SPD 2018 Catalog

2018 Catalog

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There is, and always will be, a little bit of Jim in all we do. Founder Jim Hill 1936-2006 The roots of SPD go back to the late 50's and the booming Hot Rod industry in the Los Angeles area. Jim Hill was a schooled engineer studying Mechanical Engineering at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo. In 1959, after marrying his wife Peggy, and settling in Van Nuys, CA, Jim began work in the exhaust industry installing mufflers & exhaust systems for Sepulveda Muffler in the San Fernando Valley. In 1963, Jim opened Exhaust Engineering and began designing & building custom headers & exhaust systems for racers and enthusiasts in the area. The business was a success and helped him further his trade. From late 1966 thru much of 1968, Jim worked for Tom Patterson Enterprises (of Patterson Oil Tanks) and Nelson Tyler Enterprises. While working with Nelson Tyler, Jim was involved in the "Rocket Belt" project, as flown in the opening ceremony of the 1984 LA Olympics. He was also involved in the construction of the first passenger cradle on a Helium blimp & aerial camera mounts used on helicopters to film any event from the air. Jim was very proud of his involvement in helping pioneer these now commonplace tools of today's movie & sporting events. In late 1968, Jim was offered a job managing a new division of Cragar Industries called Saber Manufacturing. Saber Mfg. was the subsidiary that manufactured the old "Cragar Hotpipes". He successfully managed Saber and enjoyed the constant weekend trips to the races while working for Cragar and learning all he could about the exhaust industry. In 1973, after tiring of the commute from Van Nuys to Long Beach each day for nearly 5 years, Jim took a job in Northridge, CA with Torque Engineering. Torque was a motorcycle exhaust manufacturing company. Twenty minutes from home each way, Jim enjoyed his new job and would successfully manage the manufacturing side of Torque Engineering until his big move north. In 1976, Jim and his complete family moved to the Sacramento area. Although SPD had begun as a moonlight business in 1969, Jim decided to continue with the name Specialty Products Design and renewed his self employment journey again. The business would continue to grow thru his hard work and perseverance. Later came the addition of Jim's son Chris who would become a partner in the business. The two would establish a reputation in the area as the place to go if you wanted it done right. Over many years, SPD has designed and built components and complete exhaust systems for all forms of motorsports. (cars, boats, motorcycles, even airplanes). The family's continued involvement in racing has helped keep them up to speed with the rapidly evolving technology. In 1992, after considerable thought, SPD embarked on a manufacturing course. The investment in equipment, tooling and personnel were only the beginning of what is today's result; a successful small manufacturing company. The company has progressed from a regional, to national, and what is now an international supplier of specialty exhaust components. Through it all, the company has remained family owned and focused on the goal of providing quality products and services. SPD continues to grow, keeping a pace that will not jeopardize the standard of quality and service that our customers have become accustomed to. In 1999, SPD was incorporated and the leadership roll in the company passed to son Chris. Jim enjoyed all forms of motorsports but, it only took one trip in 1957 to fall in love with the Bonneville Salt Flats. In 1982, Jim & Chris began building Land Speed cars to compete at SCTA/BNI & USFRA events. The duo would go on to establish 4 world speed records in several classes and a land speed record of 307.797 mph in their V6 Buick powered Hill & Hill streamliner. They would eventually push the car to a one way top speed of 331 mph. Jim made his last trip to Bonneville in August of 2006. Unfortunately, it was after his death on June 28 th. But, he did get a ride at near 200 mph in the SPD 1929 4 wheel drive roadster he had originally designed & built. Jim had been battling complications of diabetes and heart disease for years but it wasn't enough to keep him away from doing what he loved. He worked till near closing that Tuesday before his passing and shocked us all when he didn't wake that next morning. He is and will always be sorely missed. He was my Father, my partner & my friend. Our Story

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