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What finally got you out of racing and into full time engine building

Kaase: Well we finally wrecked our (Pro Stock)  car and we were kind of done racing as a team and it’s kind of funny how that worked out. I went out to California to the SEMA show when it used to be in Anaheim at the convention center. This guy Mike Valerio, we were going to build a race car together, I went out there with him to help display his company which was Competition Engineering and is now Moroso.

So we went out there to the show and I ended up just staying in California at Nicholson’s house. We all kind of just knew each other and he needed a crew chief and I was pretty much done with college and I was from Ohio where it was snowing and the weather was terrible and I was enamored with California. So I went to work for Dyno for three years and just kind of lived with him and we raced and did pretty good together.

What eventually ended your time with him?

Kaase: I got married. I met my wife, Linda, at Englishtown, she’s a New Jersey girl, and we got married at the end of ’78, and I stayed working for Dyno in ’79, but the fun was kind of over with the traveling and stuff, so I stayed in Atlanta and started my own engine business.

Atlanta? I thought you were in California.

Kaase: Yeah, we were, but when he started match racing those ’62 Chevys, Nicholson moved to Atlanta and worked downtown at a Chevy dealer, because this is where all the match racing was, on the East Coast. California had maybe one race a year, but the rest of the time there wasn’t much happening. So he had a house in California and one in Atlanta and we spent probably nine months out of the year here and I liked Atlanta, my wife liked it here, so we just decided to stay and I started my own business.

I’ve been in a few places now. I started in Norcross (an Atlanta suburb) and then I rented more space in Norcross for a couple of eight-year stints in different buildings and we built our current shop in ’98, so we’ve been here nearly 12 years.

How big is this building?

Kaase: Eight-thousand square feet and it’s getting smaller—because we’re starting to make things. See, up until about two years ago we just built Pro Stock drag racing engines. Well, we did build a few other engines on the side; we did some drag boat stuff and some stock car motors, but not that much.

Then we started a deal where we were building cylinder heads, we have a guy who does some machine work on them in California, they’re cast out there, and then they come here and we do the finishing work on them, they have our name on them.

Then we started this other deal with the Boss Hemi stuff and that’s completely our own project; we own the patterns, we did all the design work and had the patterns made, we have to get the castings cast and then we machine them, but the manifolds and the valve covers we make them here out of raw castings.

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