By Ashley Reyes
The SEMA Automotive Restoration Market Organization named Pro-Speed Autoworks as the council's newest member spotlight company. Pro-Speed Autoworks is a full-service vehicle performance and customization shop for classic cars and trucks.
Get to know the story of their business in SEMA’s interview with company owner Pete Kianka, below.
SEMA: Tell us the story of your business. How did you start?
Pete Kianka: I founded Pro-Speed Autoworks in 2013. I was a line mechanic for most of my career and always had a strong love for musclecars and hot rods. I decided to go out on my own doing restoration work for a few clients and eventually the business grew substantially. From just me renting a bay in another shop to 22-plus employees and 25,000 sq. ft. between two shops, it’s grown larger than I ever imagined it would.
SEMA: What was your breakthrough moment?
PK: My breakthrough moment was realizing that most clients want the classic look and feel but with the modern power, safety and conveniences that we can add – restomods. My second breakthrough realization was learning that you cannot go it alone. Use all resources that are available to you, and build strong partnerships along the way.
SEMA: Tell us about your business now and projects that you are working on.
PK: We have dozens of builds in flight. One shop focuses on "in-and-out" work – smaller jobs like brake upgrades, repairs, exhaust, suspension upgrades, etc. The other two shops focus on "big builds" and body work. We have five chassis swap projects underway (mostly Roadster Shop), several LS swaps and several modern Hemi swaps in progress.
SEMA: Tell us about a particular project, product or build you are proud of.
PK: We recently completed a ‘70 Dodge Coronet for a client – full restoration, plus major modernization and performance upgrades. We swapped in a Gen 3 Hemi engine and customer-built twin turbo system. The car was sponsored by Dakota Digital at SEMA 2022 as a Feature Vehicle and got a huge amount of positive attention.
SEMA: What advice do you have for young professionals contemplating a career in the automotive aftermarket, particularly in the restoration segment?
PK: You have to know the restoration process and business inside and out, but I suggest you also look for alternate revenue generators. Smaller jobs keep the cashflow moving and a parallel business offering that coincides with your core business is a good way to add steady cash between payment lags. We do indoor car storage for classic and exotic cars to help with cashflow and additional indoor vehicle storage space for our service customers. It would be hard to do the volume we do without it.
To learn more about Pro-Speed Autoworks, visit their website at prospeedautoworks.com.
Fill out an ARMO-member spotlight form to highlight how your company is contributing to the specialty-equipment industry. Selected candidates are eligible to be featured on ARMO's social media, SEMA News and future ARMO-member updates.