The short story of BDE...

It's the summer of 1987 and I just graduated from high-school. At the same time I was finishing up my first project car, a 1970 Chevelle SS, and if you could have looked close enough at its engine, you might have noticed a billet aluminum fuel line splitter which I had painstakingly "machined" with a drill press, hacksaw and files, and inscribed "BDE" onto it - a business name had been born.

In 1990 I saw my first Z32 and it's styling just spoke to me - I knew this car was one that I had to have. There's something about the body lines, and those aggressive headlights that just screams attitude and indifference to all others. Unfortunately though, I would have to wait eleven more years before I would claim one as my own.

I found my Z in late 2001. After installing an open element air filter, the dreaded Goose Honk revealed itself, so I tore into the factory recirc valves and soon after developed the Goose Honk Killer. After two years and 35k miles (including a cross-country trip with a good dose of over-heating), a head gasket failed and my new project car was laid out before me. This was my chance to increase its power and put my personal touch into other aspects of it; I didn't ever envision it would go so far.

First, the stock automatic transmission had to go and a General Motors TH400 was adapted into its place. Slowly word got out that I was pursuing this and emails I received expressing interest in the TH400 conversion were surprising. This let me know that there were other enthusiasts who were interested in pushing their Z to levels that were higher than was generally considered to be obtainable at that time. So, I kept track of all of my Z-related projects/ideas and began to research manufacturing costs and economic build quantities to determine if it was feasible to market them.

Later, mainly because I wanted an aftermarket harmonic damper, I tried my hand at bringing another manufacturer's product (ATI damper) to the Z32 market. Both the ATI Race and Street dampers had already been partially developed but no one (not even ATI) seemed to be interested in investing in the dampers to make them available to the Z-public. To get the ball rolling, I bought ten units and then organized several group-buys, eventually selling over 40 dampers. I quickly learned that the time investment of organizing group-buys is incredible and in the end everything costs more than originally expected; each damper sold in the first group-buy cost me $25 out of pocket, but because of my investment, today ATI has VG dampers on their shelf ready to ship.

Solving the VTC noise dilemma became my next project. This seemingly spring-related problem (re: heavy duty front VTC spring) never made sense to me so I decided to see if anything else could be done to prevent it. Cutting open a VTC sprocket is not an easy task, but once accomplished, it became evident that an internal piston return spring was the root of the noise problem. Drawing from my day-job as a spring design engineer, I tested several springs and the rotational torque input through the camshaft that would override them. The data revealed that a stronger spring would control the piston and prevent the noise. Again word of this got out, and again, the interest level from other Z owners was surprising. I have to thank Don Mendell for testing the first prototypes and providing feedback. My thanks also goes out to Russell Floyd, owner of Z1 Motorsports, for contacting me early in development and offering to distribute the sprockets once everything was sorted out. At that moment, I knew I was on the cusp of developing a main-stream product that could justify not only my already substantial time investment, but also a corresponding financial investment to bring this product to market. Soon after, the dream of BDE became a reality.

Since BDE went live in 2008, a multitude of unique products have been developed for the Z32 and we're not even close to running out of ideas. Stop back often to see what new products are being developed by BDE.

 

 

 
     

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