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The automotive technology department is a fine place to learn new skills. Either in daytime programs or night classes the instruction is very appropriate. I graduated from a two year automotive program in 1973 and have taken many evening classes since. In 1976 I went back and finished my associate degree in business administration at Foothill College, a sister facility to De Anza, with an overall GPA of 3.85.

Rapidline Performance Calculator is a software application that allows data to be stored in vehicle files. Different aspects of chassis, engine and operation can be manipulated to both create actual records and simulations. Fowler Automotive helped beta test early versions and has a continuing interest and use for this product. It's a good application.

SuperFlow Corp. builds a very good airflow test bench. I bought mine in late 1996 and it opened huge areas of both learning and diagnostic effort. I use my bench to match heads and camshafts for greater performance. Also as a research tool to see what combinations of ports, valves, and manifolds flow well. I then use actual flow data in various computer simulation programs to predict power, detonation risk, and calculate advance curves,

Sunnen is an "old line" company with a long automotive history. They manufacture engine rebuilding equipment which is regarded by many as the finest to be had. I use their hones for cylinder bores, connecting rods, and valve guides. They also manufacture measuring equipment appropriate to the honing processes which gives me very accurate quality control. My Sunnen equipment, while old, is rock solid and very trouble free.

IATN is an organization of professional automotive technicians who exchange tips and insights in various worldwide forums over the inner net. Some automotive businesses sponsor the organization which is remarkably free of conflicts of interest or spam. I joined in 1998 and watch several vehicle forums on a nearly daily basis.

AERA is also a professional association dedicated to engine rebuilding. They publish service data and specifications in written and electronic formats. They have a newsletter and offer various group discounts to insurance and finance providers. They promulgate industry job performance standards and ethics. I joined in 1998 to access their technical data base which has been invaluable when older or odd engines come into the shop. They are heavily into industrial engines as well; of which I do a few each year.

Bradley Nameplate is a sponsor of the race car team. They produce state of the art labels and graphics for application on virtually any surface. They produce original art or manipulate existing images to suit the needs of their customer base. They are vendors to several hundred firms known for quality products such as Hewlett Packard and Sun Microsystems, or smaller firms like Fowler Automotive. They use environmentally friendly processes as well as traditional printing methods and materials.

Serdi is an international firm located in France who builds the best valve seat and guide machine for servicing cylinder heads ever made. It is extremely accurate. Easy to set up, it has production features not found in other competitive offerings. I bought my Millenium 3.1 with great apprehension (it was expensive as hell) but have not been disappointed in any regard. It is so versatile I have been able to do unusual jobs, like counter bore new core plug holes in an old Studebaker block, or cut partial valve seats in head sections where the section was cut through the valve guide entirely removing the guide and half of the seat. I retired my Sioux seat grinder with sadness and have never looked back. The art of high performance modification has become very straight forward machining.

Competition Cams is a vendor of virtually any type of modern camshaft one could ask for. They manufacture high performance valve train parts and some engine service tools as well. Competition cams parts availability often times helps complete the engine building cycle in my shop. The best design and computer simulation are of limited value without a flow bench and the Serdi machine for testing and execution. However; until you have an accurate, state of the art cam, your engine will never run. Comp. cams has done pioneering work in high speed valve design and has an in house engineering staff.


Lock-n-Stitch is the brain child of Gary Reed and his wife. After more than a few years in the industry, Gary took a long hard look at existing crack repair methods for cast material and came up with fundamental improvements. He labored to refine and produce his products and is now marketing very complete systems to save broken castings. I went to his school in 1997 and have used his processes almost exclusively since. If there is no option except to fix a crack; then this is the way to go.


Dakota Instruments is a relatively new firm in the automotive field. They are transferring sonic testing technology from petrochemical applications to high performance automotive ones. I bought one of their first sonic testers. We've adjusted it a few times and have gone through a learning curve to get some useable results. We designed a custom probe for cylinder heads together. I think they have shown a real commitment to post sale service and an interest in becoming the best source for automotive ultrasonic instruments.

General Motors is the largest player in the automotive performance field. In the early 1980's I attended every factory training segment a non-GM employee could and learned a lot. I serviced many of their products in the Chevrolet, Olds and Cadillac lines for many years. I did quite a bit of mechanical service on Corvettes during most the 80's also. I have a fondness for GM. I raced a 1965 Pontiac GTO in H-production modified in the late 60's and ran a mid 70's Chevelle stock car later on; both with good success and fun.

Ford. Solid as a rock. Growing up in a GM context I never understood Fords until recently. I've done fleet service for a couple of commercial accounts through the years and the Fords always have a better dollar per mile average. It takes a few decades to really let the value of that sink in I guess. Eventually I went to Ford school on their light industrial engines and have done quite a bit of light truck repair. In the last few years I've built several 351W racing engines for the modifieds. They are as potent as any small block Chevrolet out there, just different in many subtle, thoughtful, basic ways.

ASE Certified. Yes I am. Certification is the way the industry is going and while many of my peers would rather retire than submit to testing I like a good test. I have held "Master" ratings as an automotive technician and machinist for many years. For awhile there were only a few hundred double masters in the country. Now there are a few more as acceptance of a testing standard becomes an employment requirement. Does it mean that we do "perfect" work? No. I think we overlook things or get out on a limb at times. I like to think being a master means when that happens, we know a solution and can regain mastery of a job so the customer still receives value for their repair dollar.

Mondelo Technical School

This is a wonderful school. I spent three weeks with Joe learning advanced porting skills and engine building techniques. Joe also sells my manifold resurfacing fixture to the east coast shops and builders in his area. 

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