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Maker of after-market parts

Pat Patera

When the racing movie “The Fast and the Furious 4” hits theatres this spring, a small auto parts manufacturer in Spanish Springs will be ready to leave competitors in the dust.

Raceland USA LLC operates out of an 1,800-square-foot bay on Isador Court in Spanish Springs Business Park. It sells exclusively on eBay.

“We will get a lot bigger after the movie release,” says Melinda Campos, managing director of U.S. operations. Toyota’s 2009 ScionTC will be in the new movie and Raceland has already created movie-inspired parts for the car, to be ready when demand hits. And, it’s currently in talks with racing magazines to feature those performance upgrades.

Will Flowers, warehouse manager, says, “Guys see a race car driver and want the part to put on their personal tuner cars.”

One of just two employees at Raceland’s U.S. branch, Flowers wears many hats. After shipping eBay orders, he also takes phone calls from customers who can’t figure out how to make the modifications they want to make on a tuner car a customized version of an Asian or European vehicle.

“I’m like the Geek Squad for your car,” he says. Calls come in from owners of modified Hondas, Volkswagens, Subarus and BMWs.

But engineering work fuels Flowers’ passion for the job. With 15 years mechanical experience, he designs parts for tuner cars, such as headers and exhaust. He relies on the machinists at Infinite Velocity Motorsports in Sparks to build the prototypes before Raceland’s factory in Hong Kong takes on the job of

mass production.

Already, he’s designed a new intake and suspension for that silvery Scion TC featured in “The Fast and the Furious 4.” And he is working on a new exhaust system.

“Raceland wanted to pick a car that’s new and fun for the younger market,” he says.

And, says Campos, that demographic keeps business on track even during a recession.

“Our market is 16- to 28-year-old males. They’re not much impacted by recession; they’re not concerned with meeting mortgage payments. It’s a nicely growing market,” she says.

Raceland also succeeds by seeking out market niches that competitors serve poorly or not at all, says

Flowers. “We specialize in the European market; others specialize in the Japanese market, but that was already so flooded, we went a different route.”