Presented by Centric Parts and its StopTech performance and racing division

November 13, 2012

Centric Returns From AAPEX/SEMA with Several Honors

This year's SEMA and AAPEX shows may be over, but the Centric Parts team is still celebrating our 2012 participation. Not only did these shows give us a chance to meet with customers - old and new - and to show off our latest products and catalogs, but the shows were also very memorable for other reasons too.

During the Auto International Association (AIA) Import Products Awards ceremony held at the Sands Convention Center, Centric's President Dan Lelchuk accepted two awards on behalf of the company. The 2013 Brake Systems Catalog was deemed the best of the bunch, and the new Posi Quiet with Hardware line took the overall highest honor in being named Best Product. Centric was the only company present to claim wins in two categories this year. 

Over at the Las Vegas Convention Center, StopTech and Power Slot were well represented, mounted on a dozen or more high profile show cars this year. One of them even won a top award at SEMA. A StopTech supported project earned the Gran Turismo Award for Best Truck or SUV.

The project was a very special Toyota Sequoia made over into a family dragster by the team of newly crowned NHRA Top Fuel Champion Antron Brown. Brown was competing against three other Toyota sponsored racers in the Toyota Racing Dream Build Challenge. His 650-hp, five-seat 'DragQuoia' was the favorite of video game creator Kazunori Yamauchi, who will feature the creation in an upcoming edition of the Gran Turismo game series. The DragQuoia was also chosen in several top ten SEMA show car lists by major publications like Car and Driver and Motor Trend.

In addition, the StopTech/Power Slot booth featured one of only three brand new 2013 SRT Vipers at the show. The one in our booth (top) was a black GTS model with the optional Track Package, featuring StopTech AeroRotors as an upgrade to the standard discs fitted to lesser models. The car received a ton of attention from attendees and the media, as it should. This newly updated version of the iconic American super car features an 8.4-liter V10 producing 640 hp and 600 ft-lbs of torque. With a price starting at just under $100,000, it is actually quite a bargain too, competing head to head with Porsches and Ferraris costing up to three times as much.

Another award that came in just before our trip to Las Vegas was the Toyota Quality Alliance Gold Supplier Award - a huge honor. The Gold Supplier Award is presented to top Toyota parts and accessories suppliers who have consistently demonstrated their commitment to product development, product quality, operational quality and product support. As a long-standing technical partner with Toyota, Centric products have shown up on several Toyota, Lexus and Scion models, including the newest Scion FR-S sports car that features a StopTech Trophy Race Big Brake Kit on its World Challenge GTS race car.

In fact, StopTech BBKs were found on several versions of this hot new sports car - from tuners like Perrin, AEM, Hotchkis, Injen, DC Sports, Outperformance, Five Axis, Forgestar, Rocket Bunny, and more. In addition, we saw StopTechs on Mustangs, BMWs, Audis, Porsches, Camaros, Hyundais, Acuras, Subarus and others.

One of our favorite StopTech moments this year came when internet automotive personality Matt Farah of The Smoking Tire and other shows, chose a StopTech Trophy kit as the brake component for his dream SEMA build, where he scoured the millions of convention hall square feet to find his overall favorite engine, suspension, supercharger, wheels, tires…and brakes. With every brake company represented at the show, that was quite an honor. 

October 24, 2012

Prepping for AAPEX and SEMA 2012

October is always a really busy time here at Centric Parts. With the biggest aftermarket shows of the year coming at the end of the month in Las Vegas, the whole team is energized to get everything in order for AAPEX and SEMA, two different shows with distinct flavors.

Both shows are important for us. AAPEX is where we will be discussing our full line of replacement brake and clutch components, including our complete range of brake pads from OE and PosiQuiet to Fleet and Street Performance. It's also where we have been honored for our contributions to the  industry on many occasions, and we hope to add to that list of honors this year when the AAIA announces their import products of the year.

SEMA gives us a chance to show off our high performance and racing offerings, including our BBKs, Sport Kits and our new fluid line, as well as letting people see how our new racing friction will allow us to start offering complete racing system solutions for a variety of different racing disciplines. We'll have products on display as well as mounted on several high profile customer cars scattered throughout the Las Vegas Convention Center.

This year we will be on several notable show cars, including a few manufacturer entries. In fact, the StopTech booth will be featuring a pretty exciting new model from a major manufacturer - one which features StopTech brakes as part of the factory's ultimate brake upgrade for the car. It's a car we are very proud of and one that we think will generate a lot of traffic in our booth.

We'll also be conspicuously present on a few other hot new cars that are winning tons of magazine covers and earning a lot of praise from the automotive world. Think small and light, as well as small and powerful and BIG and powerful.

We plan to cover both shows in our social media over the course of the week, with photos, posts and tweets flying out of both locations daily. If you haven't subscribed to our YouTube channel, liked us on Facebook or followed us on Twitter yet, you're missing out. Be sure to do so before next Tuesday when the shows open and thousands of show cars are unveiled. We'll be your eyes and ears throughout it all so stay tuned.

And if you happen to be at the shows this year, please stop by and say hello. Our AAPEX booth number is 8805 this year and StopTech will be in booth 23057 at SEMA.

October 2, 2012

Ultra Rare Porsche takes on the Historics with Centric's Help

A few months ago, we were approached by Jim Ansite, a well-known Porsche restorer in Southern California, to see if we could help with a little problem. It seems Jim was having trouble sourcing brake lines for a project he was working on. And no wonder, as the car in his care was a super rare 1959 Porsche 718/2 RSK Spyder (right), one of only four built with a central driving position.

It was an unusual request but not an uncommon one, as Centric constantly gets this type of call. After just three days, the 718 was wearing a custom set of braided stainless steel lines, researched and made by two of Centric's resident Porsche fanatics, Graem Elliott and Robbie Pyle.

The 1959 Porsche 718/2 RSK Spyder was an evolution of the 550 Spyder, but was considered Porsche's first purpose built race car. The central driving position allowed it to be campaigned as either a sports car or a single seater.

Flash forward to August and the Monterey peninsula was crawling with hundreds of collectible cars almost as rare as this special Porsche. It was Monterey Classic Car Week and the whole area was playing host to concours vehicles, newer exotics and vintage race cars. The Porsche showed up at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion held each year at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. We caught up with Ansite and the Porsche and discovered that Jim had another unique vehicle in his care that week as well.

The "Not Dead Yet Racing" team also had a special 550 (above left) in their stall. This special Porsche was a survivor, with a beat up body that told tales of its long racing history. After passing through a succession of owners ill-equipped to master this car's potential, the 550 was purchased by the current owner. It had battle scars and modifications earned over 50 plus years of track duty.

The car has an alloy body and dozens of "lightening holes" (below) where every extra ounce of weight was removed to improve performance. One of the areas that wasn't drilled, thankfully, was the brake lines. They did need to be replaced however. Knowing that Centric had helped out with the brake lines for the 718, Ansite once again called on the team to help with lines for this special 550 - and Centric once again met the challenge.

Classic cars aren't the usual application for StopTech high performance brake components, but it was nice to be represented at one of the most prestigious historic racing events in the world by a very special pair of Porsches.

September 25, 2012

Space Shuttle Endeavor Flies Over Centric on its Final Mission

For those of you outside the Los Angeles area, you might not be aware that the recently mothballed space shuttle program has produced quite a stir locally. You see, the retired spacecraft that made up the program are being moved to permanent homes at various museums around the country, and one of them is finding a final home right here in Southern California. Space Shuttle Endeavour was ferried out to California last week and will take up permanent residence at the California Science Center (CSC) in Exposition Park.

The physical act of bringing a spacecraft that large to a museum in the heart of an urban area is pretty complex, as you might imagine. Early on Saturday (Sept. 22), the shuttle was hoisted by cranes off the modified Boeing 747 jumbo jet that flew it to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) the day before. The shuttle was escorted by a pair of military fighter jets as it passed directly over our Carson facility on Friday.

Most of us were fortunate enough to see Endeavour's fly-by and tens of thousands more enthusiastic Californians were at LAX to witness the touchdown. Millions were said to have witnessed the flyover tour of the state that preceded it, as the shuttle left Edwards Air Force Base and paid tribute to the various California facilities that contributed to the program over the years.

According to, to prepare Endeavour for its upcoming 12-mile parade through the city streets of Inglewood and Los Angeles next month, technicians will remove the aerodynamic tail cone that was added for its ferry flight from Florida, reposition the shuttle's replica main engines from their tucked-for-flight orientation and install nozzles on the orbiter's maneuvering system pods. They'll also enter Endeavour's crew cabin to configure it for the science center's curators and retrieve from inside thousands of embroidered patches that were flown on Endeavour for the ferry flight at the center's request.

On Oct. 12, Endeavour will leave its temporary home in an LAX hangar, and proceed through the streets of Inglewood, past Inglewood City Hall to the California Science Center at Exposition Park. Along the route, Endeavour will be the guest of honor at a moving party that will include a musical dance and aerial performance choreographed by famed actress Debbie Allen.

At the CSC, the shuttle will temporarily be exhibited atop the transporter in the Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion, a large hangar that was recently built beside the center's main building. Ultimately, the CSC plans to recreate Endeavor's launch pad, and position the craft as though it were ready for another mission, complete with twin boosters and external fuel tank. Be sure to check it out if you are ever in the Los Angeles area.

September 21, 2012

Another Story of Centric Customer Enthusiasm

One of our outside salespeople just shared another story of Centric customer enthusiasm we wanted to share with all of you as well. Cost Less Auto Parts is a Centric customer with two stores in Vancouver, Washington. They are probably one of - if not the - busiest retail auto parts stores in the Northwest. Customers must take a number when they walk in if they want to be waited on by one of the 15 or so countermen.

The business was originally established about 30 years ago by Dave Alderson. Pat Hortsch has been at the helm for the past ten years, growing the business and adding a second location a few years later.

The cool part is that these guys love Centric Parts. When they made a sign for their front display (top), they prominently featured Centric's PosiQuiet pads. Even better, when they added new graphics to their van, they once again used a huge image of PosiQuiet pads on the sides. We love that kind of enthusiasm for Centric! Thanks for the support!

September 10, 2012

Centric Helps Museum with Bond Car Brake Needs

Like the Bizzarrini we helped out in our last blog post, today's featured car is pretty unique. Its shape would likely be recognizable to enthusiasts of sports cars, classic Japanese cars or James Bond films, but more about that later. The parts you see above may look like radiator caps at first glance, but anyone who has worked on older brakes from the ‘50s and ‘60s will likely recognize these as early Dunlop hydraulic brake caliper components.

Before opposed piston calipers evolved into the one or two piece blocks we think of today, there were hydraulic calipers like those pictured at left, which used a central bridge along with "caliper pods" - like those pictured above - controlling the pistons on the inside and out. People sometimes refer to those pods as wheel or slave cylinders, and they existed before the term "caliper" was used to describe the part of the hydraulic brake system that gripped the brake disc.

This was originally a Dunlop design that was licensed for this particular application by Sumitomo. It's an interesting design that is making something of a comeback among certain vehicles, where the bridge is now made of iron and the cylinders and pistons are made of aluminum. 

Eventually these types of calipers morphed into hybrids where one side was formed together with the bridge and the other was still a separate piece like those seen at right. The final evolution saw both sides of the caliper body being cast as outer and inner halves on two-piece calipers, or as one single block in the case of monobloc calipers. Of course, StopTech went the extra step of adding a patented bolt-in stiffening bridge that made two-piece calipers as strong as some monoblocs, and developed titanium nosed pistons to deal with extreme heat encountered in racing, but back to our featured car.

It was considered by many to be the first Japanese supercar and made its big screen debut in the James Bond film, You Only Live Twice. Because star Sean Connery was too tall to fit comfortably inside the slinky coupe, the producers worked with the manufacturer and built a pair of convertibles. The "convertibles" actually had no top, just a fabric bundle at the rear to simulate one, and never saw production.

The car itself was something of a revolution, allowing people to see Japan as capable of building world-class sports cars for the first time. The chassis was copied from the great-handling Lotus Elan and the engine was a 2.0-liter straight-6 plucked from the company’s top-of-the-line sedan. It was transformed by Yamaha with new double overhead camshaft heads that helped turn it into a genuine 150-hp sports car engine. The car was capable of reaching 135 mph and could still get 31 mpg.

By now you may have guessed that we are talking about the Toyota 2000GT. Only 351 regular production 2000GTs were built between 1966 and 1970, all actually built by Yamaha for Toyota. About 60 cars reached America, mostly painted either red or white. In the U.S. the 2000GT sold for about $6,800, which was much more than contemporary Porsches and Jaguars. They were more concept cars, though, and served as a demonstration of ability for Toyota.

The 2000GT that Centric was asked to help with actually turned out to be three cars – one convertible and two coupes, one of which used to belong to the model/actress Twiggy (below left). All of these reside at the Toyota Museum in Torrance, California, just down the road from Centric.

Although the Lexus LFA is probably the closest current offering in the Toyota family in terms of supercar status, the Toyota 2000GT is actually closer to the new Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ in size and performance. Both are lightweight rear-drive coupes that are quick and handle well, although the newer models have a back seat and a definite performance advantage. Thankfully, Centric has the Toyota 2000GT covered for brakes, and StopTech has Sport Kits and Big Brake Kits that can more than handle the Scion and Subaru sportscars’ braking needs.

The Toyota 2000GT remains one of the most collectible Japanese cars of all time, one recently selling for a whopping $627,000 at the Gooding & Co. Pebble Beach auction in August. It's a fun piece of history that we are are proud to be associated with. Next time we'll take a look at a special Porsche that also needed some attention from Centric before hitting the track at Laguna Seca for the 2012 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion.

August 24, 2012

When "Hybrid" Had a Different Meaning

Do you recognize these parts? If you do, you're probably a classic car owner or restorer - or you might work for Centric Parts. Shown above are a brake caliper and pistons, the body of the caliper being made of magnesium. It is one of the lightest calipers you'll ever likely hold, and also one of the rarest.

The caliper was sent to Centric to see if we have a seal for it. Centric Parts' tech department gets all kinds of special requests like this one. Sometimes they involve unique operation or installation challenges and sometimes they involve rare components from rare applications. No challenge is too great.

The car that these came from is an Italian bodied sports car from 1967. The heart of this exotic machine is a little less exotic but no less impressive, a thumpin' American V8 plucked from a Chevy Corvette. Besides providing more than 300 horsepower to the rear wheels, this 5.3 liter engine actually contributed something to the car's name as well.

While it might seem odd today, these Italian-American "hybrids" were somewhat common in the 1960s. There were hybrids from Iso, De Tomaso, Dual-Ghia and others, that could be bought in the U.S. With exotic Italian styling, some used Ford engines, others used Hemis and still others used Corvette motors, like our featured car.

This car was based on the Iso Rivolta 300 chassis, and was designed and built by a short-lived pairing of Italian car builders, including Giotto Bizzarrini, Giorgetto Giugiaro and Renzo Rivolta. It had a welded sheet steel tub and a fully independent double wishbone suspension in the front and a De Dion axle in the rear.

The Chevrolet V8 was chosen because it was ample in power, cheap to purchase and maintain, simple to tune and best of it all, it would run reliably all day and all night. After moderate tuning, the engine provided 365 bhp, which helped keep the car well ahead of one of its main competitors, the Ferrari 275 GTB.

Like a race-car, the interior space seemed planned as an afterthought. Both the speedo and tach were located centrally with temperature and oil pressure gauges in front of the driver. Furthermore, very little insulation was provided to stop heat and noise from reaching the occupants.

You might have guessed by now, but the car we are talking about is the Bizzarrini 5300GT Stradale. It weighed around 2,600 pounds and cost around $10,000 when new. The Corvette engine helped get it from 0-60 in 6.3 seconds, through the quarter mile in 14.6, and on to a top speed around 145 mph.

Just 115 examples of this car were built in total from 1966-1969 when the company folded. The first 25 or so were actually sold as Isos, but once the group split, Bizzarrini took over production himself and the car stayed mainly the same.

It's fun to be a part of a team that gets to work on such rare and exotic vehicles from time to time. We actually have another one we're working on right now that comes from Japan. But that story will have to wait for another time.

July 30, 2012

What do all those brake terms mean?

Centric Parts just updated our glossary of braking terms, which defines dozens of terms that you may encounter when talking about brake components, systems, operation, installation, upgrades and more. The newest version of the glossary is available today on our website, under the tech support tab at the top. The glossary is posted online and also available for download as a pdf, in English or Spanish.

"The Glossary is the most complete documentation of its kind available anywhere and features detailed explanations of braking systems, components, processes, testing protocols and more," according to Centric President Dan Lelchuk. "The Glossary is a great educational tool and should be on the required reading list for counter people, sales people and technicians."

At Centric, we pride ourselves on being not only a great brake supplier and manufacturer, but also one of the best educators about brakes, providing our customers with not only the glossary, but also an extensive list of technical white papers, technical guides, wheel fitment charts and more on our website. In addition, we have a tech support line that has handled tens of thousands of calls in the past several years - most about our products, but many about competitors' products as well.

Not only that, but Centric also contributes our expertise for magazine articles, web posts, TV shows, radio programs and more on a regular basis, to teach the public about proper brake operation and safety. This all works to help us achieve our goal of helping people better understand their brakes so they can make better, more informed decisions about one of the most important systems on their cars.

July 2, 2012

Now That's Dedication

Here's a great illustration of true dedication from a member of the extended Centric Parts family. Robert Geist, a member of the sales force at Parts Authority in Phoenix just got in touch to share the news that he had recently received his new personalized license plates. The new Arizona plate proudly reads, "Centric."

How cool is it to work for a company that makes distributors want to advertise your name on their personalized license plate? We see this kind of dedication from our employees and sales force in many different ways, but this being a distributor, we were truly humbled and we had to share.

Apparently Robert has been a longtime believer in Centric and its products, being known to wear a Centric cap wherever he goes. The new license plate really shows how deep-seated his dedication is. It's flattering, but not really surprising, to see this level of enthusiasm for Centric Parts products. Once they've tried Centric, it's hard to get people to switch to anything else!

May 30, 2012

Centric-Sponsored Challenger Project Supports Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charity

2011 WD-40 Dodge Challenger SRT/8 392 HEMI
100% of Purchase Price Goes to Charity!

Towards the end of 2011, Centric Parts® was approached by Legendary Motorcar Company (LMC) of Dream Car Garage fame. They had been commissioned by the makers of WD-40 to help customize a car that would eventually be sold to support an important charity, the Canadian Tire Jumpstart program. Our response: “Just tell us what you need.”

The idea was to take a new 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT/8 - with the new 392 HEMI engine - and add some retro cosmetic pieces to give it the vintage Challenger T/A look with lots of modern day performance.

We contributed some big StopTech® brakes for better braking performance. They really look great behind those Pirelli P-Zero-wrapped Forgeline wheels that should give a lot of extra grip. Eibach lowering springs with matching dampers from Koni were also added to give handling a boost.

The look of the Challenger, which was one of the rare inaugural edition models, was updated with Matte black hood and T/A hood scoop from Cervinis, Stainless Works side-exit cat-back exhaust, fully polished custom paintwork from LMC, custom striping with some special details, a removable trim package and custom embroidered WD-40 headrests.

With the excellent Challenger foundation as a starting point, this makes for a very impressive car.

The build is being featured on Dream Car Garage, and the car is for sale now through Legendary Motorcar – when it isn’t being shown off at major auto shows. Best of all, 100% of the sale price will go to support the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Program, which has helped more than 100,000 kids in financial need participate in organized sports or recreation programs. 

So give LMC a call and make them a generous offer. The money goes to a great cause and you’ll end up with one very special Challenger. | 905-875-4700