East Peoria shop built from hands-on experience and attention to detail

East Peoria, Ill.—Of the 60 or so collision repair shops in the Peoria area, Turk’s Collision Center is one of, if not the largest, collision repair center. At the helm of Turk’s is president and owner Gary Turk, 41. How he got to own one of the biggest collision repair centers — repairing and painting about 120 cars per month — in the area is no secret.

Tom Ham instructs EXCEL attendees on how to have fewer ‘fires’ to put out

St. Charles, Mo.—The NASCAR Sprint Cup car thunders into the pit, its crew springing into action and working in concert to change four tires and pour in as much as 17 gallons of fuel in just 12 seconds.

In the late 1970s, Tom Ham said a pit stop time of 30 seconds was considered remarkable, but times have since been slashed by having better-trained crew members using consistent procedures.

Boutique shop mixes old with new

Scharwz Limited targets full-service repair on high-end European models

St. Louis—A Rolls-Royce is not your typical car, nor is Schwarz Limited your typical service center. From vintage Jaguars to the iconic BMW Z8, the lobby of the St. Louis-based Schwarz Limited greets customers more like a museum. Only here the cars aren’t just for looks, they’re for sale, too. It’s what car dreams are made of, and no one knows that more than Eric and Fred Schwarz, sons of founder Erwin Schwarz.

Lund’s Engine & Machine tailors services to each customer’s needs

St. Charles, Mo.—Gene Lund, owner of Lund’s Engine & Machine, has been busy with just a couple of different engine models lately, including a number of 5.9 Cummins from a local fleet. Some needed a sleeve, some required new pistons. Others, with 200,000-plus miles on them, had damaged crankshafts but the cylinders were fine.  All were returned to factory specifications while saving his customers money, he said.

Because of the varying problems he encounters, Lund said he doesn’t apply a one-size-fits-all approach.

November 2014 - Midwest People & Places


Avenue Link announced its new automobile loan lead generation solution. Avenue Link is an online marketing company that specializes in the financial services and automotive industries. The company uses a multi-pronged approach of e-mail marketing, pay-per-click advertising and affiliate marketing to deliver high-quality leads to lenders and dealers serving the automotive industry. The Lenexa-based company was recently ranked No. 153 on the 2014 Inc. 500 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies.

Shop built on reputation offers dealership alternative

Raytown, Mo.—Rick Stangl built his business on reputation. Word-of-mouth traveled quickly around South Kansas City, so much so that Stangl turned his weekend wrenching into a full-time job in 1980, opening Rick’s Auto Clinic. He started by working on the cars of family and friends, and wound up building a loyal customer base that would follow him for decades. A makeshift shop underneath a carport is where Stangl’s oldest son, Shawn, started learning about the family business.

New manufacturing, limited cores lead to upgrades at Midwest

Nevada, Iowa.—Durability continues to improve on newer cars, resulting in a number of changes in the aftermarket service and repair world, particularly the machining industry, said Dean Salmons, manager of Midwest Cylinder Head & Machine. 

“We went from 100,000 miles when a car would need a rebuild, to 200,000 and now we see some engines going 300,000 on the gasoline side, so we don’t even see much of that business anymore,” Salmons said.

Chance finds its calling in trans mods

Wichita rebuilder and installer fine-tunes inventory as applications expand

Wichita, Kan.— As with many businesses, what you set out to do is not always where you end up. For Chance Transmissions, it was all race transmissions in the beginning, but co-owner Jeff Long said he rarely sees a race transmission in the shop these days.