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Folks Of Interest The Truth About Speedway... Part 1

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Ryan, Aug 27, 2014.

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  1. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 19,044

    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    Ryan submitted a new blog post:

    The Truth About Speedway... Part 1


    Continue reading the Original Blog Post
  2. atomickustom
    Joined: Aug 30, 2005
    Posts: 3,296


    I'm sure there are going to be a gillion responses to this blog, and most of them will have a very firm opinion about Speedway, but I'll stick to the other issue: I would argue that you do have a journalistic right to ask these questions and anyone at the other end with half a brain will figure out that they should respond to your inquiries considering the sheer size and scope of the HAMB.
  3. porkshop
    Joined: Jan 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,713

    from Clovis Ca

    I quit buying from them years ago, just for the made in china reason. They are large enough to have there copy parts made here in the states. I try to buy from smaller mom and pop type business to support local economys..P/S Ryan at least You are man enough to call them out. Most of the higher up journalists are too worried about there advertising dollars to do so......
    48fordnut and slammed like this.
  4. Ryan, I enjoyed the read. I can't remember the name of the wrench, but Sears/Craftsman did a very similiar thing to the maker of a speciality wrench. Sears had carried the USA made wrench in it's stores for a period of time, then turned around and copied it, and is now selling it under there own name. I remember seeing the story twice on the national news in the past 18 monthes. You might want to look for it. The owner/inventor of the wrench was featured in the story and understandably... disgusted? frustrated?... with the shoddy treatment by Sears.

    Edit: I found the story about the wrench:

    Last edited: Aug 27, 2014
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  5. 40fordtudor
    Joined: Jan 3, 2010
    Posts: 2,503


    I had heard about some of this for some time. I am from Nebraska originally. I went through Speedy's museum several years ago and marveled at the enormity of it. Truly, the guy was dedicated to hotrodding---the museum will attest to that. Now there are rumors I have heard that the museum MAY be abandoned----after an astounding sale of course. This makes me wonder about the day by day management of Speedway over the last few years in light of Speedy's devotion to his wife, and her subsequent demise. Recent events DO NOT bring dedication to hotrodding to mind; it MAY be capitalism and pursuit of the almighty $$. JMHO.
  6. toreadorxlt
    Joined: Feb 27, 2008
    Posts: 733

    from Nashua, NH

    its the same kind of greed and loss of integrity that has this country in the sad state it is in now. dollars > do right.
    slack, dorf, Dan Hay and 2 others like this.
  7. frank spittle
    Joined: Jan 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,674

    frank spittle

    I have always respected Bill Smith but it just ain't right to buy a product from a manufacturer who has engineered and perfected that product and turn around and copy it.
  8. MikeRose
    Joined: Oct 7, 2004
    Posts: 1,570

    from Yuma, AZ

    I have noticed that they do this too. They recently started selling a made in china reversed corvair steering box that looks very similar to the Flaming River box that they have been selling for years.

    It's not right, but not surprising either.
  9. This should certainly see its share of activity as after years watching, and a short time participating here there are lots of strong opinions on the topic. I live just a few miles from HRW and have known Ken a long time. They are a tiny shop, and real good people!
    I'd like to quote one of Ryan's quotes here and try to propose its "bigger picture" implications. "It’s a viewpoint that I learned from Corky Coker – a rising tide lifts all ships and what’s good for one of us is good for all us." I know the rules of the HAMB and I love it here, but as my user name implies, I'm somewhat nondenominational when it comes to who's "gospel" I subscribe to. One of the few negatives I see repeated by some of us is the consistent disrespect or aggressive bashing of anyone who subscribes to anything but their idea of cool. I think Corky's logic applies to all "motor heads". You could look at it as everyone who really wants a Prius against the rest of us, no matter what gospel we preach. At the end of the day the money the crawler guys, the tuners, the street rodders and bombs, even the RR guys spend support industries we all depend on. Cut'em a little slack next time one starts to raise your dander.
    I'll climb down off the soap box now. When's Tech Week coming again? I love that stuff!
    beachbum jim, 5window and the-stig like this.
  10. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 4,975


    In a former life, I owned a company that supplied computer systems to small and medium sized businesses. I have seen this many times. Someone establishes a successful business through years of hard work and over the years acquires a sterling reputation. The founder/original owner gets older and leaves the day to day operation to his successors, be they family or outsiders. Sometimes these successors continue in the old way, but most of the time the get lazy and/or greedy and do anything they can to turn reputation to profit. This too, is the "American way". I don't know if "Speedy Bill" would like to see what his company has become; I doubt it.
    Andamo and 40fordtudor like this.
  11. Alex Yohnk
    Joined: Sep 7, 2005
    Posts: 828

    Alex Yohnk

    If my innovations will be sent to China to be reverse engineered and then used to drive me out of business, then where is my incentive? Except to stay one step ahead..................

    Oh, and Lawyers, guns, and money may be the only answer.
  12. ynottayblock
    Joined: Dec 23, 2005
    Posts: 1,954


    this is a can of worms you are opening...

    This happens across all industries, all the time. I see it all the time at work. Unfortunately most people in business (not all), will chose greed and profit over good ethics 100% of the time. The more successful or larger the company, the more it happens. I have had quite a few of my designs copied over the years by competitors in my industry, it is usually cheaper to ignore it, than try and do something about it (lawyers).
    Scott F. likes this.
  13. harpo1313
    Joined: Jan 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,868

    from wareham,ma

    How can any manufacturer in this country compete with 20 cent an hour labor?Its sad ,and even sadder the greed in this country.For the life of me,I cant believe our leaders even let anything from china come to our shores.I hate to be political but thats what it comes down to ,and i wont even rant about unions.sorry
    40fordtudor, loudbang and slack like this.
  14. Unfortunately this is the way of the world and most of us are aware of the proliferation of knock-offs from China and elsewhere. Of course driven by the mighty power of the buck. How aware was Bill Smith about what was going on under his nose? He may have been that insulated from the marketing end of things.

    I just go with, if you are in the know about something like this as a consumer and you have an option about buying the US or foreign "equivalent", that decision is yours.
  15. Malcolm
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 7,586

    from Nebraska

    Having friends that work for Speedway Motors, I will refrain from commenting on the issue at hand.

    The only thing I do want to comment on is the 'rumor' that @40fordtudor mentioned about the Museum of American Speed closing/selling the contents. I highly doubt that will happen. Speedy Bill's family still runs/owns the business and I don't see the museum going away anytime soon.

    GreenMtnBoy, Dan Hay and Hitchhiker like this.
  16. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    from florida

    To be honest with you, I think this is a non issue. As much as we don't like some of the things big businesses do, that is how it works and is strictly business and what they sometimes have to do to survive.

    It is no different than the industry I am in, the marine industry. Our company got started by buying other people's products, but over the years we have moved more and more to private label products that are sometimes made overseas. Although everyone decries "Chinese crap !" the fact is, we say one thing and buy another. We do not want to pay Champagne prices when we can buy beer, so we force a retailer to do whatever they have to do to meet that demand and stay in business.

    The reason Speedway has survived so long is because they were smarter than their competition. I can't hate them for that, in fact, I applaud them. The big fish always eat up the little fish, that is capitalism. Nothing I have seen in your editorial changes my opinion of Speedway at all, and I will continue to buy from them as I have for probably 30 years. Every company should serve their customers as well as they do, they have never let me down.

    gas pumper, dana barlow and Racrdad like this.
  17. olcurmdgeon
    Joined: Dec 15, 2007
    Posts: 2,049


    Ryan, I wish more journalists would ask relevant questions. What you asked is a relevant one, namely what is the level of fairness and decency in American corporate life today? Is it money trumps all ethics? But if you think that, then ask yourself, do you buy American? Going to upgrade your water pump, do you call Summit or Jegs or whoever and ask which of their higher flow pumps is American made? Or do you sort your choice by price? We get what we pay for I guess.
    loudbang and Revived 265 like this.
  18. Maybe a qustion to ask would be, why is it cheaper to manufacture something and ship it half way around the world? If we make so hard to make anything in this country that it is cheaper to add the cost of that much shipping, could that be the problem. Of course, it is not all the U.S. fault, the China Goverment does things to keep manufacturing cost down and that may be unfair but we must learn how to deal with that. I just heard tht Burger King may merge with another company and move to Canada, a move that would save them 14% in taxes.....what you going to do?

    But let's get back to building Hot Rods!
    Lawrence Clayton likes this.
  19. jseery
    Joined: Sep 4, 2013
    Posts: 742

    from Wichita KS

    I know that some of speedways parts are U.S. made, I know the individual that makes their tube style front axles. They are cut, bent, machined and welded up right here in the U.S. To bad more parts are not. I do know that Bill was discussing other items having to be farmed out overseas because his U.S. sources were dying off or retiring and he could not find replacement sources.
  20. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    from florida

    Yep, look in the mirror, guys. We are the ones who forced Mom and Pop stores and businesses to close. Everyone wants cheap prices and that is why the Walmarts, Costcos, etc............and, yes, Speedways, of the world are still around and the little guys are gone. Then we take the survivors to task because they were savvy enough to meet our needs and expectations. Everyone talks a good game but when it comes time to open our wallets it is a whole different deal.

    Sorry, I calls them as I sees them. :)

    Deadbird, aar0s, ric and 12 others like this.
  21. Jimmy2car
    Joined: Nov 26, 2003
    Posts: 1,707

    from No. Cal

    I agree with Don's Hot Rods 100%.
    gas pumper and papadaddio like this.
  22. Integrity in business comes with a reasonable and sustainable profit margins.

    High profit margins require something other than integrity. Some will trade their integrity for higher margins.
    loudbang, Jeem, J&JHotrods and 4 others like this.
  23. Russco
    Joined: Nov 27, 2005
    Posts: 4,131

    from Central IL

    Nothing new, I still buy certain things from them. I can order it one day its on my porch the next. I have not found another source that can do this. I tried recently to go the other route. Use a USA Mom and Pop type supplier. I'll not mention the name but I ordered a Steering damper kit from them, they are a well known and respected business in the Hot Rodding industry, I received the part that was drop shipped from another supplier only 1 state away, with a marked up price and it took about 2 days longer than it should have. AND the part I believe was still made overseas.
  24. Sadly huge business usually profits from the broken bones of small business,Wallmart is a prime example,when Sam Walton was at the helm this giant in retail was the champion of small vendors and was well know for their "Made in the USA" after his demise the made anywhere but the USA was the norm.

    Speedy Bill was a capitalist the same way Henry Ford was..they both let other people do the design work,then use it to their advantage.,right or wrong that seems to be the American way.

    Was Speedy Bill a good man? I think so,but was he a take no prisoners cut throat business man? Definitely! HRP
    hipster likes this.
  25. Speedway did the same to Vern Tardell.
    And Patrick's.
    And ....

    They are the Walmart of the automotive aftermarket.
  26. HUSSEY
    Joined: Feb 16, 2010
    Posts: 628


    I think it's a fair question to ask and a question that can be asked more bluntly. I hate seeing more and more manufacturing going over seas to save a few dollars when I think much of those savings are not passed along to the customer but to increase the companys profits. There's nothing that's says they can't do it, but I still think it is in the intrest of greed and not in the interest in making a better product or making America a better place.

    I'm concerned one day that we're going to reach a point where we loose much of our knowlage base in manufacturing. Those who know it are not able to teach it to yonger generations because it's all going overseas.

    Question: Did Hotrod works license the product to Speedway? Otherwise, I'll call it like I see it, Speedway stole thier idea to make a few extra bucks.

    But, is Hotrods works much different. I think Buffelo Enterprises, an even littler guy, came out with the T5 adapter plates before Hotrod works?
    loudbang and i.rant like this.
  27. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 10,466

    from Zoar, Ohio

    Glad you took a stand on this Ryan.
    Been preaching this since clear back in the 80's when it first began.
    Being in Quality Control in manufacturing during those years made me very cynical. I seen components come in consistently incorrect from China. When talking to them they would agree to every point I brought up and lie straight to your face.. And continually try to shove it down our throat. They knew we would use it anyway because we lost our local sources.
    Then in the 90's the American companies started investing over there. Quality improved dramatically. From then on we have been on a spiral that is out of control within our manufacturing circle.
    Think about this.... We are relying on a communistic county to supply our day to day supplies. We lost craftsman who, in the past, have mentored the next generation in the crafts. What happens when that far away country with an agenda of its own decide its not in their interest to trade with us any longer???
    Who in this country is going to want to invest time and money creating the next needed idea for manufacturing??
  28. the best non-dictionary definition I've seen for integrity is doing the right, honorable thing... even when no one is watching. I've read stories and research the past few years on the decline of integrity in business. I believe this is in large part that it may not be the family value that it once was, now that our culture more widely embraces the notion "it's better/easier to seek forgiveness later, than seeking permission first".

  29. .........................................................It sure would be nice to see someone not sell out their integrity for higher margins. When all is said and done and we leave this place, our money might as well be tossed to the wind. Our integrity is about all we really leave behind that others will remember us by.
  30. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 19,044

    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    Most of these reactions, as depressing as they are to me, really aren't to the point I was trying to make... Or the question I was trying to ask.

    I don't care all that much about outsourcing overseas. That's a global economy thing... That's what the world is and how America survives. Sure, I try to sell only American made stuff in my store... And I'm always conscious about where the stuff I buy is made. BUT, I do this knowing full well that I couldn't run my business without Chinese made goods... Computers and all.

    In any case, mute point.

    My question is more about our hot rod industry... and how a big business in our industry may or may not be squashing innovation through what ultimately might be a moral failure of some kind.

    It's weird... If we have a thread around here about an artist that had his work stolen and sold under someone else's name, we have hundreds of folks up in arms about it. But if we have an American hot rodder have his idea "copied" and reproduced under another name, the bulk of the reaction is just "Ohhh, that's just how business works."

    It's not how my business works and it's certainly not how I'm raising my kids to live. And frankly, I have no idea if that is how Speedway works or not. They've never wronged me in anyway and the sources for this story are obviously other small businesses in the industry... Like I said, there is another side to this story. I'm confident of that.
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