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Tuning for a living?

njc204njc204 Posts: 1
edited May 2014 in Mazda
Ok, this is my first post and its kind of off the wall.

I am a junior mechanical engineering major and I'm currently doing an internship at Boeing which is great but I don't know if the corporate lifestyle is for me. So, since I love cars I have been contemplating starting my own business tuning cars sort of in the model of Saleen where I would actually sell my own models of manufacturers cars.

The dilemma I am having is deciding which car to choose. As far as American cars go there aren't many performance cars left besides Mustangs which are taken by Saleen, Corvettes, which are taken by Lingenfelter and Vipers taken by Venom. So I have been thinking possibly doing something with Mazda with the RX-8 as the cornerstone and also doing something with Miatas and 3's. Toyata would work well since they are almost an American car company now but they really don't have a sporty car in their lineup.

So, I come to you the perfomance car lovers in this forum for thoughts and advice. Anything you can give me would be helpful.


  • benztunerbenztuner Posts: 76
    Good luck, I understand what your passion and I think you've got great intentions but there are a couple big problems that I see. First you almost definitely would need manufacturer assistance in order to keep up with the competition. What I mean is larger tuning companies get new models before they are available to the public, that way when the car is released the tuners already have products available or at least in production. If you cannot get this cooperation from the manufacturer then you'll have to wait until the car is available to the public and buy one, then do loads of research to figure out what exactly you think the car needs.
    Second, you'll need access to extremely expensive machinery. You'll need to be able to have light weight material (aluminum, carbon fiber, etc.) on hand and have the machines to mill, cut and mold these products.
    Third, if you were able to get manufacturer assistance and you had all the necessary machines and material then you'd still need to be able to make quality products. Great tuners are able to make quality products that increase performance numbers and also last for extended periods of time. Depending on what kind of tuner you want to be, but in my opinion a great tuner is a company who makes performance tuning products that work for years with proper service; Id like to be able to drive my car everyday and then take the same car to the track on the weekend and have good lap times.
    And finally, I dont know you so I dont know how much knowledge you have but unless you're a engineering genius you'd need a lot of help. You'd need someone to be able to custom make ECU's/software programs for the car's computer. You'd need someone who could build an engine without any problems, that way they could help design the turbo/superchargers, intake manifolds, CAI's, exhaust, etc. If you could get all of that done then you'd need to be able to keep up with possible demand. If your products would take off, you'd need to be able to keep up with your customer demands.
    Im not saying that it isnt possible. You wouldnt be able to get a loan from the bank and then just be contending with the big boys, but if you really believe in yourself and your abilities then you can make it. You just have to start small, buy a car and just trick it out and do all of the work yourself, at least as much of the work as you can. Then take the car to local tuner shops and just try to get your name out there. Its a tough business to get into but truthfully a majority of tuner shops do bad work. Go to local car shows and take a good hard look at the craftsmanship put into the cars and then you'll get a good idea of the competition in your area.
    Another option for you is to start a tuner shop and get dealer licenses from larger tuners and begin using other tuners products and hopefully after a while you'll have enough cash to look into making your own products. So dont give up, if you really want it and you're willing to sacrifice the next couple years of your life and a lot of money then you might have what it takes to make it. Im sorry if this seems a little discouraging but I think you should know the truth about what you might be jumping into. But I will tell you when you take a customer's car and it is completely stock, then you put your style on the car and deliver it back to them....they look absolutely blown away and they are almost afraid to drive the car because they like it so much, that is a freaking awesome way to make a living man. Good luck again, Joshua.
  • teyfussteyfuss Posts: 1
    Hey Joshua!

    Ur reply was of great help... It seems u have lots of knowledge on how to go about starting up a tuning shop.
    I want to open a tuning garage in Beirut, Lebanon.
    It'll be the 1st of its kind and I'm quite optimistic about it. :-)
    I'm afraid I won't be able to find the required qualified team.
    Are there any other issues I should look into?

    Thank you for your time.
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