SEMA Member News -- March/April 2009
Association Staff Gets to Know California Pony Cars Inc.
|California Pony Car owner and founder Ray Harrington (left) and
general manager Tony Gonzalez were presented with a certificate of
appreciation from SEMA staff members who visited the company’s
facilities in early December.
Staff from SEMA’s membership, Show and research departments paid a visit to California Pony Cars (CPC) in Ontario, California, early December last year. The SEMA group sat down with company owner and founder Ray Harrington and general manager Tony Gonzalez to learn a little more about what the business does, how it operates and how SEMA can help it thrive.
“We are proud to make products that allow our customers the opportunity to recapture the special feelings of a time long past,” Harrington said. “Mustangs remind us of a time when the United States was innocent and open and the future was unlimited.”
Harrington shared the story of how he was introduced to the Mustang and how CPC came into being. He had founded Harrington Mold Inc. in 1976 when he was a determined, young journeyman mold maker who had gained the experience needed to become a successful entrepreneur by working at six Southern California mold manufacturing job shops.
“Mold makers working in a job shop build molds for component parts for all types of products that they see and touch and use every day,” he said. “Many of these products are quite successful, and most mold makers and shop owners quietly wish they could taste some of that success for themselves.”
Harrington believes that most mold shops have at least one mold stored on a pallet somewhere in their shop for a product that never made it off the ground. He said that he became aware of a need for higher-quality restoration parts than were currently available when he restored his wife’s ’66 Mustang Fastback. During the buildup, Harrington had a chance encounter with another enthusiast who gave him the benefit of his industry knowledge about which parts might be needed. That was all it took to start a second venture. California Pony Cars was born, and it has turned into a successful business as well as a labor of love.
|The majority of the products available through CPC are made in the United States, including the horse-and-corral grille emblem held here by general manager Tony Gonzalez. During the tour, SEMA personnel from the membership, Show and research departments were able to highlight a wide range of association benefits that are designed to help companies such as CPC with shipping, insurance and employee education as well as product design and development.
“My first project was to manufacture the standard ’64½–’66 Mustang outside rearview mirror,” Harrington said. “I found out that the Taiwanese import product being supplied to the marketplace was inherently defective, lasting only a very short time, and I believed that I could make a better one and sell it to everyone who currently had the Taiwanese mirror. I was right, and I sold a lot of mirrors in a very short period of time.”
The next project was a reproduction gas cap for the ’65 Mustang, followed by a string of other products.
“With the mirror selling so well, I decided to build ’66 and ’67 Mustang gas caps as well,” Harrington said. “And it went on and on until California Pony Cars now produces more than 350 different products, including ’64½–’73 and ’05–’10 Mustang parts as well as a line of industrial products. California Pony Cars is licensed by Ford to sell their copyrighted and trademarked items. We employ about 30 people and have complete manufacturing, assembly and warehouse capability within our 17,000-ft. building. The mold shop builds 95% of its tools for outside customers and continues to support our California Pony Cars business as well.”
The majority of the products available through CPC are made in the United States. Harrington and Gonzalez offered the SEMA group a tour of the facility, where the association staff saw everything from a ’67 horse-and-corral grille emblem to CPC’s new ’05–’08 Mustang GT engine cover kit. The group also learned firsthand that CPC does not sacrifice quality for price and how the company is able to create innovative new products and exact reproductions of original parts.
“Diversification has truly been the key to our past success,” Harrington said, “and we believe it is the key to California Pony Car’s future.”
Harrington explained CPC’s operations to the SEMA group during a tour of the company’s facility in Ontario, California. The SEMA staffers learned how CPC is able to create innovative new products and exact reproductions of original parts.
In return for CPC’s hospitality, the visiting SEMA staff was able to give Harrington a better understanding of several benefits and services that are available to his company, including SEMA’s Freight Savings Plan; insurance services that include property and casualty insurance as well as employee benefits coverage; webinars that entail live broadcasts with personalized question-and-answer sessions or on-demand information with topics from the SEMA archive; the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Program, which has helped more than 400 students since 1984; new-vehicle Measuring Sessions that provide SEMA manufacturing members with an edge toward being first to market with new products; the Technology Transfer Program that gives manufacturing members access to CAD data from GM, Ford, Chrysler and Scion; and market research data, which provides business and sales insights into a wide variety of specialty-equipment segments.
If you would like to find out more about California Pony Cars Inc. and its products, please visit www.calponycars.com.
If you would like to have SEMA staff members visit your office or learn more about the association’s benefits and services, please feel free to contact the membership department by e-mailing email@example.com.