Last updated 3/11/2014 6:06 am @ Taipei, Taiwan – I’ve decided to change the title as some people might not have read this article. Hopefully more people read it now. I know some people say why re-hash old history? Well, you don’t have to read this, move on. But if you are interested in my perspective on the history, read on…
Posted: 2/3/2012 @ Union City, California
The world might not know this but I’m the incredibly un-accomplished FOB that Dave was referring to in this blog in 2009. There is 2 sides to every story of course.
|Source: http://cms.skunk2.com/id/348/Just-Cant-Wait-Part-One/Aug 25th, 2009
JUST CAN’T WAIT: PART ONE
Many people have urged me to begin writing the follow-up to my “Like Skunk2” blog post, but I’ve been so busy (building for the future) that dwelling on the past has not been priority. Though I have not been in any rush to dig into the past, it appears that the Like Skunk copycat companies are getting anxious, trying to defend themselves by anonymously posting negative comments and trying to undermine Skunk’s contributions and accomplishments.
The following is a comment that was submitted into our comment system: “What technology did Skunk2 pioneer in its first half of its life? Isn’t Skunk2 in fact a technology borrower/purchaser since Skunk2 out source pretty much majority of its manufacturing? The initial product line were completely [BrandX] for several years. The billet camshaft core was a failure and released to the public without adequate testing. The chill-casting camshaft know how were borrowed/purchased from Nissan related OEM factories. None of the original Stage 1, 2, 3 camshaft profiles were designed in house. The intake manifold were slightly modified Honda ITR design. Ground-Control was making slip fit coilover conversion kits long before Group-A/Skunk2 got its start. Just pointing out some facts. Just because some of Skunk2’s suppliers/manufacturers became available to others in the industry doesn’t mean everyone owe it to “Skunk2 Technology” which it never owned in the first place.”
(Note that “Brand X” was used to replace the actual name. I see no reason to promote a brand that we now know is run by a convicted criminal. I will expose this person’s actions and history in future blogs.)
The person that submitted this comment probably thought we wouldn’t put it up or comment on it at all, but in reality, we just didn’t want to put up something misleading without releasing an official response at the same time for clarification. It’s funny how this critic promotes half-truths under the guise of “just pointing out some facts,” “facts” that were used in a long thread on honda-tech.com as a sad attempt to tear down Skunk and defend a certain Like Skunk knock-off company. Also, the broken-English in this comment is a dead giveaway and narrows this person’s identity down to one very specific and incredibly unaccomplished person that’s lurked on the fringes of the industry for years. At one point, this guy thought he could build another Group-A Autosports/Skunk2 Racing by hooking up with one of Skunk’s overseas employees (who was later convicted to 22 months in prison for fraud and embezzlement and also the same guy behind Brand X). By the way, his version of Skunk’s history comes from that convicted criminal. This guy is an opportunist that was lured by delusions of grandeur, where in an effort to try and destroy Group-A/Skunk2, he actually moved overseas to invest and work for BrandX as its international sales manager for a short period of time, only to come back to the U.S. with nothing more than his tail between his legs. Yes, dude, you got PLAYED by the guy who I said was a crook all along!
I’ll eventually tell the complete unabridged version of Skunk’s history and the history of the Like Skunk companies, but in the meantime, let me respond to this guy’s comments.
Comment: What technology did Skunk2 pioneer in its first half of its life?
Reply: First of all, Skunk2 hasn’t been in its “first half of its life” for more than seven years. We’ve moved on. Why haven’t you? I’m glad that your question implies that we have at least been pioneering new technologies for the last eight years; coming from a hater, I’ll take that as a compliment. But the fact of the matter is that Group-A/Skunk2 is more about innovation rather than new technology. New technology usually comes from places like aerospace, F1, Silicon Valley, etc.—not out of niche industries like ours. Innovation is defined by the introduction and use of new technologies, materials, and designs that fill certain needs or make improvements in the marketplace. Group-A/Skunk2 has always been an innovator in our industry. Some of the earliest innovations include, but are not limited to: cam gears, camber kits, sleeved coilovers, VTEC camshafts, and intake manifolds. I’ll explain why in a later post. The mere fact that other companies build businesses around copying our products is a testament to Skunk’s innovation.
Comment: The initial product line were completely [BrandX] for several years.
Reply: I’m trying to figure out the point of this comment. It is true that for the first several years Group-A was the exclusive distributor of BrandX in North America. Initially, when I started selling BrandX products, they were mainly accessory type products such as lug nuts, tow hooks, shift knobs, short shifters, strut bars, and cross-drilled brake rotors. It was very difficult to sell BrandX products and, eventually, after a few years, the owner of BrandX decided that he didn’t want to be the boss. He wanted me to be the boss and he would in turn be my employee. I told him that I didn’t want to continue with BrandX and was going to start a new product line, and thus Skunkworks Racing Project was born. I discovered later that he had played me and was ripping me off from the very beginning of the new arrangement. This guys business plan was to skim off the top while letting Dave take all the risk. The man behind BrandX is the same person responsible for almost all of the Like Skunk companies that were popping up left and right during 2004. I’ll give a more detailed description of everything that happened in a later blog entry.
Aug 31st, 2009
JUST CAN’T WAIT: PART TWO
In case you haven’t read part one, here’s the link: http://cms.skunk2.com/id/348/J…t-One/
Anyways, let’s continue…
Comment: The billet camshaft core was a failure and released to the public without adequate testing.
Reply: The real story behind this comment has never been told. I will tell the story in a separate blog entry in the near future. I have always been the first to openly admit that the incident being referred to was our/my mistake. This incident happened 10 years ago; since then, as a company, we’ve learned, grown, and moved on from this experience. The question is, why can’t our critics? To quote Theodore Roosevelt: “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Comment: The chill-casting camshaft know how were borrowed/purchased from Nissan related OEM factories.
Reply: We never claimed that chill-casting is technology that we invented. Chill-casting has been around since the 1500s; it was used to make cannonballs. After the recall of the initial billet steel cams, we needed to find a solution to take care of all of the customers who were patiently waiting for cams. One of the engineers at the factory (a Nissan supplier) that was making our intake manifolds referred us to an engineer that worked for Nissan. That engineer said he would be able to supply cam blanks to us using the chill-casting process. We gave him the project and brought the cams to market with no issues. Skunk was not the first to fail at making a billet steel, B-series cam, in fact, Comptech had tried for years to get a steel cam to work on its Honda race cars without success. But Skunk rebounded by being the first company to invest in and produce quality chill-cast cam cores.
Comment: None of the original Stage 1, 2, 3 camshaft profiles were designed in house.
Reply: Camshafts were a new market for us at the time. We were still trying to figure out how to make the damn things let alone figure out how to design profiles. At the time, we subcontracted the designs of the Stage 1 and Stage 3 profiles to a company that did all of the cam designs for factory Honda race teams. The Stage 2 cam used a modified version of a Japanese-designed cam profile. Camshaft profile design is and will always be a highly guarded secret among cam designers. Now things are very different because we have the ability to design our own profiles in-house. In the past, we discussed redesigning the Tuner Series cam profiles, but decided to spend our efforts developing the Pro Series cams instead; Pro Series has become the new standard of performance in the B-series cam world. Instead of pointing out that Skunk farmed its cam design work out to another company 10 years ago, the question that should be asked is: When will all the other companies that claim to be Like Skunk invest in their own development equipment and capabilities? I think we all know the answer is NEVER! Skunk2 has always made the necessary investments to improve its development capabilities so I guess, in that sense, all of these Like Skunk companies are nothing like Skunk at all.
Comment: The intake manifold were slightly modified Honda ITR design.
Reply: It’s really easy to make an ignorant comment like this when you’ve forgotten what the Honda tuning market was like before this product existed. You can call it a “slightly modified Honda ITR design” if you want, but the last I checked, it was still impossible to put an ITR manifold on a GS-R head without major work. Prior to the Skunk manifold, people with B18C and LS heads didn’t have manifold options. It was a ton of work to modify an ITR manifold so it would fit on a GS-R—work that most people and shops weren’t capable of in those days (it required heavy welding and machining). The market needed a better solution to the GS-R manifold so we gave it to them. Even though the innovation was primarily in the design of the flange, it was a significant innovation that solved a big problem nonetheless. We saw a need in the marketplace and we basically gambled a big chunk of the company’s resources on this one product. At the time, the tooling investment was $70,000, the lead time was about 12 months before we would see the first article, and another six months before we would be in full production. We crossed our fingers, hoping that nobody else would come up with anything like it during those tense 18 months of waiting. Nobody did, and the rest is history. The S2 manifold is a great example of how passionate and committed companies are willing to put themselves on the line and make investments for the sake of innovation.
Comment: Ground Control was making slip-fit coilover conversion kits long before Group-A/Skunk2 got its start.
Reply: And other companies were making kits before Ground Control. We do not claim to have invented the product, but Skunk definitely gets credit for unleashing the category. This was Skunk’s first product. At the time, the market wanted it, but Ground Control was selling it for almost $500, which was outrageous. Skunk embraced the sleeved coilover concept, came out with it’s own unique design, and brought it to market to the consumer for an initial price of $250, retail. We knew what enthusiasts wanted, and we delivered it to them at a tremendous value; this in and of itself can be considered innovative. Shortly after seeing the success of this product, the copycat trading companies came out with their knock-off Skunk coilovers.
Comment: Just because some of Skunk2’s suppliers/manufacturers became available to others in the industry doesn’t mean everyone owe it to “Skunk2 Technology” which it never owned in the first place.
Reply: We never said that anybody owed us anything nor have we ever claimed to own the things that you refer to as technology. It appears that your comments are rooted in insecurities (the need to make yourself feel better about your own failings and opportunism) or justification as to why its okay to be Like Skunk and copy our products.
In the end, Group-A/Skunk2’s existence has, is, and will always be defined by coming out with innovative products, offering good value to enthusiasts, and providing the best customer service it can. We thank all of our customers, past, present, and future for being patient and for understanding when we’ve made mistakes. We know we will never be all things to all people, but our goal is to continue developing the best products we know how to make, and to support customers and enthusiasts worldwide.
The reason I challenged him was because Dave was trying to paint this image of Skunk2 being the innovator – they were in some aspects, mainly in _production_, bringing relatively affordable (compare to JDM pricing) products to the masses. Skunk2 were dissing all the “copy cats”. For a company that got its start by knocking off lot of products, that’s total hypocrisy.
Another guy with wonderful stories to tell you guys would be OmniMan Steve R. (a close personal friend of mine). He was the chief mechanic and did quite a bit of development work for Skunk2 from ~1999-2003. When OmniMan arrived Skunk2 was only running about 12.5’s. By the time Steve left, into the 10’s. He was definitely KEY in Skunk2’s first rise in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Dave Hsu will tell you otherwise, but take my words…
N1 Concepts 2012 | AKMEE Engineering Est. 2004 | G.SPEED Racing Est. 1995
My Bizarre and Twisted Reality Blog is Back! https://ghettoracer.wordpress.com
- Retrospective: Skunk2′s trying to claim racing history but here’s the REAL DEAL (must read for Honda drag racing fans) (ghettoracer.wordpress.com)
- It less than 24 hours… this pictures says it all. I think it’s pretty much an EPIC FAIL on skunk2.com’s silly bounty hunt effort… 🙂 (ghettoracer.wordpress.com)