Performance Profiting - Transmission Digest

Performance Profiting

Going way back in history, it’s evident that when there are more than one or two of any transportation mode, the owners need to find out which is fastest. This has never more true than today when there are attractive profits to be made from serving a new generation of racers willing to pay to make their everyday ride track-worthy. These run the gamut from Mustangs, Corvettes, and Camaros to the popular pickup truck genre. There’s business to be had from those who are willing to invest in some additional knowledge that is unique to the performance/racing segment.

The traditional drag racers have used units like the Powerglide and THM 400 turbo for decades, and these continue to be a substantial part of the market. But, as SunCoast Performance’s President of Sales and Marketing, Blake Carter, points out, there’s a new generation of young racers that differs from that mold. “A lot of our customers are younger and passionate about their vehicle. Look at every enlisted kid who just got out of basic—they go and buy a new Camaro, Mustang, Challenger, or Corvette. As men, it seems unnatural to just drive it, so we desire a little bit more, and you know, that can be a slippery slope to travel down!” Carter said.

A built for performance 68RFE transmission.

“What we are seeing is that it has become a generational thing. We host an annual research lab here twice a year. Dealers have the opportunity to attend these research labs and learn what it takes to successfully build a unit to withstand the demands of today’s aftermarket performance customer. We know the older generation has been building 400’s for 30 years and seems somewhat comfortable. These same builders have been slightly apprehensive of building a late-model transmission and standing behind the ludicrous power levels we see in late-model performance. When I speak of late-model, I mean the six-speed, eight-speed, or 10-speed in both gas and diesel product lines. Due to that apprehension of building, or because of past failure from lack of understanding software calibrations on these units, conventional transmission shops aren’t taking on the work.

“There’s a new generation of young kids who open performance shops. One important lesson they’re learning with the new computers and electronics is the guy who’s building the unit better be talking to the guy who’s programming the transmission.”

 They will need to collaborate on the job to be successful, Carter told us, and he continued by pointing out that there is no lack of work. “These builders are getting $10,000 and $12,000 for a build, and it’s coming back-to-back-to-back!”

Enhanced torque-holding 10-speed converter.

“Today, it is incredibly easy to have 700, 800 horsepower and still get 20+ miles to the gallon cruising down the highway. That’s what people are doing with the new stuff. You take that new Ford Explorer. It has a three-liter turbo with the new 10R60, and they’re making 500 horsepower with a simple software calibration change.

“You take a 10-speed with that close ratio—a 4.71 first gear, but in a heavy SUV—and make 500 horsepower with twin-turbo V6, well, it feels—and it is—pretty fast. They’re running 11-second quarter miles, and that’s in a vehicle that they’re buying for their wife. And they’ll say, ‘Hey, yeah, I bought this for you, babe, to drive back and forth to work every day. Aren’t you happy?’ And then she drives it, but on the weekends, dad gets to take it to the track.”

In the end, there is virtually nowhere in North America where there aren’t performance jobs to be had on a weekly basis. A transmission shop technician has a head start on the knowledge base that translates into profitability from those jobs. As stock transmissions last longer, there’s an opportunity to maintain the profitability of the shop bays. From a business standpoint, it’s nothing new. Since electronics began taking control of step transmissions, our industry has been one of continual learning to keep up with the jobs that will make us successful.

You May Also Like

Shop organization: Tools in a tube

Every shop has a special location. Sometimes it’s a shelf, sometimes it’s a drawer. It’s where we keep all the “tools” that come in a tube. They’re usually community property, except for the occasional extra expensive items that reside in a manager’s office. Of course, I’m talking about sealants, anti-seize and thread lockers, the chemical


Every shop has a special location. Sometimes it’s a shelf, sometimes it’s a drawer. It’s where we keep all the “tools” that come in a tube. They’re usually community property, except for the occasional extra expensive items that reside in a manager’s office.

Shop profile: DL Transmissions has leveraged a new location into significant success

Location, location, location. It’s commonly cited as a real estate motto, but really, it’s essential for any type of business. Whether it means being in close proximity to as many customers as possible or simply being in a visible or noticeable location, it can be a key to success for a transmission repair shop. After

Shop profile: Colorado Engine has built a name for itself focusing on the whole powertrain

Colorado Engine may have “engine” in the name, but transmissions are also a key component of the business for a shop that deals with the entire powertrain. Started in 1983 as a wholesale warehouse distributor for factory remanufactured engines and transmissions, in 2000 they opened an install center, according to owner George Anderson. Related Articles

A long journey to success at New Jersey’s Wholesale Transmissions

“We’ve been family-owned since 1985,” Mike Nader says of his shop, New Jersey’s Wholesale Transmissions. Related Articles – Outgrowing the walls: The story of EVT Transmission Parts – Spotting different 68RFE designs through the years to avoid issues – Valve body and component suppliers: A comprehensive list Mike’s father started off as a multi-shop Cottman

Kitting keeps us profitable: Aftermarket kit suppliers listing 2023

The kitting of transmission parts has made profitable shop operation possible. When a kit with 100 parts is necessary, a distributor has already assembled all the important components into the kit and it is typically sitting on the shelf ready to be delivered. Kitting saves time and effort for both the shop and the supplying

Other Posts

American Powertrain offers Camaro Tremec GM Magnum XL six-speed transmission conversion kit

American Powertrain now offers a Tremec GM Magnum XL six-speed transmission conversion kit for any 2010-2015 fifth-generation Camaro (SS) equipped with a V8 engine. This kit can be purchased with a choice of two gear sets as a replacement for the TR-6060, and is rated at over 700 lb./ft. torque with close to 8,000 RPM shift

Circle D Specialties acquires Reid Racing

Circle D Specialties, a manufacturer of torque converters and driveline components for the automotive aftermarket, has announced the acquisition of Reid Racing, a maker of performance transmission cases and specialty heavy-duty axle components for off-road vehicles. Related Articles – NexaMotion Group announces expansions for Transtar products, C&M Auto Parts locations  – Deloitte study: Momentum is

ATI introduces pressure regulator valve, boost valve kit for T400

ATI Performance Products has introduced a new solid pressure regulator valve for GM T400 pumps (part no. 4050120) and a boost valve kit for the T400 (part no. 405136). Both parts are new OEM style replacements and will work with OEM and aftermarket mating parts with no modifications, the company says. Related Articles – Sonnax

ATI introduces flexplate and bell kit for Ford 7.3L Godzilla engines with GM transmission

ATI recently introduced a new SFI Flexplate and SuperCase Bellhousing kit for the Ford 7.3L “Godzilla” engine. Part no. 202816 includes an SFI SuperCase Bellhousing that fits all of the ATI SuperCase transmissions. It also includes part no. 915740, the SFI 29.1 flexplate, billet steel crank adapter and a bolt kit, which the company says