Hi-Tech Automotive: The South African company building beloved American supercars

In the 1960s, Carroll Shelby left an indelible mark on motorsport history, with his cars winning the FIA World Sportscar Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans race for an American manufacturer for the first time. But their engineering prowess relied upon resourcefulness as well as skill. The Ford GT40 featured an oil cap from a tractor and an identification light from an airplane, and the Shelby Cobra’s indicator switch came from a humble German family car, according to replica car builder Jimmy Price. So when it comes to recreating these and other rare vehicles, he has his work cut out.

The 76-year-old South African has spent decades scouring archives for blueprints and sketching from behind the steering wheel, and has been known to travel halfway around the world in search of an original part or mold. Sourcing components can take years, but he usually gets what he wants. That’s why the replica cars his company Hi-Tech Automotive manufactures are some of the most coveted in the world — and their stories all start on the African continent.

A former civil engineer and long-time car enthusiast, Price started out building replicas of the Shelby Cobra in the mid 1980s (“the most replicated car, then and now,” he says) and broke into the American market in the mid-90s via US distributor Superformance, which he established.

“There was no one doing a complete car,” Price recalls. The search for parts for a car that was last manufactured in the 1960s involved plenty of reading, plus visits to British Cobra manufacturer AC Cars and suppliers that had long halted production. He tells stories of a series of wild goose chases and coincidences that led to all the components finally coming together.

In 1995 the company shipped 35 Cobras. By 2000 it was shipping 450 units a year, with staff headcount rising from 20 to 650. The global recession in the late aughts severely impacted Hi-Tech’s business, with orders shrinking significantly and forcing layoffs. Today, its headcount is back up to around 300, says the owner, manufacturing Cobras, GT40s, Shelby Daytona Coupes and 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sports.

A range of Hi-Tech built replica models: (left-right) the Ford GT40, Daytona Coupe, and Shelby Cobras.

Price explains that Hi-Tech does not technically build cars. Instead, it creates bodies and chassis for bespoke classics that have the original manufacturers’ seal of approval. They’re dubbed a “roller” or “turnkey minus”: everything you’d expect in a car, minus the engine and transmission. In the US, Hi-Tech’s largest market, a car without these constitutes an “assemblage of parts” in the eyes of the law, which makes importing one more straightforward. Once imported and sold by dealerships, customers arrange for the engine and transmission to be installed by third parties or themselves.

What Hi-Tech builds in its 200,000-square-foot workshop in Gqeberha (formerly known as Port Elizabeth) is authenticity with a dash of the modern. Unlike their racing forbears, replica models come fitted with air conditioning and comfier seats. Hi-Tech also addresses practical aspects racing cars might have dispensed with, like making sure
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Pennsylvania drivers spend more on repairs as the chip shortage cuts off supply of new cars


“I have customers that want new cars. It’s just, what they want is not available, or it’s a year behind.”


  • An-Li Herring/WESA

Used cars for sale on a lot at a dealership in Doylestown, Pa., Friday, Feb. 4, 2022.

Matt Rourke / AP Photo

Used cars for sale on a lot at a dealership in Doylestown, Pa., Friday, Feb. 4, 2022.

As car production continues to lag amid the global chip shortage, the demand for auto repairs has shot up.

With fewer new vehicles available to buy, customers have opted to invest more in the cars they already have, said Mike Kirsch, the head mechanic at Brunner’s Garage in the South Side Flats.

“[We’ll] look at their car and say, ‘Well, your car is going to be, I don’t know, $500, $700, $1,000 to repair,’ whatever the number is. And they will look at it and say, ‘Well, it’s an older car. Maybe I’m going to go buy a new car,’” Kirsch said. “But there’s just no new car out there right now to buy. I have customers that want new cars. It’s just, what they want is not available, or it’s a year behind.”

Pushed to keep their old vehicles, he said, customers end up “spending a lot of money on regular maintenance: brakes, tires, some check-engine lights. People are spending a thousand, fifteen-hundred dollars [on] their car to keep it for another year at least.”

Mike Kirsch is the head mechanic at Brunner's Garage in the South Side Flats. He said the global semiconductor shortage has increased the demand for vehicle maintenance by limiting the supply of new vehicles that require less service.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Mike Kirsch is the head mechanic at Brunner’s Garage in the South Side Flats. He said the global semiconductor shortage has increased the demand for vehicle maintenance by limiting the supply of new vehicles that require less service.

Wait times have gone up at Brunner’s and nationally because supply chain disruptions continue to delay parts deliveries. Labor shortages have also helped to bump up by 1.5 days the average turnaround time at automotive repair shops across the country, according to an August 2021 survey. The research shows that one in every four automotive repair shops said a lack of auto technicians was a primary cause of service delays.

Kirsch said the work shortage is a long-building problem that reflects the overall aging of his industry.

“All the technicians are all my age: They’re all old people now. They’re all getting ready to retire. And a few of the garages around here … they retired [and] closed up,” he said.

Auto tech shortage

While Brunner’s Garage is fully staffed today, Kirsch noted that the four-employee operation has struggled to

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Pushed to become an vehicle mechanic

It all commenced when Mother had infant quantity six. We needed to update our vehicle, so Dad went hunting. Mom’s only ask for was “something practical.” 

Dad being Father, he pulled into our driveway beeping the toy horn of a brilliant-inexperienced Volkswagen Beetle. 

Mother currently being Mom, she frowned but climbed correct in. “I believed at minimum you’d get some thing with 4 doors,” she said.

From then on, we were being a Bug form of family members. The doors closed with an air-compressing, ear-popping thwump, and off we floated in a cocoon-restricted bubble to university, church, appointments, and the beach front. 6 little ones would empty out curbside, like so lots of clowns from a circus car.

To us children, our Bug symbolized contentment. So when my more mature sister Terry turned 16, she acquired a applied Bug the same age as herself. Two several years right after that, keeping my freshly minted driver’s license, I eyed her automobile, by then bashed up and idle.

“How considerably?” I asked.

“Whatever you bought,” she said.

Just after handing over the money, I washed the auto, polished its oxidized paint, press-started off it, and took it for a spin. It did not take extensive to notice that almost nothing on it labored, other than (hardly) the engine. Nevertheless, with 1 off-heart headlight, brakes that experienced to be pumped, no brake lights, no blinkers, no sideview mirrors, and no horn, I drove it everywhere, from the Armstrong Redwoods in Northern California, east to the Sierra Nevada, up and down the coast, and all all around San Francisco. I experienced several shut calls, I acknowledge. I however question how I did not get crushed while hydroplaning involving two 18-wheelers heading 70 mph, or how I survived iffy brakes in the mountains and prevented nighttime collisions with only 1 headlight.

Then one particular evening a police officer pulled me above. I sank reduced in my seat as he walked all-around the auto, scrutinizing the bald tires, the absent mirrors, and the stubby gray wire wherever the horn experienced been. He heaved a paternal sigh as he seemed in at me. 

“I’d be doing you a favor by obtaining this bucket of bolts towed to the dump,” he said. “But I’m heading to give you a break, because I think you need to have it.”

He wrote me 4 “fix it” tickets and told me if he caught me driving my automobile once more without all the required repairs, he’d set me in jail for life. 

I thanked him, knowing I wasn’t sorry to be ticketed. In a way, they were a substitute for the parental direction I was sorely lacking. I consider he understood it, much too.

Following morning, I went to the library and checked out a automobile manual. I uncovered that my automobile had an air-cooled, four-cylinder, 40 horsepower, 1.2-liter motor. It experienced hydraulic brakes, worm-and-roller steering, and rear swing axle suspension. I studied the exploded diagrams, astonished by the noticeable

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Johnstown pupil gets auto tech career as a result of new plan | Information

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – Bigger Johnstown Significant College senior Cheyenne Penrod signed a entire-time work agreement with Thomas Automotive on Tuesday as the first region student to be awarded a scholarship via a method the company launched this year.

Penrod has labored for Thomas aspect-time as an automotive technician by way of her vocational co-op. Obtaining out she’d be supplied a complete-time job right after high college was thrilling for her.

“I was super-fired up,” she claimed. “I couldn’t hold out.”

The scholarship features a one particular-12 months apprenticeship at the organization that she has fulfilled by now, $1,000 in funds, $2,500 worth of tools and certain work.

There ended up four awards handed out in the Thomas marketplaces of Johnstown, Bedford and Cumberland, Maryland.

“It came out of the need to have for assistance experts,” Thomas Automotive expertise means Supervisor Keith Kuckenbrod reported of the software.

Kuckenbrod stated there are not quite a few people today pursuing the vocation, which is why the enterprise additional the incentive.

Penrod enrolled in the Bigger Johnstown University District automotive technological know-how vocational system her freshman 12 months and has worked diligently at any time due to the fact.

She credits her father, Kenny Penrod, and her uncle for her state-of-the-art skill in the trade. She reported she spent a ton of time in the garage with them expanding up, learning anything she could.

That, coupled with her curiosity in how mechanics perform, led her to the automotive tech system, exactly where instructor Thomas Mattis explained he could notify she was an adept learner and a good candidate for a co-op posture.

Cheyenne Penrod moved up through the software and sought out the Thomas position.

Mattis commended her mastery of the content and said she received the best rating on the NOCTI (National Occupational Competency Screening Institute) test that he’s viewed in his 16 decades at the school.

He joked that the “worst issue you can notify her is, ‘I really don’t assume you can do that,’ ” simply because Penrod then tends to make it her mission to complete the activity.

“She’s arrive a prolonged way,” Kenny Penrod stated, adding that she continues to impress him.

Cheyenne Penrod’s mom, Darlene Penrod, included that she imagined mechanics was a interest and did not count on her daughter to convert it into a job.

“I’m very happy of every thing she’s achieved,” Darlene Penrod mentioned.

Michael Dadey, large school principal, was thrilled about the achievement as very well. As the school’s principal and vocational director, he’s happy of Cheyenne Penrod’s achievements.

“This is a terrific chance, not only for Cheyenne, but for Thomas and our pupils,” Dadey claimed.

Joshua Byers is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be achieved at 814-532-5054. Follow him on Twitter @Journo_Josh.

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The vital tech points that put Aston Martin’s F1 car or truck updates in the spotlight

But there are some other modifications – both significant and little – that differentiate it from the Aston Martin car or truck that was final rolled out in Miami.

1st up, the group has introduced a new rear wing configuration, with an onus on rising downforce for the troubles posed by both equally the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and Monaco that the wings now at its disposal wouldn’t have resolved.

The design and style is most carefully aligned to the 1 utilized in Bahrain, with the things filling up more of the legality box and getting angled extra steeply way too.

The group has also made use of unique downforce offerings at the other circuits, with a spoon-formed style and design to assistance decrease downforce and drag was deployed at both of those Jeddah and Miami, and a extra typical shape was favoured in Imola.

Aston Martin AMR22 rear wing comparison

Picture by: Uncredited

There have also been various variations to the halo and its fairing, not minimum the adjust from environmentally friendly paint in the entrance segment to black rather, which begs the concern why it did not decide on to save even much more weight and just leave it carbonfibre.

The group also mounted a new pair of fins on the rear upper section of the halo for FP1 that they removed in the course of the session (pink arrow), although a different fin has been additional in advance of the rear mounting (blue arrow), which is most likely an improvement centered on the facet-mounted winglet that’s been taken on and off the car throughout the initial couple of races (purple arrow).

Aston Martin AMR22 Halo winglets

Aston Martin AMR22 Halo winglets

Image by: Uncredited

Crimson Bull comparisons

Shifting down the car, the to start with components that we occur across that bear all the hallmarks of the Pink Bull RB18 design and style philosophy is Aston Martin’s switch to the twin outer flooring strake structure that, until now, had been specific to Crimson Bull.

Apart from them staying stacked future to a person an additional they also aspect a stepped structure ahead of the transition into the flooring, which should deliver vortices that interact with one an additional and improve general performance domestically and downstream.

The extent of similarities amongst the Aston Martin updates and Crimson Bull’s RB18 saw the FIA have out an investigation into the make a difference.

F1’s governing physique mentioned that in the course of a “routine pre-event legality check” of the planned Aston Martin updates, “it turned obvious that a amount of options on the Aston Martin resembled people of yet another Competitor”, triggering an investigation relating to reverse engineering and “likely illicit IP transfer”.

Via the investigation, the FIA uncovered Aston Martin had complied with the laws through its course of action, producing the new updates legal.

Aston Martin AMR22 side detail

Aston Martin AMR22 facet element

Image by: Giorgio Piola

By significantly the most important alter produced by Aston Martin in Spain is the sidepods, as it gets to be the

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GRCC automotive software gives Grand Haven grad prospect to change gears

When Sophia Lonnee graduated from Grand Haven Higher College previous 12 months, she had plans to enroll at two various universities.

But halfway via summer time, she resolved to change gears.

“Part of me was just overcome,” she says. “I was a decent university student, but I genuinely hated large university and I didn’t know what I required to do, so I determined to do the job a great deal and feel about it. 

“I started out inquiring myself, what could I do that I love, that could make me some decent funds? I have constantly appreciated doing the job on my personal automobile, so I started out searching into coaching courses.”

Lonnee observed the Automotive Tech Position Schooling Method at Grand Rapids Neighborhood School. She feels like she built the right transfer. 

“I like the palms-on knowledge and all of the resources,” she claims in a story shared by GRCC. “I appreciate obtaining entry to all the resources and the shop to do the operate. It is been enjoyable to perform on my auto and my family’s cars and trucks. I’ve accomplished a great deal of brakes and saved them a large amount of income. I like that a whole lot.” 

‘Exhausting’ but worthwhile

Automotive technicians are required to be licensed and licensed by the condition of Michigan. Licensed technicians use precision diagnostic machines, provider manuals and ability resources to diagnose and fix motor vehicles.

GRCC occupation training programs present lots of scholarships, grants and monetary help.

“I am receiving my method completely compensated for, so truly all it is costing me is my time,” Lonnee says.

The automotive technician application is scheduled like a work. Class meets Monday to Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lonnee works in the evening as effectively. 

“It’s form of exhausting,” she claims, “but it’s 100% worthy of it, just to have this knowledge. It does acquire motivation, but once you get all these certifications you have them for good.”

37 certifications out there

The automotive technician method is taught by teacher Gayl Beals, who has more than 25 yrs knowledge in the market. Beals retains an Training Specialist diploma, holds MOPAR stage a person certification and is accredited by Snap-on Resources.

“Mr. B is a extremely clever male,” Lonnee suggests. “I like how he pushes us to figure matters out on our individual. He’s a really great teacher. This does not look like school at all.”

Learners discover braking programs, suspension, electrical, heating and cooling, and laptop or computer operations. GRCC holds partnerships with Ford and Chrysler Fiat to provide supplemental certifications, offering students the prospect to purchase benefit qualifications main to additional than 37 certifications.

When Lonnee finishes the plan in July, she is aware of that she will have numerous possibilities.

“Even if I really do not continue to be in automotive forever, I will often have these competencies. With the connections that Mr. B has plus the demand from customers, I’m positive I’ll land somewhere.”

The upcoming area

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