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ididit teams with Colorado builder on a Tri-Five for the ages.

TECUMSEH, MICHIGAN: When an extraordinary build comes along, it’s celebrated for being greater than the sum of its parts. And when those parts start as quality components such as a steering column from ididit, the end result is destined to be remembered.

Such is the case for the 1955 Chevy Sedan built by Matt Martinez in his three-bay garage in Thornton, Colorado. Inspired both by a 1956 Nomad featured in the Overhaulin’ booth at the 2007 SEMA Show and Martinez’ status as a family man, it was named Tri-Five of the Year at the 2017 Tri-Five Nationals in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Like most great projects, Martinez’ black beauty benefitted from a combination of fortuitous timing, assistance from friends and family, top-quality products, and lots of skill, inspiration and hard work behind the scenes.

From discovering the body locally, to landing a smokin’ deal on an LS3 and 6-speed combo that only had 300 miles on it, to knowing just who to call for specialty work, Martinez’ Tri-Five project always seemed like it was just meant to be. Anyone who’s seen it in person will be quick to agree.

ididit is proud that Martinez chose the company’s 1955-56 Chevy Paintable Tilt Floor shift column to pilot this award winner. The company has been making the finest steering columns and related accessories for hot rod and muscle car enthusiasts for the past 30 years, working side-by-side with the local, grassroots builders who power this amazing industry.

“We were really impressed by Matt’s dedication to this build, and his hard work is obvious when you see how beautiful this Chevy turned out,” Marty Waterstraut of ididit said. “A big part of ididit’s success has always been supporting grassroots builders who use and test our products on the projects they are passionate about, and Matt’s Chevy is the perfect example of hard work and commitment resulting in a truly incredible build. Congratulations to Matt and his team on winning Tri-Five of the Year.”


Martinez’ award-winning Chevy started with a chassis from Street Rod Garage while Martinez searched for a ’55 shell.

“I ended up finding what I never thought possible,” he says. “A guy had a solid body on a body cart, with no chassis or running gear, and it was local. I was pretty excited.”

A friend who converts right-hand drive G8 Utes from Australia to left hand drive for the U.S. market found the engine and transmission. After purchase, it was taken to Turnkey Engine Supply for a refresh including MAHLE 10.7:1 pistons, a COMP Cams cam, and Holley Terminator EFI assembly with a single-plane intake, jumping the horsepower from 430 to a dyno-tuned 540 hp.

Wanting the car to be timeless, Martinez kept the plating to a minimum and dressed the engine in a huge, vintage-style air cleaner and ’57 Chevy script valve covers on adapters from Delmo’s Speed. Hedman Hedders and a Concept One front runner system were also added.

Since everything Martinez owns is black, the color was a no-brainer. He’s also a fan of the clean and low-slung style of Bobby Alloway, so the body was dropped and smoothed by Steve Sheats Sr. and Jr. at True Colors Customs before the PPG paint was sprayed.

Body mods were limited to shaving the door locks and restyling the bumper over-riders. Martinez scored a round of Salt Flats-inspired wheels from Budnik featuring three-bar knockoffs and hidden lug nuts. He also turned to Lee Bumgardner of Zoomers Automotive for help, including the trick exhaust system.

Finally, the car was taken to Mark Lopez at Elegance Auto Interiors in Upland, California for a timeless leather treatment. Lopez added seats from a 1962 Impala and created a custom console. The dash was crowned with a matching ’62 Impala steering wheel and fitted with gauges from Redline Gauge Works.

Lopez’ shop-neighbor Carlos Rodriguez at The Art of Sound masterfully added a premium 14-speaker sound system, neatly tucked out of sight and controlled by a stock-appearing radio.

Back at home, Martinez says the car fought him nearly every step of the way, earning a few choice words and the unofficial nickname of Black Cat. But, the headaches were worth it and true testament to the determination of this hometown builder.

Even his son Alek got in on the act, helping with much of the chassis assembly, installing the windows, and polishing countless stainless steel hardware pieces. The two worked side-by-side in their home garage in their spare time, only farming out things they couldn’t do themselves.

Martinez’ ’55 Chevy started as a passion project and turned in to a nationally-recognized build. The true backbone of the performance and aftermarket industry lives in stories like Martinez’, where every product is part of a greater vision to build not only a great vehicle, but mirror a piece of the builder’s identity. And with the help of companies like ididit, grassroots builders find partners and resources to help craft their masterpiece build with the best products on the market.

Grassroots builders interested in using ididit products to help with projects and builds can visit and fill out the Sponsorship Submission form.


DETROIT, MICHIGAN: Since 1937, when EATON Detroit Spring was started by Mike Eaton’s grandparents Frank and Grace, the leaf and coil springs manufacturer has become a titan in the industry. With more than 24,000 OE blueprints and 80 years of experience, EATON Detroit Spring has provided its expertise to dozens of custom projects. But a call from Randy Becht, owner of Hoosier Restoration and Movie Props, particularly caught Mike Eaton’s attention. “I am amazed by the things I get to learn in this business,” Eaton said. “Randy’s tank project reinforced that one never will know it all.” Becht has been in the street rod business for many years, and throughout his career has restored military vehicles for museums and movie sets alike. But his newest project was perhaps his most ambitious ever, and he knew he had to call on the best to make it a reality. “It was my wife Janet who had the idea of rebuilding Gen. George S. Patton’s tank,” Becht said. “She told the (Indiana Military Museum) CEO, Jim Osborne, that we could do it.” Patton’s tank—a WWI-era M1917—stands over 7 feet tall and is 16 feet long. It’s equipped with a machine gun and keeps a crew of two soldiers. A rebuild had never been attempted.
Over the next 18 months, Becht and his team, Grant Becht and Brian Bartholome, made slow-but- steady progress rebuilding the tank. The 7-ton machine had very few original parts, and no blueprints. “Most of the parts were built or recreated from pictures, but that’s what we pride ourselves on—building what was lost to history,” Randy Becht said. When it came time to build custom springs, however, progress came to a halt—until Becht contacted Mike Eaton at EATON Detroit Spring. “Randy sent a rather vague email asking if we could build four springs to special specs,” Eaton said. “Because he could not give much information, I was afraid we would not be able to help him. But once he said the spring was for Gen. Patton’s tank, I knew we would make it happen.” Becht explained that the importance of the spring setup was unexpected—without the right rates and specs, the tank not only wouldn’t sit right, it wouldn’t function properly, either. “What we started with was flawed,” he explained. “EATON Detroit Spring came in and saved the day. They not only corrected 100-year- old flawed engineering, but improved it greatly.” To create something that would work, Eaton’s first steps were to ask the questions needed to build the custom tank springs, including:
  • The length of the area the springs would fit into;
  • The distance from the center bolt location to the center of the spring eyes, both front and rear of the spring;
  •  Maximum width allowed;
  •  Distance between the bottom mounting plate of the springs and the center line of the eyes when the springs would be loaded with the weight of the tank;
  • The weight the springs would be supporting;
  •  And how the weight would be distributed front and rear.
“Randy gave me what he could and mentioned a couple of weak points that he saw in the original design,” Eaton recalled. “Then I went to work.” Calling on his 40-plus years of spring-building experience, Eaton created a design he believed solved all the problems, including a way to make a quick correction if needed. “Randy installed the springs and called me happier than a kid in a candy store,” he said. “The tank sat perfectly.” It was one of those projects where talented individuals come together to create something special. “Randy is an extremely talented man,” Eaton said—though Becht is quick to share the accolades. “Without the dedication and charity of industry leaders like Mr. Eaton and others, we would not be able to do the things we do,” Becht stated. “We thank God for our ability to do what we love and to bring happiness to museum patrons everywhere we send our creations.” Those creations are delivered to institutions all over the United States, with additional collaborations beginning with several European museums next year. As for Patton’s WWI tank, it was dedicated November 2, 2017, received by George Patton Waters, Gen. Patton’s grandson and fellow veteran. It is now on permanent display at the Indiana Military Museum in Vincennes, Indiana.

December, 2017 – Career-long industry members and current GForce Performance Engineering management, Bob Engel and Jesse Powell, have purchased GForce from private equity that has held the company’s stake for several years. GForce Performance Engineering is a Wichita, Kansas-based company focused on driveline upgrades for performance vehicles, positioned as an industry leader in independent rear suspension components.

“Obviously, we are extremely excited about the acquisition,” says Powell, GForce president. “We feel by unifying management and ownership with a common vision, the company will really hit its stride and continue the growth and success we’ve been working toward.”

Powell began his career at Aeromotive, Inc. as marketing and communications director. After Aeromotive, he did a brief stint with The Enthusiast Network before leaving to step in as president of GForce.

Engel began his career in the automotive industry at AutoMeter. After many years working his way up the ladder, he left to become a manufacturer’s rep for Kunzman and Associates, only to eventually pursue his passion in performance tuning.

For the last two years, GForce has been under the direction of Powell and Engel and seen significant growth.

“GForce has a unique opportunity in today’s market,” adds Engel, vice president and partner. “The product is extremely relevant and the manufacturing process is one that GForce has worked hard to develop. This, coupled with some of the processes and procedures we have added over the last couple of years, has produced some of best driveline parts on the market.”

GForce Engineering was founded in the mid ’90s by aerospace engineer and longtime drag racer Chris Nichols. The company saw several iterations, from a local speed shop to a fabrication and machine shop. In 2009, Nichols reimagined GForce Engineering as a true manufacturer and quickly found his place in the industry producing performance CV axles, driveshafts and driveline components, specializing in IRS and AWD performance vehicles. Nichols continues his interest in the company as lead engineer with a focus on new product development and R&D.

“Bob, Chris and I believe that in today’s performance marketplace, real innovation will come from manufacturers that are led by enthusiasts with a passion for this industry. That’s why we are investing so much into new products and new procedures, with a goal to produce better products at a better price for our customers,” says Powell.

For more information about GForce Engineering and the advantages its products can provide, visit or call (316) 260-8433 M-F 9am to 5pm CST.


  Poway, CA – October 27, 2017 – There is no greater punishment on a vehicle’s suspension than off-road racing, and short course racing is even more intense. Short course takes the punishment experienced in miles of off-road racing and condenses it onto a track where fans can witness the spectacle. Cars and trucks race door to door at breakneck speeds over terrain that is purposely designed to upset the vehicles. When they are not traversing uneven bumps or negotiating tricky corners, racers are flying through the air off of huge jumps. It’s in this crazy world where BILSTEIN chooses to compete. Not only does BILSTEIN’s shock absorber technology survive in short course racing, it excels. Darren Hardesty Jr., who’s Pro Buggy runs BILSTEIN M 9200 Bypass and Coilover shocks, is a third-generation racer who has carried on the championship tradition. His Father Darren Sr. won in the desert on BILSTEIN shocks. BILSTEIN has been a part of the Hardesty family for a long time. “We were 100% committed to winning another championship this season” Hardesty Jr said. “We worked really hard to be the fastest car on the track. You have to be fast and smooth to stay out front. During the final points race of the season, I got the holeshot and just ran my own race out front. We took the win and my spotter Matt came over the radio to tell me we won our second championship; it was incredible! Driving up to the podium, the fans lined up to give us high fives as we drove by. It was the most high fives I’ve ever seen, the fans are amazing! My eyes welled up with tears of joy. Our first championship felt amazing but the second one is beyond words. We worked so hard to achieve it and BILSTEIN is a huge part of our success.” Jerett Brooks took his second straight Pro Lite championship title this season running on BILSTEIN M 9200 (Bypass) and M 9200 (Coilover) shocks. He did it by being consistently out front. “We try to stay out front and run clean,” Brooks said. “If you get back in the pack, there is no time to wait; you have to move people out of the way. It’s important to qualify in the front and get great starts.  BILSTEIN has been a big help to us for both of our championships. They helped us to set up our shocks and give us killer service between races.” Brooks also races in the Pro-2 class; full-size, 2-wheel drive trucks with 700-900 horsepower engines. After winning back to back championships in the Pro Lite class, Brooks will be moving up into the Pro-2 class full time next season. BILSTEIN racer Ryan Beat travelled to Crandon International Raceway in Crandon, Wisconsin, the birthplace of short course racing, to compete for the 48th annual World Championships. More than 54,000 fans showed up to witness the best off-road racers in the world competing for the World Championship title. It was Beat’s first trip to Crandon, but he left a huge impression. One of the most unique features of the track in Crandon is the land rush start. Beat and his fellow competitors lined up door to door and at the drop of the green flag; charged across an open field filled with bumps, mud, and slick grass towards turn one. Turn one is taken at full throttle as the trucks head to a jump before making a sharp left turn. “Getting the land rush start right is the key to winning in Crandon,” Beat said. “We qualified fastest so we started on the pole. At the drop of the green flag it’s a drag race into turn one. My BILSTEIN shocks gave me the traction I needed to get off the line, and allowed me to stay on the throttle through the big holes off the start. We got the holeshot and never looked back; we led the race from flag to flag. Winning a Crandon World Championship is like winning the Daytona 500. It was a great experience, and I am grateful for BILSTEIN’s support and everyone else who helped us to achieve it. We made a few minor rebound adjustments to our 2.5-inch BILSTEIN external bypass shocks and our truck was perfect.” BILSTEIN has been on the podium in off-road racing since the sport was invented. They continue to define the performance and durability necessary to win races and championships in the most demanding racing conditions in the world. Congratulations go out to Ryan Beat, Jerett Brooks, and Darren Hardesty Jr., three current BILSTEIN racers who, through hard work and determination, have added their names to the record books.

Poway, CA – October 27, 2017 – BILSTEIN Shock Absorbers will be making their annual debut atSEMA with a completely redesigned booth (#23057). The back walls feature vibrant oversized landscapes that capture the emotion of driving on and off road with legendary BILSTEIN shock absorbers. These Landscapes set the stage for this year’s featured vehicles, a 1972 Toyota FJ-40 and a 2017 Audi RS3 LMS. BILSTEIN will also be unveiling ten new products and applications at the show, as well as an all new Online eCatalog. The rebuilt 1972 Toyota FJ-40 is truly “the crawler Toyota would have built.” A departure from the usual rock crawler builds, this vehicle is “All Toyota” and is as true to the brand as possible. It was completely engineered and built by Proffitt’s Resurrection Land Cruisers. They restored the FJ to the original Toyota color code, explaining its iconic mint green color. The entire vehicle has been rebuilt with 100% Toyota parts. The original 1972 FJ-40 was cut in half and stretched 13 inches to help make room for some additional upgrades including: bigger brakes, 40 inch tires, lights and the addition of a custom three link front and four link rear suspension featuringBILSTEIN B8 8125s and M 9100 Bump Stops. The 2017 Audi RS3 LMS is engineered by Audi Sport for an emerging TCR category, the RS3 LMS is equipped with a four-cylinder TFSI engine that delivers up to 350 horsepower through a SADEV 6-speed sequential transmission. All four corners utilize BILSTEIN MDS coilovers featuring independent rebound and compression adjustment for precise optimization of suspension characteristics on any track. Driven by JT Coupal, this Audi RS3 LMS was raced during the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge season and most recently raced at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the final round of the Pirelli World Challenge series. He is supported by Micro Precision Components Inc., Berg Racing, and Redcom. Additionally, BILSTEIN has partnered with ECS Tuning, Liqui Moly, StopTech, Mann, Rotiform, Milltek, Carista, 034Motorsport, Wagner Tuning, and Tire Source to give away a fully wrapped, 2016 Audi A3 Quattro S-Line equipped with BILSTEIN B16 (PSS10) suspension. The vehicle will be on display at the show and the winner will be announced immediately after SEMA. BILSTEIN will have three other featured vehicles in the show; the full list of sponsored vehicles and their locations can be found in the BILSTEIN booth number 23057. BILSTEIN will be debuting their new eCatalog featuring improved navigation and functionality and an enhanced Year-Make-Model product lookup. Additionally, customers can now search for custom, non-vehicle specific BILSTEIN products in Custom Light Truck, Heavy Duty and Motorhome, Motorsports, and Off-Road Motorsports categories. Custom attributes can be selected to search product by length, mount type, extended and collapsed measurements, chassis type, and more. These features will help users further navigate the product pages, including those featured in this year’s new product showcase. The SEMA New Products Showcase includes ten new products from BILSTEIN spanning multiple segments, including light truck and off-road, tuning, and motorsports.
  • B8 5100 (Dual Steering Damper) | 2013-2017 RAM 2500/3500 4WD | Part #53-264817
  • B8 6112 | 2015+ Ford F-150 2WD | Part #47-258075
  • B6 4600 | 2017+ Ford F250/F350 4WD | Part #24-274937
  • B8 6112 | 2005-2017 Nissan Frontier/Xterra | Part #47-266711
  • B8 6112 | 2000-2006 Toyota Tundra 4WD | Part #47-260337
  • B8 5162 | 2014+ RAM 2500 4WD | Part #46-263889
  • B6 Performance | 2014+ Nissan Rogue | Part #22-251534
  • B8 Performance Plus | 2016+ Fiat 124 Spider/Mazda Miata MX-5 | Part #24-249607
  • BILSTEIN Clubsport® | 2016+ BMW M2 | Part #48-268721
  • B16 (PSS10) | 2017+ Audi A4/A4 Quattro | Part #48-262316
Be sure to visit the BILSTEIN booth (#23057) to learn more about the cart and the new products on display. The BILSTEIN Sales, Marketing, Motorsports and Product Management teams will be there to answer any questions you may have.


TECUMSEH, MICHIGAN: Corvette enthusiasts asked, and ididit listened. The newest tilt floor shift column from the Michigan manufacturer is engineered to perfection for 1969-76 Corvettes.

After fielding numerous requests to design an ididit-quality column for the popular 1969-76 Chevrolet Corvette, the company began research and development on a collapsible tilt floor shift. In-demand features include: eight-position tilt, self-canceling turn signals, four-way flashers, knobs and levers, 3-7/8- and 4-1/4-inch wiring plug, 3/4-inch DD extendable lower shaft, pre-welded under-dash mount, model-specific floor mount, and ignition with relay pack.

“The Corvette is an American icon,” Marty Waterstraut of ididit said. “By bringing new technology to classic design, this column is crafted with the attention to detail and high level of quality ididit is known for.”

ididit offers the column in paintable steel (Part No. 1520710010), chrome (Part No. 1520710020), or a black powder-coat (1520710051).

Three separate installation kits are also available: Manual Stock Box (Part No. 3000054949) that includes 3/4-inch -36 X 3/4-inch DD rag joint; Power Box (Part No. 3000054940) that includes 3/4-inch DD X 13/16-inch -36 rag joint; and Rack & Pinion (Part No. 3000014949) that includes U-joint.


STATESVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA: Custom vehicle builders and race teams can now create their own headers with the new DIY Weld Up Header Kits from Kooks Headers & Exhaust.

The new kits come with everything needed to build custom headers, including twelve J-Bends, two slip-on collectors (available in 3-inch or 3.5-inch), and two engine specific flanges.


Available steel options for the DIY Weld Up Header Kits include corrosion-and rust-free 304 Grade Stainless Steel ($799 per kit), and cost-effective Mild Steel ($599 per kit). High-quality 304 Grade Stainless Steel provides longevity, withstands high heat and can be repaired, whereas Mild Steel is geared for race teams constantly changing their setups. Both varieties include 1-3/4-inch, 1-7/8-inch or 2-inch primary tube sizing options. Kooks ensures the quality of its steel by sourcing it locally from a manufacturing plant in its hometown of Statesville.

The 3/8-inch thick flanges are laser cut in-house by Kooks with their new State-of-the-Art Mitsubishi Laser Machine. The tubing is Mandrel bent, which allows air to flow through more smoothly and unrestricted, allowing more power to push through, a clear benefit in headers. 

“These new Do-It-Yourself kits provide builders with the quality, American-made materials we use at Kooks and the freedom to design and install their own set of headers specific to the needs and goals of their project,” Chris Clark of Kooks Headers said. “We are excited to see the custom set ups created by the talented fabricators and builders out there.”

For more information, call a Kooks Headers and Exhaust representative at 866-586-5665 or visit

ABOUT KOOKS HEADERS AND EXHAUST: For the past 55 years, Kooks Headers & Exhaust has built a sterling reputation in the performance aftermarket and racing industry for their relentless dedication to quality, performance and innovation. Products produced by the company have been made in the USA since 1962. For more information, call Kooks Headers & Exhaust at 1-866-586-5665 or go to