This Months Great Garage
|Martin Tomlinson: The Art of Racing|
|Martin Tomlinson has had many, many brushes with the racing world.
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From Rim to Rims A New Life Cycle for Latrell
Written byPublished 04/2006
On the professional basketball court, the 6’-5” Minnesota Timberwolves guard spins high to the rim, often making his points more affirmative with a slam dunk over taller players. And, when he’s not in the paint, the three-time NBA All-Star is behind the line, effortlessly dropping down three-pointers or simply stealing the ball from flat-footed opponents.
Off the playing floor, he’s on the showroom floor, with Sprewell Motorsports in San Gabriel, Calif. Formerly Dazz Motorsports, Spree’s high-horsepower playroom has become one the largest high-performance tire and wheel shops anywhere, with more than a million dollars in showroom inventory alone. The website, www.sprewellracing.com/, is heaven for aficionados — whether your motoring Eden is a customized truck, a nitroused import, a red-hot Ferrari, or a head-turning chopper.
In the real world at the shop or the digital web world, you can find more than 50 “shoes” — 22-, 24-, and 26-inch and all the way up to massive 30s — by manufacturers such as Carlsson, Brabus, BBS, Lorinser, AMG, Racing Hart, Racing Dynamics — and the incomparable Savini.
Latrell, though, has much more to get your head, and ride, spinning. Want to raise your Ford 250 or Hemi Dodge? His lift kits will send you heavenward. Looking for a suspension that ensures your Honda rides superhard — as unlike your dad’s cushiony soft Oldsmobile 98 as possible? You’ll find them at Motorsports. Spinners and floaters, too, that will hypnotize your street admirers.
Latrell’s place also has import tuners, logos and apparel, Brembo Brake systems, helmets from leading makers such as Shoei and HJC and almost any accessory you’ll need for the most tricked-out cycle in the county. In fact, Latrell has just gotten on the road with a new division, Sprewell-Motorcycles, that’s offering custom cycles, too.
“If it can be done to a car or a cycle,” Sprewell says, “we can do it or we can find you someone who can do it — from music customizing to paint.”
Sprewell’s grandfather was a mechanic, so he grew up in native Milwaukee with cars and basketball. His first ride was a ride-it-until-it-dies 1978 Monte Carlo; today, because of his success on and off court, he alternates his four-wheel driving between a Cadillac Escalade, a Mercedes-Benz S500, SL500, and S600, a Range Rover, a Diablo VT Roadster, and a Lamborghini Murciélago.
The California business is, then, an extension of his Wisconsin youth: “I wanted something to do after I was done with basketball, but I wanted something that I love to do — not just something to do,” he explains. “So, when someone approached me eight years ago about acquiring this business, I knew it would be a great opportunity. So I grabbed it.”
His drive to success as an entrepreneur repeats his drive as a college player and a pro. At Alabama, Sprewell averaged 17.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.8 steals as a senior. He led the Southeastern Conference in minutes played with 36.2 per game. Coming out of Alabama, he was selected in the 1992 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors in the first round as the 24th pick overall. He answered their high-flying expectations with becoming an All Star in his second NBA season and the team’s scoring leader four years in a row. He was the first Warriors rookie to post 1,000 points, 250 rebounds, 250 assists, 100 steals and 50 blocks in a season. His succeeding years as a pro have strengthened his reputation as a potent competitor.
“We want to offer our customers not just the largest possible inventory but the quickest and highest quality service anywhere,” Sprewell says. “I suit up for every game to win. I bring the same game when I suit up for the showroom.”
The Savini Standard
Sprewell Motorsports calls Savini Forged Wheels “a true masterpiece of craftsmanship.”
“By offering these very special wheels,” Sprewell says, “we are satisfying our customers’ extreme demand not only for ‘custom perfect’ fitments but the closest wheels we can get to perfection itself.”
The multi-piece forged wheels ideally complement exotic and luxury cars with state-of-art technology and European inspired designs, he explains. Savini markets itself in this way: “The passion for the finest was born — and it led to the creation of the Savini Forged Signature Series.”
Based in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., the company offers 13 different wheels designs — with others expected to roll out soon. The three-piece Exoticus SV Series includes 19-, 20- and 22-inch wheels for cars, and the two-piece Terrain ST series, including 20-, 22-, 24- and 26-inch styles for SUVs and light trucks.
Savini engineering is unparalleled: The 5052 material for the inner rim is anodized for corrosion protection. Competitors use, for instance, 5052 with chrome plating, which creates peeling, the company says. Moreover, Savini precision-machines its centers on a state-of-the art rotary forge presses, using forged 6061 aircraft-quality aluminum. A curled-edge design for the inner and outer rims increases strength, and Savini also uses a safety hump design for both. All of its wheels are fully compatible on O.E.M, Brembo Brakes, and BrakePros systems.
Moreover, the sensor-compatible wheels will accept tire pressure monitoring systems on all original equipment systems. Savini, in fact, has patented TPMS for three-piece wheels in the market
Outer rims are hyperpolished, then bright anodized. Paint finishes include pearl white, diamond black, midnight blue, cherry red, gold yellow, hyper silver, chrome, and brushed aluminum, and the company will also accurately match colors. Center caps are 3-D with a chrome ring available in pearl white or diamond black.
“When a customer places an order for a set or sets of these very special wheels, our target turnaround is just two weeks,” Sprewell explains. “When you consider the standards they adhere to every there, that’s outstanding”
The company maintains an assembly line inhouse with custom–made tools to create components such as proprietary bolts imprinted with the Savini name. The company also has a 5 CNC machine, a fully computerized unit that cuts wheel designs, and a super-precise lathe.
Throughout the process, the stringent quality controls apply, using the TUV industry standard. Even an air leak test is completed for the valve guides and extensions.
“Savini,” Sprewell says, “simply sets the standard for craftsmanship and customer satisfaction.”
Sprewell has kickstarted a new division: Sprewell-Motorcycles onsite and at Sprewell-Motorcycles.com. The division will offer not only a full line of accessories but fully customized, limited-edition bikes for those who want the ultimate ride.
“Bikes are so big now,” Sprewell says. And, I love to ride. It’s a completely different road feel and culture than with cars and trucks.” His garage has two Hyabusas, some choppers, an Eddie Trada Sinister, and a couple of Borguettes.
The debut bike is a 2005 Suzuki Hayabusa, for which the company will be taking orders this summer. The custom cycle, in a color picked up Sprewell, will be tricked with RC Component Wheels, 17 x 3-inch in the front and 17 x 6.5-inch in the rear. The bike will be set up with Öhlins shocks as well as a steering dampener and Brembo Brakes Race Series. The fully-chromed frame will feature 15 blue LEDs, and H.I.D. high and low beams will keep you focused at night.
An RK chain will ensure that everything, and you, moves down the road swiftly and safely, and a BMC airfilter will keep your air clean and powerful. To also see well behind you, Motorsports places an all-weather rearview camera neatly, almost invisibly, under the tail.
Matsushima Performance of MontClair, Calif., will perform the middle cam and engine work, and the Motorsports mechanics will install a Yoshimura full-exhaust system including headers and pipe. A Power Commander fuel injection and ignition timing unit will maximize performance. “When we’re done, we’ll dyno to make sure we’ve squeezed every inch of power out of the bike,” Sprewell says.
Up top, you’ll sit on a custom suede seat, and Icon Monitors will rest in the front wind screen facing out; one will be inside, replacing the stock cluster, and tripling as a DVD monitor, a rear view monitor and a digital cluster. On either side are 3-inch QSD tweeters, a critical mass sub woofer along with QSD mids and highs. Xtant amps power the audio and video setup. “This system pumps out 150 watts of pure power,” Sprewell says. “It sounds better then most car audio systems!”
If you want your own street bike customized, the Sprewell Motorsports experts will turn it into artwork and a performance icon. The division partners with RC Components to ensure that you’re aware of the finest custom wheels that will look best on your chopper, hog or Gold Wing.
You can look best, too. Alpinestar and Sprewell Motorsports have teamed to provide superlative riding apparel, from women’s wear to track jackets and causal wear. Add custom helmets either with a Sprewell Motorsports logo and graphics or with a club logo or your insignia.
However you’re branded and whatever you’re wearing or riding, Sprewell Motorsports is the best place to navigate toward cruising happiness — a custom combination of a hot name and a hot commodity The Sprewell reputation has immediate cachet, of course, and the after-market market has simply boomed to high-decibel levels with cable shows such as “Pimp My Ride,” in which lucky short-pocketed owners get steroid makeovers on their pudgy beat-up rides — like transforming Homer Simpson into Fabio.
Sprewell: “Our success? It’s simple: People just love their cars, trucks and cycles. They want to customize them, and we’ve got the rims, accessories and the service for every one of them.”
On Sprewell-Motorcycles.com, enter the coupon code of “Highline,” and get a 10 percent discount on anything in the catalog.
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