High performance components for automobiles have been on the market for over 100 years, appearing not long after the first cars entered service, and continues to this day. The business flourished in the fifties and sixties and had it fortunes sink as gas prices rose in the seventies; like the rest of us, the automotive performance industry tolerated the benign offerings of the eighties. The situation improved as the nineties came to a close and manufacturers offered better products that one would want to enhance with performance components.
Speed Shops opened around the country supplying enthusiasts with products to enhance the performance of their cars, many of these products were developed by those selling the parts. The manufacturers produced cars with high performance option packages that resulted in some very impressive machinery, however once the car left the dealership the Ho-Po modifications were up to the car owner. Manufacturers have now embraced the high performance oriented customer and now offer a wider range of original equipment options and a growing selection of aftermarket enhancements.
Auto manufacturers see the value of producing Hi-Po equipment to the original equipment standards to ease the process of modifying the car to fit the customer's needs and desires. Ford has developed a network of Authorized Ford Racing Performance Parts Dealers and Installation Centers; these facilities can not only sell you the parts to hot rod your Ford product, but install them too. The car is more likely to perform properly after having the correct components installed by trained technicians that have an understanding of how the various components of the vehicle best work together.
Recently I spent some time at Paul's Automotive Engineering in Blue Ash looking at a selection of fast and fabulous Fords. The Mustangs that Paul Faessler and his son Brian road race are fascinating bits of engineering with many performance modifications that are only applicable on the racetrack. Several vintage Mustangs were present including one of the hottest cars to come out of Detroit, a Grabber Blue Boss 429 Mustang. The most prevalent cars were late model Mustangs being upgraded for street use, Paul's installs suspension and handling kits, and engine/drivetrain enhancements that are authorized Ford Racing parts, designed and built specifically for the Mustang by Ford.
These kits and enhancement packages come from directly Ford, engineered to provide the highest possible performance and service life and work well with the other systems that make up the automobile. Paul commented that the three most popular component upgrades include the Mustang Handling Pack, a Mustang Supercharger Kit, and the Mustang Power Upgrade Package, all designed for the latest models, including 2012, of Mustang.
Paul's Automotive Engineering can complete the installation of the components with custom tuning for maximum performance: utilizing an in-house chassis dyno as a tuning tool for the power kits and supercharger applications is part of the total treatment of upgrade projects at PAE. The suspension and handling kit will add the car control upgrades needed to harness the additional power and usher it in the intended direction.
Options like the Ford Racing Parts offer are changing the face of performance aspect of the auto business by making the purchase and maintenance of the products more achievable for the consumer. No longer is it necessary to spend countless hours determining which components will best fit your needs and wants and trying to piece them together, the manufacturers are sharing their resources with performance enthusiasts to create even more interesting machines. Hot rodding is now a much more viable hobby than even a decade ago, with the advent of "Authorized" Speed Shops we can all add some pep to our step and feed our inner "Walter Mitty" more easily.