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Question of the Week: Which automotive tuner is your favorite?

Automobile manufactures can be limited in their ability to really maximize the performance of their vehicles to suit the needs of a niche market of enthusiasts. That is where the aftermarket tuners step in. Names like Shelby and Yenko are familiar names for hardcore car folks, and sometimes the modified cars end up being more desirable than anything that came from the factory.


The badging on this Camaro makes sure you know who tuned it. (Photo Hagerty)

They weren’t the only two though. Nicky Chevrolet and Royal Pontiac were both dealers who used the same formula of leveraging a relationship with a manufacturer to produce the strongest muscle cars on the street and track by dropping in larger engines than the manufacturer intended or tuning the available engines to tire scalding power levels.

Obviously there are more tuners out there that fans know and love. We want you to sound off and tell us who your favorites are. New or classic, what shop took the factory effort and gave it that extra oomph it needed? Let us know below.

Hard to pick just one. As a Pontiac nut, I really like SLP and Royal Pontiac. For their overall insaneness, I like AMG, especially their stuff when they were still an independent shop.

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The Japanese tuning houses of the 90s and 2000s put out some ludicrous creations. The JUN Z32 300zx and the TopSecret V12 Supra both come to mind.

Motion performance hands down !!

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Dick Harrell “Mr. Chevrolet”. Of course I am slightly biased as my Dad built hi-performance radiators for Dick’s 427 swaps and in exchange for a good price, Dick would offer my Uncle (driver) and Dad (mechanic) free drag racing advice. It must have worked because my uncle owned his class record from from 1970 to the late 1980’s.

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I’m going to throw a curve - BMW M; as in Motorsport. I had a 73 3.0 CSL that I restored, the first M car. Five major championships and an overall win at Sebring. the CSL was the first in the long line of M cars. Initiated by my fav car guy Bob Lutz (when he was President of BMW, also brought out the 2002 Turbo)

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While I love Yenko, Nicky, and Baldwin-Motion, as the owner of a Firehawk, I have to go with SLP.

Definitely Mr. Shelby. His visions live on to this day. Plus he did a lot of charity work.

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I still drive my '79 Mecham Pontiac Macho T/A AND it goes around corners, not just straight lines…

Was a big fan of Berger Chevys. Saw a '69 Camero Double COPO for sale at $250,000+ recently, so others must like them too.

Obviously Carroll Shelby! He raced his cars and won so many races and championships, set records from Daytona to LeMans :Pomona to Bonneville! He produced enough cars for them to be attainable (at least in the day) for someone who desired them greatly, but rare enough that they were always special. Who else on this list has autos that are now valued in the millions? His band of California hot rodders took on the world and won! Everyone else were just wannabees.

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Mugen because the company not only specialized in Honda Cars but also dirt bike and three wheeler tuning and hop up parts.

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Frankly, I don’t understand the current value of some of the “old time” tuner cars, such as Yenko. If “Bob” and I did the very same thing in our garage at the time (With the same racing success), it’d be considered a car of diminished value and bashed at the show or auction now.

As the past owner of a “real” 69 Yenko Camaro for about 28 years, guess which has my vote?

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Baldwin-Motion for sure.

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So much depends on your taste and the cars they worked on but with that said, Dave Kindig from Kindigit in Utah rings my bell. He makes me like cars I did’nt even know I liked.

Being a New Yorker I may be slightly prejudiced but I have to go with motion performance for Chevys, nunzies for Pontiac and speedwin for mopar… Those were the days…

Mr. Norm’s Grand Spaulding Dodge! Formerly located on the corner of North Spaulding & Grand Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.

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Hodges Dodges, back in the day

I have to go with the Radical 80’s tuners. Koenig Specials in particular
https://mindovermotor.com/2018/10/22/1987-mercedes-560-sel-koenig-specials-the-raddest-in-show-at-radwood-philly/

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