Every good success story, be it personal or business, has a hint of a humble beginning. Long hours, sleepless nights, and untold risks – often mixed with a little comedy of how easy things once were. Like countless other speed shops around the country, Brenspeed has a unique story of challenges and humility.
Owned and operated by dyed-in-the-wool Ford Mustang guy Brent White, Brenspeed was founded ten years ago with the utmost of humble beginnings. White, a native of the Northern Indiana fishing town of North Webster, with a population of 695 – give or take a few depending on how well the fish are biting – began performing mechanical work for his friends and local car enthusiasts, part-time out of his home.
Starting Off in a Barn
In those early years, White operated the business from a small barn located at the rural farm house that he grew up in. This space allowed for more or less one vehicle, had a small office area, and an adjoining garage to set up shelves to stock mail-order parts. Although the brand flourished, White admits the location was less than suitable, “It was interesting. I’d have 18-wheelers driving up this little driveway in the winter to deliver parts and they’d get stuck in the snow.”
“I had a really nice website designed and everything we did was professional, but most people had no idea that we operated the business out of a farm house. I had the address published on the website, so I didn’t hide where it was located, I just didn’t promote it.” During this time, White would travel 45 minutes each way to use a dyno for development work, unload and load delivery trucks, field orders and phone calls, and perform all of the installations; all this with so many hours in a day.
In 2004, with business booming, White left what he called a “great job” in the engineering field to take on high performance Mustangs full-time. Knowing he needed a more adequate building and equipment to accommodate the amount of work that was flowing in, he temporarily leased a building with more space near his farm house and installed a lift, a dyno, and other essential tools.
The goal for any business however is growth, and soon, Brenspeed had simply outgrown even these latest confines. With customers lining up for installs and the mail order side of things thriving, White not only needed more space, but he needed to hire personnel.
Designing the Ultimate Speed Shop
Years prior to actually breaking ground on the new Brenspeed facility, White had envisioned one day constructing a building designed for high performance installation and mail-order operations, with modern equipment and with ample space. The challenge, however, was finding a proper building to move to, or land to build on.
That answer was found less than a mile away, on a plot of farmland that’s now home to a state-of-the-art structure that’s almost out of place amongst the backdrop of corn and bean fields, tractors, and classic-styled farm houses. The groundbreaking of the new facility began in the fall of 2008, and the following October, the new home of Brenspeed was officially open for businesses.
Brenspeed’s new facility is what every small-time speed shop owner working on cars out of their garage dreams of. Totaling more 20,000 square feet, Brenspeed was designed specifically for the purpose of working on some of the baddest Ford Mustangs in the country.
Touring Brenspeed’s Facility
When first entering the Brenspeed showroom, you’ll find one of the in-house Roush RS3 Mustangs on display, along with a small selection of components, including headers, superchargers, and the like. The showroom area also features a parts counter and a customer lounge for those waiting for work to be completed, complete with leather couches, a television, kitchen, and a full slate of Mustang “rags” to keep occupied.
“For the most part, the customers who visit aren’t here to browse and buy parts. They’ve scheduled an install or they’re here to pick up parts they’ve already selected. So we didn’t want the showroom to be a display of parts like an AutoZone store, but a clean and simple representation of what we do.”
The remainder of the office area of Brenspeed includes the sales department, where online and photo orders are handled and the tech support and customer service assist customers. White has also set aside second floor office and storage space for future expansion.
Shipping and Receiving
Moving to the shop, the area is split up into three distinct areas. The first of these is the warehouse and shipping and receiving area. Like many other manufacturers these days, Brenspeed maintains a healthy inventory of products to fulfill product orders and demand. From complete crate motors to Roush and Saleen components, Brenspeed pretty well stocks it all and gets it out the door fast.
Main Shop Area
Moving next door, we come to the largest part of the Brenspeed facility, where all of the grunt work is done. From supercharger installations, to intakes, cams, headers, exhaust, and more, it’s all done right here in this 7,000 square foot install area. The quality of work done by the technicians here is in such demand that customers have traveled from every corner of the country with their Mustangs to have work performed. And unlike your local auto shop that hustles a job out the door to earn a quick buck, a limited quota of cars are set per week (on average around seven a week), scheduled appropriately, and given the time and attention to ensure your money is well spent. There are two lifts in the install facility, along with all of the tools and equipment one would ever need for this line of work.
The large shop area allows Brenspeed to store all of its in-house and customer vehicles indoors and out of the weather overnight and during the winter months.
Dyno Testing and Engine Building
At our next stop, we come to the area where all the magic (and the noise) happens: the dyno room. Brenspeed houses an in-ground Dynojet 224X dyno here, which is utilized for all of Brenspeed’s industry-renowned tuning. Each year, the company hosts an open house for friends, family, and customers, and over the course of the day, will fire through a car every six minutes vehicles in rapid succession on the dyno.
Situated in a small room just behind the installation facility is Brenspeed’s in-house engine building station. Unlike an all-encompassing engine shop that builds anything and everything, Brenspeed maintains an efficient engine building operation, offering their Brenspeed Stage 1 and 2 B302 rotating assembly packages and the B326 3V Mustang Stroker short block that White and company designed as the perfect “off-the-shelf” engine for the type of upgrades and horsepower figures that the majority of their customers are after. On a verge, around fourty of these mail order engines are produced and sold each year. For those interested in a 5.0L coyote engine package, have no fear, as a Brenspeed short block is on the drawing board for sometime in the next year.
The last stop on our tour takes us nearly right back where we started, to one of the must unique parts of the Brenspeed story.
Brenspeed’s Guest House
Directly across the street from the farm house and the garage that started it all, Brenspeed maintains a guest home that’s offered to customers free of charge that need a place to stay while in the area having work done on their cars. Because many of the customers that Brenspeed services come from out-of-state, and taking into account the rural area that the facility is located in, White believed this was the perfect way to take the level of customer service over the top. the guest home allows customers to remain nearby, where they can easily drive down the street to check out their cars, or, as many do, take a day while the car is in the shop to check out Chicago, Fort Wayne, or other sights in the region. This three bedroom home is fully furnished, and if you’re lucky, might even have a few cold ones in the refrigerator when you arrive.
Brenspeed truly is the whole package — from the ultra-clean, modern storefront right down to the “dirty-work” areas that you could eat a meal off of the floor in. But the Brenspeed experience goes well beyond simply the building it’s housed in, with exceptional service, knowledgeable enthusiasts answering your calls and working on your car, and the the most welcoming atmosphere and accommodations a customers could ask for.