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    • The tuning world is unforgiving and rough, HPF closes its doors. R.I.P. Horsepower Freaks

      Sad, sad day indeed for the BMW community. The aftermarket tuning game is not an easy one. Especially when it comes to BMW's these days with ever increasing sophistication of their electronics and BMW doing everything in their power to prevent modification. Thankfully, there are some companies that simply do not give up and do what many say can't be done. For quite a while on the E46 M3 platform, HPF was forging ahead into territory nobody else was willing to tackle.


      The S54 engine in the BMW E46 M3 early on had a reputation of being made out of glass due to bearing failures. People said stock motors could not hold together let alone forced induction examples. This was quickly dispelled as the motor more and more often showed incredible gains with forced induction. HPF themselves pushed the motor to over 700 wheel on stock internals. Recently, people have been doing in the high 6XX wheel range on stock internals as if it no sweat.

      Basically, HPF helped pioneer the turbo market for the E46 M3. There are new options coming just now (over a decade after the car hit the market) which goes to show just how difficult it is to do this. HPF had options to turbo the E46 M3 when nobody else had options to turbo the E46 M3. They were the main game in town and deserve respect for it. But... even the mighty can fall and a single platform can not sustain anyone forever.

      Unfortunately an employee stole from HPF something over $200k (who knows what the real amount truly is and just how much he got away with) and unfortunately Chris made a poor choice with his new insurance company who only covered $25k in theft. The insurance company and HPF went to court and HPF lost. BimmerBoost is somewhat surprised a quarter million can sink a ship of this size but clearly there were other issues at play.

      Whether one wants to put the blame on the owner Chris or not it's hard to say what frivolous spending might have gone on. Chris did reach a high point in the BMW tuning market in the USA and nobody can take that away from him. Numerous magazine spreads, hundreds of turbo kits sold, and a household name on BMW forums. That deserves respect and is a level few can or will reach.

      Sustaining that is another thing entirely though. Busty young women don't come cheap. Dedicated drag cars for forum boasting aren't cheap. There is a reason rockstars tend to burn out fast. Is that what happened here? In retrospect it's easy to say this and that should have been done instead but Chris also did get somewhat of a second chance with a forum member investing cash into the company recently.

      Unfortunately, it seems that amount was not enough and now the doors are closed and people are laid off. What will happen to current orders? Members on this site are waiting for their parts. What will happen to the cars still there? Some have been removed, some remain. What will happen to Chris Bergermann? Is this it? Not going to be easy to climb back up after already being at the top of a platform for quite some time with little capital to work with and he certainly isn't getting younger.

      I for one want to thank HPF for their support. Chris was always kind to me, always supportive, and always wished me well. He always wanted me to succeed and I wasn't even a customer of his. To him I was just some random kid building a forum. I did an interview with Chris back in 2010: http://www.germanboost.com/content.php?426-BimmerBoost-Interview-with-Chris-Bergermann-Owner-of-Horsepower-Freaks

      I suggest any interested party take a look or listen to it (audio is posted). It shows how far HPF came in just 9 years at the time of the interview.

      I wish you well Chris, I wish all your employees well, and I hope you move on positively. It's a rough and cuthroat business. When you are on top, people just want to tear you down. It's easy for people to talk down sitting comfortably behind their monitor without realizing how many peoples lives this affects. Hopefully there is a learning lesson here that makes everyone stronger and hopefully nobody is going to bed hungry at night as a result of this. You'll land on your feet Chris. Good luck and thank you, from BimmerBoost.
      This article was originally published in forum thread: HorsePowerFreaks is apparently closing its doors started by folgrz View original post
      Comments 266 Comments
      1. LostMarine's Avatar
        LostMarine -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Mike@VAC Click here to enlarge
        I'm all about getting a good deal, but when it comes to my homes, my cars and my bikes I ALWAYS go with the highest skilled shop or vendor who has a reasonable price point. Not cheap, reasonable.
        I routinely forget this.. and end up spending 4 hrs to grind down brake calipers or other things costing me more in the long run........

        Well said Mike
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by cstavaru Click here to enlarge
        30k+ is their set price, not the true value of the kit. The true value is probably 10 times lower.
        Not including having to get the AEM, install, warranty, etc.

        I mean are you really comparing piggyback cost to full built motor S54 turbo setups?
      1. folgrz's Avatar
        folgrz -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Mike@VAC Click here to enlarge
        This a tough biz. A B2C operation in the performance game is LUCKY to make an average of 20% profit on sales. I've been in the industry since 01 (mostly B2B) so I can speak with some authority. In the euro car world there are very few businesses grossing over 5m. Do the math - there isn't a ton of $$$ flying around - esp if you invest in equipment, facility, products, inventory, good people etc.

        You have big shops with big overhead and skill (like VAC, Turner, BW etc) and others with little to no overhead (like drop shippers who do stuff on the side) so it's a pretty whacky marketplace. A lot of consumers expect big shop service/confidence/skill and little shop prices. 'Shops' come and go, more in the BMW market than any other I have ever seen - its pretty brutal really.

        Example A: I start doing walnut blast jobs on N54s for 499. Dealers around here charge $750-900. We were the first shop to use the factory tools (you wouldn't believe how some of these jobs were butchered by other shops), we use factory trained BMW techs with top skill, offer the everyday VAC 'warranty', offer real business hours, 3 AutoLogics, 25 employees to assist, 7 figures in equipment etc. Local 'shops' starts dropping prices and the new 'market price' for this job is $350 - pioneered by the part time 'shops'. In the last year those shops closed up. Is $499 an unfair retail price?

        Example B: I recently had a local dude price shop me on a 335i AR DP install. I quoted our typical price ($250) but he wanted it for $150 ($75/hour) I politely said 'can't do it, but I will try to get closer on price -who is offering the job for $150?" I SWEAR TO GOD - he says VS Motorsports offered it via PM. VS is (was) in IL, we and this consumer are in PA.

        This mentality makes it hard for all legit shops in this market to do well or even survive. I'm sure it didn't help HPF.

        I'm all about getting a good deal, but when it comes to my homes, my cars and my bikes I ALWAYS go with the highest skilled shop or vendor who has a reasonable price point. Not cheap, reasonable. I sometimes pay a premium if I want the best possible work. When I have my Toyota tuned, it will go the best tuner on the East Coast and I will gladly pay whatever he wants. Also, I would NEVER buy parts from 4 online vendors and then call around to get the cheapest install on parts that were bought elsewhere. Imagine buying roofing material and asking for a 'best price installed'?

        Sorry for the rant, but now that some real numbers are out there people may realize that no one is getting rich in the BMW B2C game. I'm not complaining or looking for sympathy BTW, just calling it as it is. Vinny Ten released an interesting video (which was a bit whiny/overdone) but he is generally spot on. (I generally disagree with his age comments tho as my master at VAC is in his 20s and he knows more and has done more than just about any tech I have ever met)

        http://www.thatvideomagazine.com/new...nny-ten-racing
        I agree with everything you said, except for the Vinny Ten part.

        I won't go into reasons why in this thread, but I am friends with so many people that will never go back there. That guy is the last person on earth that should be giving out business advice.
      1. HPF 335i's Avatar
        HPF 335i -
        Ask me anything you want...
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by HPF 335i Click here to enlarge
        Ask me anything you want...
        Is anyone going to challenge the Miami Heat this year or is a back to back championship unstoppable?
      1. HPF 335i's Avatar
        HPF 335i -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Is anyone going to challenge the Miami Heat this year or is a back to back championship unstoppable?
        Heat to the finish, Next question...
      1. HPF 335i's Avatar
        HPF 335i -
        Im going to Jag Office. Ill be back in a bit.

        But just real quick...

        1. Yes im deployed right now
        2. No i didnt have to pay for shipping (ever)
        3. there is a $#@! ton to this story and ive been jacked around for the last 3.7 years looking for an exit/results. its not as easy as you might ponder.
        4. No i dont have my car its locked up in the shop and i cant get to it...
        5. ill be back in 2 hrs or so. Click here to enlarge
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by HPF 335i Click here to enlarge
        Im going to Jag Office. Ill be back in a bit.

        But just real quick...

        1. Yes im deployed right now
        2. No i didnt have to pay for shipping (ever)
        3. there is a $#@! ton to this story and ive been jacked around for the last 3.7 years looking for an exit/results. its not as easy as you might ponder.
        4. No i dont have my car its locked up in the shop and i cant get to it...
        5. ill be back in 2 hrs or so. Click here to enlarge
        Sorry to hear man I can kind of relate.

        You can't get to your car? No shipping arranged? $#@! man... I feel for you.
      1. bobS's Avatar
        bobS -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by HPF 335i Click here to enlarge
        Im going to Jag Office. Ill be back in a bit.

        But just real quick...

        1. Yes im deployed right now
        2. No i didnt have to pay for shipping (ever)
        3. there is a $#@! ton to this story and ive been jacked around for the last 3.7 years looking for an exit/results. its not as easy as you might ponder.
        4. No i dont have my car its locked up in the shop and i cant get to it...
        5. ill be back in 2 hrs or so. Click here to enlarge
        Wow what a nightmare, I'd put it back to stock and sell it at this point. Once you get it back of course.
      1. LostMarine's Avatar
        LostMarine -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by HPF 335i Click here to enlarge
        Im going to Jag Office. Ill be back in a bit.
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by HPF 335i Click here to enlarge

        But just real quick...

        1. Yes im deployed right now
        2. No i didnt have to pay for shipping (ever)
        3. there is a $#@! ton to this story and ive been jacked around for the last 3.7 years looking for an exit/results. its not as easy as you might ponder.
        4. No i dont have my car its locked up in the shop and i cant get to it...
        5. ill be back in 2 hrs or so. Click here to enlarge


        interesting, please elaborate when you get a chance
      1. Mike@VAC's Avatar
        Mike@VAC -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by folgrz Click here to enlarge
        I agree with everything you said, except for the Vinny Ten part.

        I won't go into reasons why in this thread, but I am friends with so many people that will never go back there. That guy is the last person on earth that should be giving out business advice.
        Whether he is good or not does not matter to me - his point generally stands. I see your point tho, if he is really a turd it's hard to be taken seriously. The only thing I know about him is that he was a pioneer of import drag racing and built the fastest cars for a while. Things can change
      1. bmw335iguy's Avatar
        bmw335iguy -
        I don't understand why Chris didnt park all the customer cars outside of the shop the morning or day before the court case. Hindsight is 20/20 but it would have avoided the incoming $#@! storm. I wish everyone a speedy resolution in getting their car back, I'm sure hpf335i#1 isn't the only one whose car is being held hostage.
      1. AlexQuattro's Avatar
        AlexQuattro -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by bmw335iguy Click here to enlarge
        I don't understand why Chris didnt park all the customer cars outside of the shop the morning or day before the court case. Hindsight is 20/20 but it would have avoided the incoming $#@! storm. I wish everyone a speedy resolution in getting their car back, I'm sure hpf335i#1 isn't the only one whose car is being held hostage.
        He must have been convinced he would win in court and decided not to bother parking the cars outside ''just in case''.
      1. folgrz's Avatar
        folgrz -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Mike@VAC Click here to enlarge
        Whether he is good or not does not matter to me - his point generally stands. I see your point tho, if he is really a turd it's hard to be taken seriously. The only thing I know about him is that he was a pioneer of import drag racing and built the fastest cars for a while. Things can change
        I agree, you can't take his records away from him, he was great at what he did a kudos. But like you said, it's VERY HARD to take him seriously when I've seen him screw a ton of my friends over... I'm glad I'm out of the nissan tuner world sheesh
      1. HPF 335i's Avatar
        HPF 335i -
        Car "Should" be free in the AM... Both the building manager and Chris's attorneys are explaining to the Manager that he cant keep customers cars locked up. Chris was told to make a list of all property that does not belong to him, VIN's en such. Everyone who has cars and parts in there should be getting a call in the AM.

        Shall see...
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by HPF 335i Click here to enlarge
        Car "Should" be free in the AM... Both the building manager and Chris's attorneys are explaining to the Manager that he cant keep customers cars locked up. Chris was told to make a list of all property that does not belong to him, VIN's en such. Everyone who has cars and parts in there should be getting a call in the AM.

        Shall see...
        Good, hope you get your car back smoothly.

        Honestly, I wish we could get vendors to just do any work for you at cost to get you up and running after what you have been through and considering your service for the country.
      1. 0-60Motorsports's Avatar
        0-60Motorsports -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Good, hope you get your car back smoothly.

        Honestly, I wish we could get vendors to just do any work for you at cost to get you up and running after what you have been through and considering your service for the country.
        Agreed!
      1. HPF 335i's Avatar
        HPF 335i -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Good, hope you get your car back smoothly.

        Honestly, I wish we could get vendors to just do any work for you at cost to get you up and running after what you have been through and considering your service for the country.
        Me too man... My car has front end damage that is hard to look at. most cant tell. its its bad if you look. That was supposed to get fixed as part of my incentive of "sticking around" Same for the transmission. I was supposed to get a build trans after year Two as a thank you for sticking it out. A lot more actually. Window trim, hood and trunk paint. No intake mani either. the ONLY good thing out of this, is that my car only has 27,XXX miles on it.

        Also everything is brand new. Coils, Plugs, Injectors, pumps, DME... Click here to enlarge

        I dont want to sound like a winy $#@!... but i supported them for 3.7 years on a 12 month build promiss.
      1. HPF 335i's Avatar
        HPF 335i -
        But i have to be real too and say that, all of the mods on my car were installed for free, at least...
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by HPF 335i Click here to enlarge
        I dont want to sound like a winy $#@!... but i supported them for 3.7 years on a 12 month build promiss.
        It's getting harder and harder to find quality shops to trust. I'm at just about 3 years too on my build... but at least my tuner is still around and got it done.

        Sorry to hear, you don't sound like a whiny $#@!. You were more than patient, what else could anyone ask of you?