’s where you motor is, and here’s what we’re thinking about doing with this, and here’s why this is going to better...” I physically show them.


Are there any tuning myths that you have to dispel? Do any customers come in with unrealistic expectations?


Mike L: Well I think the Internet is the worst source when it comes to leading people to draw conclusions based on incomplete or faulty information. There are so many myths, I could talk about them for days. There isn’t a specific one that sticks out to me, since there are so many. But I’d say the concept of “You don’t need tuning,” or “I saw this guy do such and such on the Internet and he got away with using this part or that part,” or “I can run 400hp on stock internals,” or “this guy made 600hp on pump gas, why can’t I?” I have to explain to them, “well, he probably made three pulls before it broke,” or “he’s running a giant turbo and can make a lot of power with a little boost because it’s so huge.”


So they don’t have all the facts?

Mike L: Yeah, or they think they can buy a turbo kit off of eBay and turbo their car the same as someone who turbo’d their car for $8,000, versus a generic $2,000 turbo kit that doesn’t get the same results. They don’t understand why it takes two days to install something that’s “just bolt on.” Well, it’s not so much the bolting on the manifold and turbo that takes time, it’s trying to maintain quality for everything else that goes into the installation. We end up replacing most of the eBay kit parts, making custom parts anyway. Ultimately you’d be better off having us build the kit with the correct parts in the beginning, because we simply won’t put a turbo on with silicone hoses as the oil feed lines instead of a braided line. And we won’t use zip ties instead of proper hose clamps. These eBay kits get really generic. A customer may end up with a turbo that’s just awful and will probably smoke from day one and never stop smoking. So a major myth would be that you can buy an eBay turbo, have us tune it, and expect that everything is going to be just fine. It just doesn’t work that way.


So it sounds like you really have the customer’s best interest at heart...

Mike L: Yes. Sometimes they may not think so at first. But they come around once you go through the explanation and show them you’re not just trying to sell them a part. I explain the reasons in detail, which is something other shops can’t always do. A customer might ask, “Well why do I need a breather kit?” and another shop might dismissively say, “Well, it’s just better.”

But why is it better? If you can explain something technical in terms that customers can understand, it arms them with real knowledge. An informed customer is a happy customer. A customer should never feel like you’re telling them to buy a part they know absolutely nothing about, like they’re only doing it because I said so. Maybe not every shop feels that way but that’s what we try to do for our customers at King.


 

Do you have any favorite customer projects that come to mind?

Mike L: We have a turbo car that we’re working on. ...These are guys that I drag race against so I know them. Theirs is one of the fastest cars we’ve ever built as far as drag strips go. It hasn’t put down majorly impressive numbers yet but the car’s won events. I was driving the car for them as sort of a “hired driver” to shake out the bugs for them. Got the car to go 10.70 at 135mph. We tuned and did a lot of fabrication on their car; a lot of turbo set up, the fuel system and everything else. It’s a B16 making almost 590hp, and it’s a real small engine.

This winter, we’re taking that same car and building it out to make over 800hp, and they want the car to go mid to low 9’s. We’re stepping it up to a proper 2-liter build and going with a bigger turbo. We’re really turning the corner towards “serious” drag racing now.

That build is a respectable endeavor, financially speaking. Just the gears for the transmission alone are $8,000. So when you get to that level and you’re making that much power, you have to step up your game on all fronts. It’s a great challenge.

 

I’m an all-motor guy at heart, but the turbos are pretty cool. Getting them to run efficiently is what’s fun. But all-motors are still my first love since it takes so much careful tweaking and so many specific part changes to get to a power goal. I was running 11.1’s making 280hp while another car running 10.70’s is making 583hp or something. It shows that in a car that’s all-motor, you can still make the car fast without making the big power of a turbo car. So I guess I’ve always liked that. I like the responsiveness of an all-motor car.

When I sold the engine out of my old drag car, I used the money to purchase a white Integra Type-R. The Type-R was a theft recovery. The car only had 49k miles on it, and King had done all the work on it, Mugen parts, etc. So I rebuilt it to factory spec as far as the chassis goes, and built a bigger 2.2-liter B-series stroker for it, and that’s been my project that replaced the drag car.


Is that the white Integra Type-R that was parked in King’s showroom at King’s Dyno Day in 2010?

Mike L: No that’s Tim’s car. His has a stock motor and is very, very clean. Mine was parked out front for Dyno Day. Our cars are similar; same year, same white color. Tim’s is just a lot cleaner. He’s got black wheels on his. It’s just immaculate. Mine’s clean, but not that clean. Tim’s is so clean that he’s had it for 10 years and it’s only seen rain twice -- by accident. The engine bay is ridiculous too.


Were there any least favorite customer projects?

Mike L: What comes to mind again are the guys with the eBay turbo kits. The owners spend so much money to get the kit set up right, but the car itself may not be worth all the effort. We get the turbo to the point where it’s reliable, but it still doesn’t make any real power. So we put a lot of time and effort into something that’s mechanically sound, but it’s still not right because of the parts the customer brought to the build. We can’t change those parts if that’s what the customer wanted us to do.

Then there are cars that come in here that are plain scary. They are so dangerous that you’re afraid to drive them. Just tonight, we got a car that the customer shouldn’t even have driven on the road. I took it only ten, twenty feet in the driveway. I got out of it and said, “This is going on the lift, there’s obviously a major problem.” One axle nut was tightened so tight it broke off. If you grab the top and bottom of the wheel and you can wobble it an inch, inch and a half, that’s bad. The only thing that was holding the wheel on the car was the brake rotor and caliper.

The really scary part is that it was a tech at a Honda dealership who originally put the wheel bearings in the car. At a dealership! So that’s even scarier, that people like that work on cars and allow it to go out like that.  Basically the wheel was loose because the tech just kept tightening the axle nut until it broke off. So when I took off the wheel, the nut fell on the ground with part of the axle still in it. I took off the wheel and heard “clink!” I looked on the ground and saw that the axle had sheared off and is stuck in the spindle nut. That’s a big nut that requires a 32mm socket.

I can’t say that I have any specific cars that are least favorites. I’d just say that the least favorites are the ones that are just pieced together. I know that everyone can’t have something really cool. It’s respectable to have a car you thought through and did right. Don’t just buy someone else’s botched-together project. It’s a gamble that may not pay off. That’s what we’ve sometimes seen when people don’t have the money to build their own so they just trade cars on Craig’s List and end up getting a pile of junk.


Um, I have to admit I look at those Craig’s List cars too. I’m glad you tell it like it is.


Mike L: I want to make sure I can make every customer comfortable. Some of our customers might be more reserved in personality. They don’t want to feel like they’re getting that snobbish, over-priced tuner shop attitude.  We work hard to avoid that stereotype. Street-build customers generally need more explanation and help with developing their build. Also, their budget is tighter. With racing customers it’s a bit more cut and dried. They usually know their cars inside and out, and come to us for specific work. They’re well aware that power and speed cost money and they’re not shocked at the cost. In either case, I really enjoy finding out what their needs are and being able to help them out. We want to make our customers feel comfortable enough where they can speak their minds, and trust they are collaborating with us. I know we’re on the right track when we use plain English instead of stuffy professional-speak that doesn’t really mean anything. Professionalism is important of course, but you have to be able to relate to the customers too. I think that’s the difference between customers that walk in and then right out, versus those that stick around. Being easy to talk to can make the difference on whether someone comes back again.


I do my best to figure out where the customer is coming from. I’ll give customers a shop tour, show them around, and remind them that, “Hey, we’re here to help you. We’re a full-service facility. We aren’t those guys who want your money but don’t care about your car.” Some people focus on our prices, and once in a while we take some heat for it on the Internet. But we have way more customers posting that their money was well spent and they’re really happy with our work and our customer service.  The bottom line is that when people come in here, I want them to realize that we’re friendly people who genuinely know our craft and care about the customer’s real needs.

 

 

Staff Interview: Mike Lindquist (Part 1)


Atari. Nintendo. Sega. These are the platforms of retrogamers, the original video game worshipers that cut their teeth on classics, earning credibility through countless hours of dexterity, problem-solving, creativity and perseverance. These were the days before hard drives, WI-FI and wireless controllers. They were old school.


Mike Lindquist is an old-school Honda tuner. Like an old-school gamer, he cut his teeth on the classics. His platforms of choice? The EG, CRX and EK. He put in the hours: in the books, under the hood and on the road. And those hours paid off on the track.


You might have talked to Mike if you’ve ever called King Motorsports to schedule an oil change, order a part, or just get some advice for your build. Like all the staff at King Motorsports, Mike wears a lot of hats. He’s a scheduler, project manager, consultant, parts expert, account manager, and more. He puts his customers first, and won’t hesitate to steer them away from a part or service that isn’t in their best interest.


I caught up with Mike recently to talk about his old-school roots, his first cars, and more. What follows is Part 1 of his interview, with more to come soon.


What do you do at King Motorsports?


Mike L.: My job title is “Service Manager” and I also do retail sales and walk-in sales. I also help with any kind of engine build that someone may be inquiring about, or I make recommendations based on ideas a customer already has. Maybe I’ll give them some pointers or discuss parts that might help them. Or, someone might come in who has no idea what they want, and they have a goal – i.e., a power goal, time at a track, or “I want to spend this much money,” or “I want this much power for the money.” Those are all types of things I tackle on a daily basis as far as builds go.


I also handle the day-to-day service work that comes in. “My car’s got a clunk,” “My car’s got a 'check engine' light,” “I want my car tuned, it’s not running good,” any of those things I’ll schedule repairs and quote ahead of time.

How did you get involved with King?


Mike L.: Well I had been working with several different shops through the years around the area, and knew of some of the guys that worked here. Specifically Tim... we knew each other, we both grew up in the same city, went to high school together (he was a grade older than me). We didn’t really know each other so much at the time but we knew of each other as far as he would have customers, he was building motors for friends... and I had my brothers and other friends, so we sort of had a friendly competition just knowing that we both were doing something in the same city. So as I worked through these other shops, I kept in contact with him and then developed more of a friendship. Because of the friendship I was hanging out at King a little bit.


Then one day I was in the shop picking up parts for another shop I was working for and Scott was walking through the shop and kind of just giving Tim some crap because Tim wasn’t there yet. He said “Oh geez, you get here before my own employees.” And I said “Well, that could be changed,” were my exact words. Scott kind of laughed and walked away. Later he asked Tim or Chad if I was serious. I said, “Of course I’m serious when it comes to job openings.” At the time I was driving 62 miles one way to the place I was working at before, doing that for almost three years. So it was getting kind of tiring. So it literally happened that way. They were planning on a new building so I helped with the move over here, moving some of the machinery and stuff one weekend, then pretty much got a fresh start at our current location.


I’ve been with King for 3 years as of October 2010.


What got you started with Hondas? Was it something in particular?


Mike L.: Well it wasn’t so much *something*, as it was *someone*. When I was seventeen, I had a friend with a Civic who wanted to build it out. So I helped him, even though I was more into the domestic stuff at the time. I thought the potential of these motors was good. I was just learning, I was just seventeen. We learned it together. He had been rolling around Honda-Tech a couple years before me, and was into the scene a little more than me. There wasn’t much of a Honda scene at the time (about 1996), around here it wasn’t huge as far as I knew.


We just went from there. I started swapping Hondas before I even owned one. My first engine swap was a 1991 Civic hatchback (EG) for one of my good friends that I’ve known since grade school. We got rid of the DX dual-point engine and put an LS Integra B18A engine in there, and that was kind of a big deal at the time. Back then there weren’t many engine swap kits (just one or two companies making them) and nobody was making adapter harnesses or wiring schematics so you had to figure it out on your own by looking at the factory schematics for both cars and figuring it out. So we had a good time – I spent several nights on that. So for my first swap we put an Integra LS B18A into a 1991 Civic hatchback, which was a standard model so it had a 1.5 liter 4-speed. The car was gold, it was sweet. In fact to this day he still drives it. First engine swap I’ve ever done, and it’s never had a “check engine” light since day one or since. So that was the first thing that really got me into it.

What did you work on before Hondas?


Mike L.: I owned mostly domestic cars, and didn’t really tune them per se. I had a Beretta and a Saturn. The Saturn is probably the car that started me into the whole “tuner world.” It was a ’94, twin cam 1.9 liter. That car was fairly quick. I did a lot of street racing with that car, it had a pretty short geared tranny and those cars didn’t weigh much – you know, the body panels are plastic. The motor had a good amount of potential, and I rebuilt it. I put in an intake manifold and throttle body on it, did all the bolt-ons and put some upgrades from other year cars that had better parts. Got the car pretty quick for an all-motor Saturn. Did suspension and things like that. Then as I was building that car, I was swapping Hondas and realizing that I was just wasting my time with the Saturn, since Hondas just had so much more potential. I had probably swapped like twenty cars before I even thought about getting rid of my Saturn.


So how did you find the info you needed?


Mike L.: Well that was before there was a lot of info about swapping. The only thing I could really find on the Internet at the time were the ECU pin-outs that showed which pin did what. Together with the Haines manual’s wiring schematics (I didn’t have the money to buy factory manuals at the time), I just bought the manuals we could find at the local parts stores, where the wiring was in the back. I mean, most of it was right, but not all of it. You just took the Civic wiring diagram from the Haines manual and the Integra Haines manual with the pin-outs and I sat in a chair. Several nights I was working in my friend’s barn and we actually fell asleep. We were out there all night with the books in our laps, making this wiring octopus. We weren’t sure if it would work, so we put the engine in the car and literally just set it on some 2x12 boards across the radius arms. We lifted the motor and tranny with our hands and just set it in there. So it was literally just sitting on boards, just enough so that we could hook up the wiring and the fuel to it and see if the thing would start.


We ran the wires outside the car, through the window and just temporarily hooked them up to see if we were even on the right track. It fired up! I was actually holding the motor – it wasn’t hooked up to motor mounts or anything – because it was literally just sitting on a board. When we fired it up, it ran the first time, with no "check engine" light. We were like “Holy cow,” you know, all the time we spent was actually worth it, double checking everything. Then we took it back out and finalized the wiring, re-installed it, and he has literally had it in there ever since. It was probably 1999 when we did that swap, and we just kind of figured it out. After that I started working on other people’s cars that were the same vintage, and starting to get the hang of it. I was swapping a fair amount of cars on the side, for friends and making some side cash.


At the time I wasn’t working at any car-related places. I was working at a television repair place, doing a lot of home theater and satellite installations. I repaired a lot of TVs and things like that. Did a lot of soldering. After that I started doing more landscaping for my friend’s dad at a pretty decent landscaping business. So I cut grass and did maintenance on his stuff during the day, and then I would rent a bay out at the local salvage yard and work on the swaps at nighttime. The salvage yard would buy cars that had swaps in them; I would tell them which cars to buy since they didn’t know what a swap was – they would just sell the engine and tranny as separate pieces as replacements for local shops. I said “you should start leaving these together, we can stick them in these cars.” They said, “We’ll give you a cheap deal per swap – just pay like $50 for bay costs for selling our product.” So I was basically doing that.



So what was the first Honda that you bought?


Mike L.: My first Honda was a CRX HF. It was baby blue. I can’t say I remember where I bought it from, I don’t remember if I did a trade for that car, or what. It was a shell, without a motor in it. It was pretty rusty. I took that car, filled the quarter panels with expanding foam and painted over it so it didn’t look so bad. Welded a little cage in the car, a real simple one (it had square tubing actually), and then I put a single-cam VTEC into it from a ’94 Civic. Stock motor, with a bunch milled off the head. The car was super light – it weighed 1650 because it was so stripped out. It pretty much ran the bare essentials to drive on the road legally. I raced around with that car a little bit, it was pretty much my first one. I think I had that car at the same time as the Saturn, so that was my little project car I was kind of playing with, like a “beater” I guess.


Then I got rid of the Saturn. Actually the engine block cracked in the Saturn because I had a radiator hose blow (it was winter) and I quick-filled it with water to get back home. I forgot to plug in the block heater that night, and the water expanded and cracked the aluminum so that was pretty much junk.


Then I ran across a silver ’97 Civic EK hatchback at a local dealership. The same dealership that sold me the Saturn. It was a Chicago car, stock standard Civic with 120k miles on it. That was my first car where I really started putting swaps into it, you know, it was a B-series. I had that car from 125k miles on that chassis, and sold it with 294k miles on the chassis to a friend of mine. I had seven motors in it during that time. Just kept changing motors as I ran into different deals, every engine was just a little bigger than the last one. I sold that car to a friend of mine once I started working at King. So I had that car pretty much my whole “Honda career” up to then. When I sold it I still got $4k for the car and it was awful. But it was fast, so that’s what sold it. The car went 14 flat in the quarter so it wasn’t a slouch for a street car. It was nothing fancy but it was pretty good. He drove it for a year or so and then sold it to a friend. It’s been through five owners since him, and the car’s still on the road. One of the kids that owns it now knows me here, and called me and told me it was at the track running the same times as it did before, and the car’s got 330k miles on the chassis now. The motor’s still untouched. I built that motor with used parts, and I put 100k miles on those used parts … those bearings have got over 250k miles on them. It was an LS VTEC with used pistons from another customer’s build. Put new rings in it, just honed it, never bored it, ran standard sized pistons, threw some Type-R cams in it. Pretty much just left all the bearings. Didn’t even put a new oil pan gasket on it. I just ran it bare bones and I drove that car every single day for that 62 mile commute for three years, racking up the miles on it. It still got 32 miles to the gallon and was fast. So I pretty much just drove that car to the ground, and it’s still going. That’s probably the car I’ve had the longest.


I saw a video of you (on the King Motorsports YouTube channel) in an EG Civic drag car, what’s the story there?


Mike L.: At the time I had that EK Civic, I started building my drag car. While working at the salvage yard, I bought an EG Civic hatchback for like $500, it was automatic with a blown head gasket. I stripped the car out, then randomly acquired parts from cars we got in the auction, or I’d do jobs in exchange for payment in parts. The first time I got the car down the track, it was running low 13’s. Then I started working my way into the 12’s. I think the fastest I got that car to go with the 1.8 liter was 12.6, then with a 2.0 liter I got the time down to 11.78. I was running 11.80’s with 220 horsepower.


The show 'Name That Test and Tune' (before it was called 'Pass Times') was recording for their show pilot at our local drag strip. When I heard about it I decided to go check it out. We got a ton of people who came there to show off their cars and such. It turned out I was one of the faster imports there, so they picked me to represent the imports on the show. It was a fun time doing it - the video is up on YouTube. I wish the car hadn’t bogged as much as it did, but it was still a decent run at the time.



I got the car up to 282 HP to the wheels and the car did 11.1. And that was the fastest I got it. So the whole time I was driving my EK I was also working on my drag car, which I raced for six years. Went to a lot of import events with that car, traveled, raced it in Ohio, Norwalk, and ran a lot of the stuff around here. I retired the car when I started working at King. We started using it as a test chassis here at King. We put engines into the car, dyno them, break them in, etc.



We used that car as a test chassis for one of my customers is in Bahrain. They have road racing and an F1 race circuit in Bahrain. They race in import events there, and we’ve built a lot of motors for them. We needed a car to test the engines and break them in because we don’t have an engine dyno, so that’s how my drag car became our test chassis. It still sits here in the back with no motor in it, but I’m still planning on doing something with it at some point I think.


You have a customer in the Middle East?


Mike L.: Oh yeah, we have customers from all over the world. A lot of our customers aren’t in the States actually. They could go anywhere in the world (to have their engines built), but they say that the US builds the best engines as far as reliability and power. All the cars that are really fast in Dubai are getting built by people in the States. Bahrain is an island in Persian Gulf - the track that these customers use for their drag races is the F1 track. Pretty much nothing’s there except for an F1 track. When F1’s not there, they fill it with other events. They have a series they race in during the spring and fall, because it’s too hot in the summer. They said that people stop working at noon because it’s so hot. They said it gets 55 to 60 degrees Celsius there (about 131 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit). We developed a good relationship with them and offered the installation services (installing and breaking in their engines on a test car) because they wanted us to give them a tune for the engine. But we needed to do a little R&D because it was actually a restrictor motor class and we had never built a K Series with a restrictor on it. They were K series engines; one was running an EG and other was running a Del Sol. It was a 2-liter class, so we built K20’s. They had to run a 50mm restrictor on the intake pipe. So after some R&D we designed and built a custom header and engines and everything for them. We used my old drag car as a test chassis for the R&D (this allows the engines to be dropped in turn-key: completely broken-in engines with Hondatas and intakes, already tuned).


Where else around the world are your customers?


Mike L.: King’s owner, Scott, has customers from all over the place too. For me, I have engine build customers in the Caribbean, Turks and Caicos Islands, Santo Domingo Dominican Republic, Guyana, Puerto Rico, Grand Cayman, all over. The guys in Turks and Caicos are rally car guys. We’ve built a couple motors for them. One has a rally EG, the other is a rally EK, and they travel the cars around and rally them. They have classes for those cars -- half tarmac, half dirt, depending on where they’re at.  They’re not running against cars that are all-wheel drive. They ship those cars all around.



I have customers in Canada who do a lot of ice racing. One guy has a CRX that’s an ice race car, with spikes in the wheels and they do like an autocross on the ice. So we’ve done a lot of work with his car.



How do these international customers find King? Do they call you or just fly in and surprise you?


Mike L.: It always starts with a call, and they inquire about our engine build services. Maybe they heard by word of mouth, a lot call after seeing our website. I talk to them about what we can do based on what their race rules are. I send them some dyno charts – I know every chart from our dyno almost by heart. So when they mention what they want to do, I can pick out a dyno chart that would be similar to what they’re asking for, and send it over. We can show real results from something they’re asking for. That seems to sell a lot of the builds -- once they realize they’re talking to people that really understand what’s possible, I think that’s what sells it. So they’re willing to spend the money to ship the stuff around to make sure they get something good.


King’s reputation has always been good before my time here. But I’d like to think I’m adding an extra level on the technical engine side.

We have a freshly-baked B21 shipping out to the Great Northwest!

We have a freshly-baked B21 shipping out to the Great Northwest!


 

Specifications for this King-built engine:

2.1 Litre, Skunk2 Pro 2's; King Hand Ported Head; 12:1; King custom ported Edelbrock Intake - cut apart, ported and re-welded.


The engine is pictured here in our B-Series test vehicle for break-in and Hondata S300 tuning on our Dynojet Dyno. In final form this motor will be running a King custom header, and tuned to 91 octane, since the customer cannot get 93 octane in his area. The motor will then be crated and shipped to the customer... ready to drop-in and run!


Read more on King's dyno break-in services here:
http://www.kingmotorsports.com/c-176-dyno-services-rates.aspx


Read more on King's engine building services here:
http://www.kingmotorsports.com/c-318-king-motorsports-engine-build-prices-process.aspx

 

Schroedter Racing Wins Import Wars Championship with King-Tuned Turbo B16

(L-R: Mick, Bob Schroedter Jr., Mike Lindquist, Bob Schroedter Sr.)

It was an incredible finish to a trying season for the Schroedters, Bob and Bob Jr., as well as their driver, Mick. It was a year of shakedowns and testing, turbo upgrades and tuning.

The Schroedters had been running their turbo EK coupe for several years. They had been using the same engine - a modified turbo B16, still displacing 1.6 liters, but with substantial boost. The problem was, they knew the car had the potential for much faster times than they had been running, but they just couldn’t get there. After many frustrating trips down the strip, Bob Sr. knew some changes were in order, so he picked up a new turbo and some additional parts and gave our service manager Mike Lindquist a call.

Once Mike and Bob Sr. ironed out the details, the EK and its new parts were brought to King and handed over to our head fabricator and tuner, Tim. With input from Mike, Bob Sr. also decided to upgrade the axles to Driveshaft Shop 5.9’s as well as a Twin Disc Kit from Competition Clutch. Tim re-fabricated the entire turbo setup and installed a Borg-Warner 362. He also re-engineered the fuel system, including the installation of a fuel cell.

With the mechanicals ironed out, Tim strapped the car onto King's DynoJet and went to work on the electronics. Trying to squeeze major power out of a B16 running GSR cams was a bit of a challenge, but Tim was up to the task. By tuning the Hondata S300 to run the motor with 33 lbs. of boost, the upgrades were good for an impressive 581 WHP AND 358 ft. lbs. of torque.



With Mike's many years of success running an all-motor B-Series EG hatch, he had valuable knowledge and driving experience to offer, so for the post-upgrade shakedown runs, Bob Schroedter asked Mike if he would pilot the Coupe to see what it could do. Mike agreed of course, and having never driven the car before, ran a 10.786 @ 133.70 MPH - the first 10-second pass ever for the EK. 

With the final Import Wars only a few weeks away, the Schroedters and Mick took every opportunity to get familiar with their improved car -  and it paid off, big time. Running 10.8's @ 135 MPH, they won the Super Quick class at Great Lakes Dragaway’s final Import Wars as well as the Super Quick overall championship. An incredible ending to a tough year.

Bob Schroedter: "I can't thank King Motorsports,  Tim and Mike enough for all of their help. We knew the car had more potential, and Mike proved it with its first 10-second run." "In addition, our team appreciates King's involvement and we are really looking forward to working with King again next year." Said Mike, "That car is fast! - we're also looking forward to continuing King's involvement. We're currently working on plans for more upgrades over the winter that should allow the car to turn the corner and run in Pro FWD next season."

Editor's Note - This is a comment posted on King's Facebook page by Bob Sr.:


"There is a lot more to this story...First the 10.78 pass Mike drove was on pumped up slicks, not hitting target boost in second gear and Mike hitting second gear and the ass end breaking, but he stayed on it. There was and is more in the b16 in terms of et and mph but I made the decision to move on. We would like everyone to know that these guys are no BS: Mike, Tim and King. Stay tuned for the new build it should be a good RIDE!!!"



New Website

Hello all!


My name is Mike Lindquist and I am the service manager here at King. We have spent a good amount of time on the new website to make it easier to browse and purchase the products you are looking for. At the top of the home page is a service link. You can schedule service work right here either for a stock car or a performance car. When you schedule a service appointment an email will be sent to me and I will contact you ASAP to see if your requested date is open and to talk about any info about the service.


Please feel free to browse around and check out all of the new functions we have added or leave any feedback about bugs. I will also be updating this blog on current projects or things going on here at the shop from time to time.


Thanks,


Mike Lindquist 262-522-7558 x301