My Life at Speed is excited to introduce a new segment featuring your local shop! “5 Minutes With …” now highlights your local motorsports and tuning shops. If you have a favorite shop, send an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kicking off the segment, My Life at Speed visited 425 Motorsports in Bellevue, Washington. 425 Motorsports has grown over the last three years as a retail store, project management, and manufacturing business with 15-20 sponsored race drivers.
Family is key for this shop. Brothers Dan and Jeff, along with sisters Jennifer (Dan’s wife) and Jaclyn started 425 Motorsports in 2010 after various reasons left them between jobs. Jeff came from the real estate business while Dan’s background was at a shop that restored cars, built race cars, and sold race equipment.
Instead of sitting around a table, we sat in racing seats in the 425 Motorsports showroom and got to know the family that started this company. Everyone plays an integral part to the success of the shop, and you could feel the energy in the room as they talked about the past and future of 425 Motorsports. Seeing cars driving around town with 425 Motorsports decals help make the family realize they have accomplished something.
ML@S: How did 425 Motorsports come about?
Dan: We all had jobs, and two of us were in motorsports…that company just started to diminish with the economy and we found ourselves unemployed – took about a year to figure out what to do. Bottom line, when we started we were unemployed. What are we going to do? What do we want to do? We started hunting around, put in a million different resumes at different places, trying to figure out where we were going to go. The economy was horrible, trying to find a job was impossible, and so I started working on this little business plan.
Jen: We’ve worked together before – Dan and Jeff have always tinkered on cars and worked on cars together growing up. Jackie is so artistic, and I went to school for marketing, so we thought maybe we can come together and make this happen.
ML@S: If you could have one car – any car at all – to be your daily driver, what would it be? (We love this question because it tells a lot about someone by their choice!)
Dan: 1955 Porsche Speedster
Jeff: Volkswagen Double Cab (He recently acquired one that needs some love – but we can’t wait to see it when it’s all done!)
Jennifer: Vintage Mercedes convertible complete with big sunglasses and a scarf flowing in the wind.
Jaclyn: Vintage pickup truck
ML@S: Did you (Dan and Jeff) race together?
Dan: No, actually none of us are really racers. I found myself in the industry right after college in a shop similar to this where we restored cars, built race cars, and sold race equipment. Got really involved with it, and took over as general manger of the company. So it just became our lives – we’re at the tracks every weekend and following every race and had a lot of fun with it. Honestly I have never had a chance to race; we’ve built some track cars and done a little bit of track – we don’t have the time to (1) support our own car or (2) go out there and race it, so we live vicariously through our clients. Now we have some clients going racing every weekend, so it’s pretty exciting to be involved with that.
ML@S: Describe your client base – is there a pretty distinct separation between the racing base and the enthusiast?
Jeff: I see a lot of crossover. One of the things we sell a ton of is seats. You need a race seat if you’re racing, but a lot of people want them for street driving – just for the look. They want to look like they have a race car but they don’t want to actually go racing, so you see performance parts like that aren’t necessarily purchased for performance, just used for look or show. Then you have the drifters who are sort of in-between. Most race cars are promoting themselves or brands on the car, but for the drifters it’s extreme. Each car has its own personality – the more it stands out the better – so they are creating something totally different and that is very cool.
Where does 425 Motorsports see themselves going in the future? They have already accomplished the retail store and project management, but they are ready to expand into the full shop, under one roof. Retail, wholesale, manufacturing, and a shop with a window so you can see the cars being worked on from the showroom – “For the driver in all of us.”
Walking in, I felt a bit of an intimidation factor that you needed a “nice” or “expensive” car for 425 to take you seriously, but that notion was quickly disbanded. “If you have a passion for your car, we have a passion for you,” Dan mentioned. That was the reason they did not decide to be an Audi, Porsche, or Ferrari specialist shop, but rather a place where you can make your car an extension of who you are no matter what you drive.
Check out 425 Motorsports at www.425motorsports.com or stop by their showroom if you are in the Seattle area! You can also follow the 425 Motorsports sponsored drivers on their blog at www.425motorsports.com/