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HISTORY

NEUSPEED's HISTORY

NEUSPEED® is the most committed Total Car Tuning company in the Audi and Volkswagen aftermarket.

Before the latest model cars go on sale in the U.S., NEUSPEED® imports non USA certified cars up to a year in advance to research, test, and develop suspension, performance and appearance parts. NEUSPEED® is known as the specialist in Total Car Performance.

We are the best in our field because we specialize in only a few cars. From the ground up, we produce all the parts; each one working together in perfect harmony – we give you the best suspension and performance. We deliver the total package – mismatching parts from various manufactures to build a system doesn’t work!

NEUSPEED® is the most committed Total Car Performance Tuning Company in the Audi and Volkswagen aftermarket. We are always the first to bring you the best products available for your car – long before other tuner companies.

We began developing products in 1975, when the first VW Scirocco hit our shores and the VW Rabbit shortly thereafter. We thought this new line offered the best compact cars of the era – with fine German engineering and unlimited performance potential – we were right!

NEUSPEED® has built its reputation by producing the best springs, sway bars, tie-bars, brake parts, engine performance and appearance parts. We partnered and became a distributor for only the best and finest parts that compliment the NEUSPEED® product line; Bilstein and Koni shocks, OE German parts and many others.

While NEUSPEED’s® prominence has grown rapidly, we are not resting on our laurels. Today, over 4 decades after we started the company, we are even more committed to work hard and bring you the very best parts for your Audi and Volkswagen.

FOUNDER BILL NEUMANN's HISTORY

Most people when they're 15 don't know what they want to do in life. And neither did Bill Neumann at that age; until he purchased a 1928 Model A Ford and started to put it back in running condition. He was the first to drive his own car to high school. His other love at that time was flying, and he soloed a Piper Cub and Cessna aero planes at that young  age, but in time cars won out. 

Bill Neumann started his hot rod career in 1950 in Scarsdale, NY by a customizing 1939 Ford convertible that he de-chromed, lowered, topped with lacquer paint and installed a modified 1950 Mercury engine. Then, in 1952 he began construction of what was to become known as the famous Neumann Special – a 1931 Ford Roadster body channeled nine inches over 1932 Ford frame rails, and completed in 1954. 

In NY in 1950 little was known about hot rodding except through the pages of Hot Rod Magazine – a fledgling west coast magazine started just two years before, and only recently available on the east coast. Speed shops were new to the area as well, and at that time catering to sprint and midget racing car products. About the only applicable products you could purchase for a flathead at the time were: heads, manifolds, pistons, bearings, camshafts, ignitions, air cleaners, clutch and flywheels – anything else and you were on your own – nothing like today! Pretty much, if you couldn’t build it yourself, you were out of luck – there were no hot rod shops to help you out, or even someone to ask questions. You needed to be a good engine builder, able to machine and fabricate parts, and be a welder, painter, wiring expert, and upholsterer – problems that prevented many a hot rod from ever being finished. 

With the 1939 Ford custom behind him, he had lots of experience to fall back on for his new roadster project. Bill pulled the 1950 Mercury engine from the l939 Ford and build it up to double the stock 110 horsepower. Bill and his best friend, Ed Watts a machinist, and another close friend, Frank Fuguemann who owned a machine shop were indispensable when it came time to make all the custom machined parts that were part of Bill’s roadster plan. People talk about billet aluminum parts now like this is something new. “We didn’t have CNC machines then, but with lathes and milling machines, and such talented friends, we could make anything – it just took a little longer.” And there were many billet parts on the Neumann Special – a first in those days. 

The front-end was copied from a midget race car with a Bell tubular dropped front axle, and radius rods (now called “hair pin”), but they are still not built like Bill’s, which were fully adjustable – right-hand threads on one end and left-hand threads on the other end – nothing needed to be disassembled to make camber adjustments. The l948 Lincoln brakes featured handmade air scoops made with 1/8-inch diameter wire forming a front air intake grille-work. A stainless steel, engine turned panel was made to fit an original Auburn dash with Stewart-Warner gauges. A combination shock mount and headlight mount was custom fabricated (a feature on his new Coupe). Bill couldn’t find anyone to duplicate the California tuck-n-roll upholstery, so he had to figure it out and do it himself. These were just a few of the many custom fabricated parts to be found on the roadster. A 1954 Cadillac Aztec Red lacquer paint job finished off the project just two years from the start with Bill’s high performance Mercury flathead now powering the roadster. But Bill wouldn’t drive the hot rod until it was completely finished. He saw too many hot rod projects started and never completely finished once the owners got their cars running. Bill said, “It was like driving out of a new-car showroom and firing it up for the first time!” But with all the meticulous work of Bill, Ed, and Frank everything worked perfectly… Total cost $1,200.00, maybe $50,000 in today's market. 

Under Bill’s leadership, he produced one of the first hot rod shows on the east coast, and drag racing on an abandoned WWII air strip. His roadster was entered in shows all up and down the east coast, as well as local drag racing competitions. In just a few years, he won over 250 trophies for show and racing. It wasn’t long before the Neumann Special was featured in Hot Rod Magazine – a proud moment for an east coast hot rodder to be recognized big-time. That issue was July 1958, and then again on the cover of January 1960 with the complete rebuild – new paint, and OHV Chevy power. It was also featured in Speed Mechanics February l955, Rodding & Restyling November 1957, and Car Craft October 1961. 

Things were rapidly changing in the hot rod industry – mainly, the new overhead valve engines with bigger cubic inches and more power. So in 1958, Bill put the Neumann Special back in the garage and took it all apart. On tap was a new 1956 Chevy V8 bored to 300 cid, all balanced and blue printed, roller cam and Bill’s signature three carburetor Offy intake manifold and Vertex magneto ignition. A new full-flat firewall was installed, sectioned grille shell, more chrome and a new paint job by his good friend and fellow hot rodder and painter, Jack Lentz (builder of the Golden Rod). One of the outstanding finishing touches to this new look, was the taper-tube lakes-style headers hand-built by Bill, that could be uncorked in seconds by unscrewing a cap at the end before it tucked in under the body. 

On the show circuit it was unbeatable; taking First in Class, People's Choice, Best of Show, Best Hot Rod, Best Engineered, Best Engine, Best Paint, Best Upholstery. And when the tuck-nroll seat was removed a unitized roll bar with aluminum aircraft seat were bolted in its place. This show rod won its class at 113mph, 12.5 et in the quarter mile drag races. It was a driver too! The roadster was driven to all the shows and drags up and sown the east coast - rain, snow - you name it, racking up over 10,000 miles. 

Then it was off to a national show in 1960 with an enclosed trailer that Bill and Ed built. That year, NHRA held their national drag championship in Detroit, and produced a hot rod show at the same time. Bill entered and won his class, but most important, he had a meeting with Bob Greene, editor of Hot Rod, and Dick Day, editor of Car Craft that changed his life. 

In the 1950's Bill was into building outstanding hot rod and custom cars in New York while his full-time job was general manager of a Ford dealership. Weekends were on the car show circuit along with his camera and writing for Rodding & Restyling, an east coast rod magazine. This, along with his fabulous roadster caught the attention of the editors of Hot Rod and Car Craft magazines. An offer of a job brought Bill, his wife and three sons along with the hot rod to California as Associate Editor of Car Craft Magazine, and then shortly after, Editor of Rod & Custom Magazine (R&C). 

Under Bill’s leadership R&C prospered for the next five years. After R&C, Bill started Bill Neumann & Associates, his own advertising, public relations and engineering consulting agency specifically for aftermarket speed equipment companies. The top companies in Southern California were soon his customers -- He knew the owners very well. Bill also continued to freelance as an automotive photo/journalist. A meeting in 1971 with Ford Motor Company started the first project car build-up of the then new Pinto – a four-cylinder car badly in need of horsepower, breaking and handling. Bill used his clients products in the complete build-up of suspension, engine and appearance parts. His articles on the project ran in a 12-month series in Popular Hot Rodding Magazine; their most popular series to date. His clients were very happy with all the publicity. 

In 1975 Bill formed Automotive Performance Systems, Inc. (APS), purchased a 400hp chassis dyno and with his son Aaron in the shop he started hi-performance tuning, performance suspension, repair and engine building. Aaron being one of the few dyno tuners in California our customer base came from as far away as San Francisco to San Diego, Nevada and Arizona for his tuning ability. Soon, import cars were also coming in, which piqued Bill’s interest because of his previous four-cylinder experience. Aaron said, "The few aftermarket parts available were crude, poor fitment and difficult to install", which gave us an idea to build quality hi-performance parts for imports – an untapped field! "Could putting my experience, expertise and my idea's for the future make them better?" "Yes!" The new 1975 Volkswagen Rabbit and Scirocco was a game-changer. They were far ahead of American small cars – great German engineering, easy to work on and lots of potential with its solid body, great handling and fuel injection. APS was the first to turbocharge this car, which led to designing and manufacturing suspension handling and brake parts to go with the higher horsepower. 

The NEUSPEED® division was formed to design, test and manufacture performance, suspension and appearance products for VW. The high quality of NEUSPEED® parts set the bar for all parts being manufactured at that time and in addition produced the best installation instructions and catalogs in the industry. Business boomed in the years ahead with other VW models: Jetta, Corrado, Golf and Passat performance products. The company was incorporated in 1975, and the rest they say is history! Other small cars followed: Civic, Accord, Integra, Prelude, Audi A3, A4, A6, the BMW New Mini and Fiat500, a niche market the Neumann's knows very well, and Aaron has never stopped improving NEUSPEED® products with the latest innovations that his customers were eager to buy. 

From a small shop in Burbank, CA, to a new state-of-the-art facility in Camarillo, California for R&D, design, engineering and manufacturing, the Neumann family helped jump-start the front wheel drive tuning craze in America. Bill never imagined that his super Rabbit project car that Motor Trend named the "Thunder Bunny" in their feature article (March 1982), and "... yet it earned the distinction of being one of the fastest cars ever in our slalom test, right up there with Ferrari and Lamborghini." Road & Track (September 1982) would lead to such an overwhelming, sustained response by enthusiastic small car enthusiasts. Dozens of magazine articles featured NEUSPEED®'s outstanding project cars and installation articles in ensuing years. 

The success of NEUSPEED® would be from his son Aaron, for his design innovations, record of industry first aftermarket products for import vehicles, hands-on building and testing, dyno tuning ability since 1975, worldwide ECU programming/engine tuning from 1990-present, attention to detail and his commitment to build the best products. On July 1st, 2019 will be the start of NEUSPEED's 44th successful year in business with an understanding his family and long-time devoted employees keep foremost in their every-day work - to provide the best products and service humanely possible - NEUSPEED® quality. Because of NEUSPEED's pioneering efforts in small car performance, they are credited as a major starter of what is now called the sport compact car industry – a two billion dollar niche market.

While at R&C, Bill’s good friend, Henry Blankfort, Vice President of advertising and public relations at Revell (the model car maker), and director of the Hobby Industry Association (HIA), Bill and Henry talked at length about the HIA association, what it does and its benefits to their members. Bill thought highly of Henry’s HIA, and wondered if it would work for a hi-performance manufacturer association? Because of Bill’s friendships with many company owners, he organized a meeting with a few speed equipment manufacturer owners. Then, Bill and Henry spoke to them of the many benefits an organization such as the HIA could benefit hiperformance industry members. They were so impressed, that a few weeks later, a second and much larger meeting was called. All speed equipment manufacturers present decided to go ahead and form an association. Bill suggested its name – "Speed Equipment Manufacturers Association" – adopted unanimously – SEMA was born. Unfortunately, to date, neither Bill or Henry has been honored for their contribution in starting SEMA. Unfortunately, both of them have passed on and cannot hear any praise. 

Bill has not forgotten his hot rod roots... still his passion, so Bill's story doesn’t quite end here… After selling the Neumann Special to a friend in 1964, it was always Bill’s intention to build an even better roadster. But with a growing family and a new business there never seemed time... until recently. A 1932 Ford Roadster named BMW ROD was finally finished in January 2006. Many special features are built into the roadster: Custom tube chassis, independent suspension, BMW V12 engine, B&M Chevy 700R4 transmission, aluminum hood and side panels, a great many custom machined (billet) parts and much more. With all the innovative features Bill has had on his mind for over 35-years, this roadster is another exceptional example of what hot rodding is all about! 

Then, in 2011 Bill started his next project. A 1932 Ford five window coupe, chopped two inches and channeled the width of the frame. Power is from a 350/350 Chevy, a five-speed transmission, Bills signature three carb manifold, flat firewall and lakes-style headers exactly like his original roadster. These cars have never been featured in a magazine. And now in 2014, Bill was hard a work on a 1932 Ford pickup truck. With all that has gone on since his move to California, Bill is still a hot rodder at heart. 

Bill even found time to write an autobiography about his growing up in a loving family grounded in faith, values, integrity and honesty, which has guided his life. It's about how he used these principals as he advanced in life and the success he has achieved. His parents and school teachers encouraged his efforts and taught him to never pass up an opportunity to learn something new. He sets examples of his hard-won wisdom and motivation for all young people to follow and achieve the success Bill has found. He called it: YOU CAN DO IT! In a Job or Your Own Business Make Your Life a Success.