Camaros, Corvettes get ‘American Thump’ boost

Kaizen Speed, McCurley partner to offer aftermarket performance packages

Two of America’s favorite fast cars — Corvettes and Camaros — can get an aftermarket horsepower and torque boost covered by a warranty, thanks to a new partnership between two Tri-City businesses.

Kennewick’s Kaizenspeed and Pasco’s McCurley Integrity Chevrolet Cadillac teamed up to offer area consumers a performance package that includes improved torque and 565 horsepower covered by a three-year warranty.

“If you have a stock Corvette or Camaro, how do you win the customer over? For any true car enthusiast, it’s with something truly unique. That’s what cars are all about. It’s an extension of yourself —something no one else has,” said Reid Lunde, Kaizenspeed president and founder.

He’s confident that once people walk into McCurley and hear the Kaizenspeed version of a Corvette or Camaro, they’ll be hooked.

“Once you feel a stock shifter versus our shifter, you’ll think about it every time you shift gears,” Lunde said.

The process is smooth: McCurley orders Corvettes and Camaros that best suit a Kaizenspeed conversion.

“They won’t sit here for more than 48 hours,” said Craig Cavanaugh, McCurley’s general manager.

The cars then are taken across the cable bridge to Kaizenspeed at 110 N. Gum St. in Kennewick, where the performance platform is installed.

“The core of what we’re doing is the camshaft and valve train. That’s what brings these cars to life. It’s what gives them the American muscle sound that everyone wants. It’s also what provides the biggest gain in horsepower and torque. Beyond that, we lower the vehicle to give it a more aggressive stance, install a Hurst short-shifter and badge the vehicle’s interior and exterior with serialized badging so that everyone knows it’s unlike anything else on the road,” Lunde said.

In about two weeks, the cars return to the McCurley showroom.

The three-year contract between the two companies is the first of its kind in the Northwest, and the Pasco dealership is excited about the venture.

“In all my years in the car business, we’ve never partnered with an aftermarket company that enhances the performance of our automobiles. So, we thought, ‘This is a natural fit.’” Cavanaugh said.

McCurley will have a few of the Kaizenspeed cars in stock at a time and though the project is in its infancy, Cavanaugh hopes to sell at least one of the performance models each month.

“We forecast that we’ll sell six new Camaros per month in 2017 and we’re assuming some of those will be the Kaizenspeed models. Our goal for the new year is to sell 24 Corvettes and I’ll bet some of those will also be Kaizenspeed,” Cavanaugh said. “Our long-term goal is to continue another three-year contract again and again with them due to its success.”

Lunde hopes to sell at least one performance platform Corvette and one Camaro through McCurley every quarter.

“Long term, we’d like to be moving many more than that and we’re working to create a worldwide need for them. We fully realize that this is a huge undertaking and the bigger the goal, the longer the timeline,” Lunde said. “We were very clear that it will take years of steady pushing before it starts to gain momentum.”

The first Kaizenspeed 565.N Camaro was delivered to McCurley in early December and its sound has already turned heads, Cavanaugh said.

“I’ve sat in my office and heard it being started half a dozen times. I always know it’s the Kaizenspeed; that is the only Camaro that sounds like that. It reminds me of when you hear a Harley (Davidson); it’s very distinct,” Cavanaugh said.

It is on sale for about $57,000.

A Kaizenspeed kiosk, complete with a tablet, speakers and a monitor, soon will offer McCurley customers a firsthand look and sound experience.

“We call that (sound), ‘American Thump,’” Lunde said. “People want the thump of a ’69 Camaro with the reliability of a 2017 Camaro. When we make 500 horsepower, the next thought is, ‘How do I get to 600 horsepower?’ The search for more power is never-ending; it has brought us to 1,300-plus horsepower with some cars. We’re offering a supercar power with ‘American Thump.’ Cars can bring people back to their youth while providing the reliability available with modern technology.”

The Kaizenspeed performance platforms can be financed through McCurley. Instead of facing $10,000 in out-of-pocket aftermarket expenses, the package equals about $100 a month, Lunde said.

McCurley’s three Camaro models range from $25,900 to $68,000 and the C7 Corvettes range from $69,000 to $115,000, depending on models and options.

The Kaizenspeed 565.N dealership package adds $11,500 to the sticker price. The aftermarket package includes a three-year, 36,000-mile drive-train warranty.

“And if you can have all that for only 100 bucks more a month, it’s a no brainer,” Lunde said.

Kaizenspeed also sells all of its packages through McCurley’s parts department and those range from $4,500 to $22,000.

“We’ll be able to offer more depth in our performance product here at the store,” Cavanaugh said. “We’ve got so many different options in the Corvette and the Camaro. It’ll add to our overall repertoire here at McCurley and it may bring in a different client than we’ve previously seen.”

Lunde said he hopes to “drive enthusiasts to McCurley.”

The relationship with McCurley was forged after surveying multiple Corvette clubs, Lunde said.

“That was eye-opening for us. Not everyone is a full-time hot-rodder and they’re concerned that aftermarket modifications will hurt their engine and void their warranty,” he said. “The warranty is the single most important issue of all and we’re the only company to put a warranty in writing. You won’t find that anywhere else in the entire Northwest. If fact, there are only a few companies in the world that do that and none of them are building community like we are.”

Travis Timmons, vice president of sales and marketing for Kaizenspeed, said the warranty is key.

“This is not a common business practice to offer in the aftermarket performance scene. We worked hard to achieve this offer to our vehicle owners,” he said. “Now they can have the peace of mind that a reliable company performed this work and stands behind it. It takes the worry out of owning an aftermarket vehicle, spending less time worrying about reliability and more about where they want to cruise to — while turning heads.”

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