Automotive Imagination At Work Inside The Speed Warhouse
Identity on a personal level is an interesting thing. It separates us from each other; tells us what direction we’re headed, where our passions lie, and takes some people their whole lives to figure it out. On a professional scale, it’s easier to use a business plan to dictate a business’ identity. It focuses reach, and aligns customers with the direction of the company. For an automotive shop this might mean sticking to a specific market, or catering to a specific chassis, but for Speed Warhouse’s team this isn’t a cut-and-dry case. To quote them, “We are still trying to figure out exactly what we are. Currently all we know is that we are here to f**k s**t up.”
Co-founder Rob Bailey started a business screen-printing shirts in his garage called Flag Nor Fail. The business grew steadily and moved its headquarters into this large warehouse in Leesport, Pennsylvania. As an automotive enthusiast, Bailey used this new area not only to support his clothing brand, but also to unleash the collective automotive dreams of his friend and Flag Nor Fail co-founder, Bill Peron. In the process, the pair have created The Speed Warhouse (SWH).
In 2013, Speed Warhouse released their first project cars: Bailey’s 2JZ-equipped Lexus IS300, which made 800 horsepower then, and Peron’s original Toyota Supra. In the time since, the minds at SWH have used the shop to churn out many new creations to race including the Vipra, a Toyota Supra with a turbocharged engine transplant sourced from a Dodge Viper. These vehicles have been created with one mindset – to create fun cars to race. The team added Mike Perez to the equation, formed another facet of the business, and the DeathKart was born.
There’s an organized chaos that takes place inside these walls, where the tidy status of the shop doesn’t showcase the insanity of just how many projects are being built at the same time. The space is limited but covered in unique vehicles that would make any auto enthusiast drool.
The astounding amount of drivetrain parts circulating around the grounds could power any number of cars. Although every disassembled piece inhabits its own surface, showing that organization is extremely important.
Turbochargers and bumpers can be found in almost every corner of the shop, each separated from its original powerplant/chassis and waiting for their final resting place upon one of the many projects.
Along with parts, the shop contains an overload of precision tools used to craft the various materials of an automobile into a SWH creation. Everything from drills, milling and saws used for cutting, to welders used for fabricating the custom one-off metal designs are located within the shop walls.
Black cabinets occupy the entire space along a wall of the shop. Each shelf contained inside is designated with the responsibility of keeping parts organized for the disassembled project cars.
Enough of all of this background – what are the actual project cars we keep talking about? We’ll start with the vehicle that recently caught our attention.
This TA22 Celica has been through a wild ride in the past 3 months. Sourced from its previous owner only months ago, the Celica was transformed from a lightweight Japanese classic into a modern powerhouse in just 8 weeks for the TX2K event back in March. You’ll remember our coverage of the event included some images of the Celica in the staging lanes.
Not where you remember seeing this Celica? It was probably from a video then, when the rear differential tried to transfer the approximately 1,300 horsepower from the 2JZ-engine to the ground, shattering all five wheel studs in an epic display of grip on the starting line of the Texas drag strip. Peron still has the studs in his possession to prove it! (Look out for our feature of this beauty in the coming weeks.)
They also love Supras here, housing three JZA80 examples in the limited space. This particular is Peron’s street car, which donated its precious high-horspower 2JZ organ to the Celica for the trip down to Texas. Its now vacant engine bay is awaiting an upcoming 800 horsepower setup.
The second of the white Supra examples, this MKIV is Perez’s drift car, which is temporarily undergoing some restoration. This car is powered by an 800 horsepower VVTi 2JZ; it transfers that power through a CD009 Nissan 350Z transmission to the wheels. This car will be found shredding tires sideways at upcoming Club Loose drift events at Englishtown’s Raceway Park.
The last of their Supras is one of the shop’s oldest creations, and one of the most unique. Known as The VIPRA, this Toyota combines a right-hand-drive steering layout with a Dodge Viper V10 engine transplant mated to a Tremec TR-6060 transmission. If that overwhelming power output wasn’t enough, they attached a 118mm Precision turbocharger to speed things up. Peron can be found piloting this one sideways around corners and destroying tires in the process.
What exactly is a DeathKart? Well, it started life as an S13 Nissan 240SX hatch, underwent a dramatic panel reduction and engine transplant, then received countless metal additions and huge offroad tires. If you can believe it, the best part of the DeathKart is that two of these mobile sculptures exist! You’ll have to wait for our feature of Perez’s DeathKart for more details on this particular variant, but we have some photos of Peron’s to hold you over.
After Perez had created his DeathKart, Peron wanted to join in on the reckless fun. Purchased as a rolling shell and swapped with a Toyota 2JZ engine, this chassis is now reinforced with custom cage work surrounding its occupants and powerplant. The duo created each piece of this car using their own self-taught skills with the intention of having fun, while still acting as a template for future fabrication solutions like the rear-mount radiator setup pictured here.
This is jokingly referred to as the Death Seat, with no safety enclosure for the helpless passenger. This seat was taken from the Celica shell when it was purchased a few months ago and repurposed into one of the scariest places to be in a DeathKart.
Stepping into their office, there is no confusion about what industry the guys at SWH have a passion for – the automotive performance industry is Job One around here. Quality wheels rest in sets throughout the surrounding walls, accompanied by battered racecar panels from their projects out in the shop.
The team also leaves their first print feature from Super Street magazine open on a table – which itself is crafted from a wheel – as a constant reminder of their progress and ambition to build noteworthy project cars.
These desk areas will serve as the main business hub for SWH as they transition from solely building their own project cars to accepting select customer builds and expanding into the retail sales market, where they will offer performance parts to the world.
The Speed Warhouse shop might not know exactly what they are, but we know exactly what their identity is: building some of the coolest and most unique vehicles in the nation. Hope you enjoyed our look into the chaos!