Browsing: Hall of Fame

We’ll spotlight one of the pioneers that should be remembered as we induct them into our DSPORT Magazine Import Performance Hall of Fame. We hope that you find these stories to be entertaining, enlightening and inspirational. At the very least, your education will pay due respect to those that sacrificed their time, money and even their happiness for the good of the import performance movement.

Nearly two decades ago, Tony Palo was working at a local BMX shop in his hometown of Rockwall, Texas. Shortly after finishing high school, Palo bought his first Integra and visited Jotech Motorsports to buy some parts for it. After installing a set of lowering springs, which were not quite low enough for Tony’s liking, he went back to see if the springs could be cut shorter. Upon his return, the shop was so impressed with his quick install that they offered him a job on the spot, and Palo has been active in the import performance scene ever since. Staff…

Anyone familiar with drag racing would recognize wheelie bars and their use primarily on high-powered muscle and drag cars. They helped to keep the torquey V8-powered, wheelie-prone, rear-wheel drive machines from losing traction, control and sight of the track. In the 1990s, no one thought it would be an effective traction and safety device for a front-wheel drive drag car, until the Bergenholtz Racing team did. Started on the Street Ed Bergenholtz and his brother Ron got into cars in the late 1980s during the infancy of import performance. At the time, their friend Ryuji Hora took them to the…

The import scene of the early 1990s not only kicked off the import performance revolution but also fostered the inception and growth of the import drag racing scene. For some, like Stephan Papadakis, it started on the street and became a passion that he took to the next level. By Richard Fong Stephan got his start in 1993 at the age of 16. He raced his Honda Civic Si at the street races in Southern California and at the local drag strips in Long Beach (Terminal Island) and Palmdale (Los Angeles County Raceway). His competitive instinct and ambitions to be…

Innovators of any field earn their place not only by perfecting current designs and technologies, but also by being willing to try something new and different. This inclination for experimenting with ideas that no else has thought of before is a major factor in moving an industry forward. In 1994, Adam Saruwatari of Arroyo Grande, CA brought his creative and inventive personality to the automotive performance world. Growing up working on his family’s farm, Adam’s mechanical experience drove him to put together builds that earned him championships and wins in IDRC, Battle of the Imports, NIRA, CMI, Imports vs Domestics,…

Imagine a time when no one had the answers on how to improve the performance of modern Japanese sportscars. To be even more accurate, imagine a time when enthusiasts didn’t even know what questions to ask. In the late 80s and early 90s, aftermarket performance parts were extremely limited. Japanese companies like HKS were just beginning to make inroads into the States while traditional domestic performance companies had no interest in imports. Fortunately, there were some hardcore enthusiasts that always wanted more than the market offered. These enthusiasts pioneered many of the combinations, solutions and products that we still rely…

About a week ago I mentioned the name Abel Ibarra to one of our younger sta members and all I got back was a blank stare. I though to myself, well maybe this person isn’t a rotary fan. So I mentioned the names Steph Papadakis and Ed Bergenholtz. I thought to myself that of course they would know these pioneers of Honda performance. Alas, the reaction was the same stare of ignorance. The names David Buschur, Adam Saruwatari and Vinny Ten also meant nothing. I was both sad and angry that any “import performance enthusiast” wouldn’t know about some of…

In 1985, the Titanic was found, Back to the future was number one in the box office and Bill Cosby had the number one show on television. During that same year, Publisher Kipp Kington launched Turbo & High-Tech Performance magazine. During an age when “no replacement for displacement” ignorance reigned supreme, Kipp’s fascination with the magic of boost and nitrous oxide convinced him to launch a new magazine into an automotive segment that simply didn’t exist yet. Kipp’s combination of insight, courage and perseverance allowed him to successfully explore and define a new area of automotive performance on an unexplored…