October '17

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OCTOBER 2017 THE SHOP 19 PERFORMANCE W hen is the stuff you can't see important? In the case of perfor- mance vehicles, always! Chassis and steering are things you can't always see, but to a devout enthusiast who turns the steering wheel, they are very significant. Smart shops serving this market know bringing these products into the light is a sure way to sales. After all, has any customer ever answered the question, "Do you want your car to drive and handle better?" with a negative response? This month, we look at the chassis and steering market to learn more about market misinformation, new technology and ways to bump up business. WHAT'S THE STORY? The problem with products not seen as easily is they are prone to bad information. So, our first question is about the biggest misconceptions surrounding the chassis and steering market. "Associating installation difficulty with cost is a big one that we notice," says Brian Shephard, marketing director for Currie Enterprises. "We have a lot of big-ticket units. But, what you're paying for is that we have figured everything out for you so that it is extremely easy to install. If it needs a part, we supply it. If geometry needs to be changed for your application, we have engineered that into the unit." Curt Perry, sales manager for Chassis Engineering, sees more of what may be termed mis-applications rather than misconceptions. "We find, on a regular basis, that racks are installed incorrectly," he says. "This could be anything from not centered correctly in the frame rails to incorrect width that causes bump steer issues. In the effort to reduce weight on the front end, the installer doesn't understand all of the geometry that goes into designing the front end of a street car or drag car." The importance of quality components is reinforced by Marty Waterstraut, national sales manager at ididit. "Unfortunately, a lot of our customers come to us after buying cheaply made and less expensive aftermarket columns. When they fail, or don't install correctly, they come to us for a solu- tion," he notes. "We are always more than happy to help, but want to remind customers and builders that quality is key when it comes to steering columns." That thought is echoed by Mike Ruth, chief application engineer at Heidts Automotive Group, who answers the question about misconceptions by noting, "That all aftermarket suspensions are made in the USA." HANDS-ON APPROACH Changing gears, or in this case, turning a corner, the subject of increasing CHASSIS STEERING A stable platform for profits. By John Carollo The Market & OCTOBER 2017 THE SHOP 19 Steering and chassis components help customers get the most out of their dream rides. (Photo courtesy Currie Enterprises)

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