State of Business

Employees

Challenges abound in selecting employees that meet our internal needs and are capable of delivering exceptional customer service.

We find ourselves in a transition once again. Our good friend Chris T. has left us to pursue his dream of being a real estate agent. I fully support his effort to chase a more lucrative career, but still lament the loss of his contribution to operations and his cheery personality. Best of luck to you Chris!!!

As most of you probably realize from reading this blog, we brought Jason Griffith on as a Product Development Engineer a few months back. He’s already made a mark in the Northwest Mazda scene. His enthusiasm for performance engineering is inspiring us to look at all sorts of new products. I expect many exciting products to be released in the coming months and a few ‘I can’t believe they did that’ products in the next year or so. You won’t believe what we’ve got in store.

Customer Service

The remaining six of us continue to truck along, providing excellent products we stand behind with exceptional customer service. Providing the highest level of customer service is our top priority. We have not yet been able to solve all issues with 100% customer satisfaction, but hey, some of you are a bit demanding 😉 and we are human, but we won’t stop trying. We’ve got a great new system to track these issues and are bringing them to a close even faster than we used to.

Economy

Recently, we heard that a relatively new company in our industry went of business. In all reality, it was probably a product issue that did them in. My point is that we have been here for over 11 years, we know how this business works, and we know what it takes to succeed and continue to provide you, our customers, with the highest quality performance parts, and the best price. I believe there is value in that to you, our customer. If you have a problem, we will be there trying to fix it.

The economy right now is horrible, there is no doubt about it. I expect more businesses to fail. We are entering the slow season for sport compact performance parts, as less people modify their cars during the winter months than during the sunny summer months. Cash flow tightens, the bills keep coming in, and eventually you can’t pay UPS to ship parts. Being able to ride out the slow times and still make significant progress and develop new parts is one of the things we here at CorkSport pride ourselves on.

Protect Yourself

We’ll be fine. We’ll never take a customer’s money then close up shop without a refund as long as I’m in charge! My recommendation, regardless of what kind of purchase it is, is that you make sure that you purchase from strong companies in this economy. Or you could be left out in the cold when they suddenly disappear. It’s happened to me personally, and it sucks.

Our policy (except in the case of special orders where a down-payment is collected) is that we don’t bill you until we ship the part. This protects you from paying credit card interest on parts you don’t even have yet and also reduces the risk of your money disappearing. Of course, if you chose PayPal, we have little control over that. For this reason, recommend credit cards versus PayPal; it makes everyone’s life easier.

Finally, keep buying parts for your car! Chicks dig modified cars, I mean, look at all the import magazines, they’re all over them! 😉

– Rich

CorkSport Goes to SevenStock XII

We attended Sevenstock XII down in sunny Irvine, California on September 26th for a fun day of Mazda rotary-powered goodness. The event was held at Mazda’s headquarters which has plenty of parking and provides a great backdrop for the biggest rotary event in the world. As you can see below, when we arrived we were greeted with a reminder of what Mazda is all about.



There was plenty of Mazda’s favorite catch phrase on display at the event. Row after row of rotary powered vehicles were in the parking lot, and the enthusiasts who drove them there could be found wandering around taking it all in. The people in charge told us that there were more cars at this year’s event than there had been at any previous Sevenstock.




Sevenstock always has people who had travel long distance to reach the show, but this year we saw some people who travelled especially far. RE-Amemiya and Knightsports flew in from Japan to get more acquainted with US rotary fans, and hopefully spread the word about their parts. We drove 1000 miles to setup a booth at the event and show off some of CorkSport’s new parts for rotary vehicles. A lucky RX-8 owner won the newly released CorkSport RX-8 Racepipe we donated to the Sevenstock raffle.


There were some really outstanding cars at the event. I particularly liked the white FD below with the 99 spec front end conversion installed. The car even had a rare Mazdaspeed vented hood.




In my opinion, the best sounding engine at the event was a 4-rotor in the time attack RX-8. The best way to describe a 4 rotor engine sound to someone who has not heard one is that it’s like an F1 engine only better. The motor has wicked fast throttle response and took maybe a second to redline while free revving.




It was great getting to talk to everyone at the event and chatting with customers about their cars. I look forward to next year’s event to see great cars and great people again. If you have the means, please stop by our booth at any of the shows we attend!

Derrick

CorkSport September 2009 Swap Meet and Dyno Day

We had our swap meet and dyno day on Saturday the 19th. The weather for the day was pretty ominous with rain forecasted from early morning to around noon and it was right on. At 6am the rain started up but that didn’t stop us from getting the event going.


10am with the rain coming down


Alan Webb Mazda showed up at the event early and brought along some parts to sell at a discount and a new 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 to show off. We had the swap meet spaces in doors to keep people dry during the entire day. There were lots of good deals to be had at the event that we offered and other people brought as well.


People checking out the deals (including the sweet RE-Amemiya MS3 hood)


We had almost the entire Mazda range of models represented at the event. All models of Rx7s, Rx8s, Mazda Proteges (new and older models), Miatas, Mazda 6s, and Mazda 3s.


Scott’s FC with the drift damage can be seen at the right (Scott too)


The dyno event had 20 cars on run on it during the day. The best power made was a NB Miata with a GT3076R turbocharger at 400 wheel hp. The car is very un-assuming until the driver hits the throttle.


The biggest dyno number of the day went to the red Miata above.


The day even had a few surprises in it too. The 1st gen Rx7 after its dyno run drove around the parking lot and the tie rod end broke. After a quick assessment and help from CorkSport the tie rod end was repaired and the car was back on 4 wheels. Thankfully it happened in our parking lot and not on his drive home.


Oh Snap!


Thank you to everyone for coming out and making the event despite the not so pleasant weather early in the day. I would like to mention a special thanks to Alan Webb Mazda for braving the weather and to MazdasNW group for driving down from the Seattle area.

Derrick

Old Memories

Remember when the first Veilside body kits came out back in the late 90s? Back in 1998 those kits were incredible! Another must have item for style was wheels made by the company Niche. They had some cleverly done up advertisements in Sport Compact Car Magazine that that caught my attention. Niche was not exactly Rays Engineering but they were very cutting edge.



Speaking of Sport Compact Car, I remember reading that magazine when Shiv and Dave were contributing editors. Project cars back then were mostly FD Rx7s and too many Hondas to count. Every once and a while a Mazda would pop up in the articles and features. Our CorkSport KL-ZE swapped Mx3 was featured in the March 2000 issue. My favorite quote, “I never thought a Barney Purple MX-3 could look so badass”.

All of these things have one thing in common; they are not with us anymore. You can still buy the original Veilside kit but with all the knockoffs I haven’t a real one in 10 years. Niche wheels have been out of the market for years. Sport Compact Car (after Shiv and Dave left) went downhill and had become just another car magazine. The owners of the magazine killed it last year.

Things change for the good and the bad. One thing that hasn’t changed is that CorkSport is still here to support Mazda enthusiasts, and we thank you guys for all your support over the years.

Derrick

Product Testing Has Never Been So Fun!

I have finally got some time to polish the washer behind the steering wheel on the 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 and I can without a doubt say it is an unbelievably fun car. I come from a world of cars that have an immense amount of what I like to call ‘Soul.’ Meaning they’re rickety and loud and generally belch mass quantities of fuel out the tailpipe on tipping into the throttle after 7500rpm decel because the 45mm Weber DCOE’s are washing the cylinder walls down like a firehose. So for me to drive a refined car is usually an exercise in complaining about how quiet it is or that it doesn’t have enough of this so called ‘Soul.’ Meaning I feel out of place because I’m actually in a nice car that behaves like it should and also accelerates and handles like a monster. It’s my exercise in self justification that my 70’s and 80’s cars have something that replaces the refinement that I am so dearly missing.

During the product validation phase for our Power Series Intake System we found that the 2010 Speed3 has a very low tolerance for improved intake designs – the window for fuel trim on the 2010 seems to be far narrower than it was with the 2007-2009. And the car runs pig-rich at wide open throttle from the factory, and from what we can tell Mazda wants to keep it that way. Which is ridiculous – maximum best torque isn’t made at 10:1 AFR. We have managed to design a system that pushes the envelope for power and also resides at the upper end of the safe zone as it relates to ECU Long Term Fuel Trims (LTFTs). This required us to spend a lot of time behind the wheel with an OBD2 datalogger to gather data off the 2nd Gen. ECU. We’d then head back to the lab to crunch some numbers and improve our understanding of what the ECU wants to see, what factors effect that and how to manipulate them for safe running and excellent power while simultaneously avoiding the dreaded CEL/MIL light. And no, the first step of the install instructions aren’t ‘Remove Gauge Cluster and cut traces on Tachometer circuit board that lead to check engine LED.’

But wait, this technical background story is nothing compared to the best part – all those hours behind the wheel!! After countless hours of punching up and down the freeway at various levels of cruise, I switched gears and took the 2010 out on one of my favorite loops… Until this point, I hadn’t had a good opportunity to really see what the car was capable of, as most of my time in it was on commutes and around town driving.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with where we’re located, CorkSport is in Vancouver, Washington – right across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon. Vancouver is in the shadow of Mt. St. Helens, the cascade range volcano that blew 2000′ off its top in 1980. I live about halfway between Mt. St. Helens and Vancouver and the North Clark County area has an amazing array of roads snaking over the landscape. Banked 180 degree curves abound and just when you’re ready to pull over and lean your head out to paint the tarmac with your lunch, the road opens up to 1-2 mile straights that give your inner ear the slightest respite prior to wrapping right back into beautiful Nurburgring-esque sweepers among gorgeous green foliage and narrow cliff-lined lakes.



The Speed3 performed phenomenally. There were plenty of areas for improvement, what with it having stock suspension, no strut braces, factory tires, etc. For the most part, however, it was a blast to drive. The factory brakes are surprisingly capable and the transmission gearing is perfectly matched for putting lots of power down through the curves and even more as the straights open up. The engine management provides a very crisp deceleration with its overrun (deceleration) fuel cut algorithm. There were a number of times when I had to remind myself that I was simply going waay too fast and back off in areas where sight distance was limited, but the car is so smooth to accelerate through 2nd, 3rd and 4th that it’s hard to realize you’re doing 90-100mph.

Coming from a predominantly rear wheel and all wheel drive background, the Speed takes some getting used to when hammering it around corners laying down 300lb-ft of torque. In sharp turns under acceleration, the massive torque-steer requires some elbow grease to reorient the treads to follow the road, but the benefit gained on big sweepers is well worth the tradeoff provided in the FWD drivetrain configuration. This is a wonderful car and if you can get past the torque steer and not be bothered by it (which takes very little time from what I’ve found), the benefits had from the power that causes it far outweigh the initial surprise of how heavy handed the car can be under certain conditions. But for me, the torquesteer is an excellent addition – I think I have slowly identified that what I see to be the feeling of ‘Soul’ in a car is really just elements of a visceral experience – and the torquesteer is the only unrefined and live thing about the car that reminds you that you’re not driving your girlfriend’s Jetta. As automotive enthusiasts we long for these elements in our cars which is why we love to modify them – a throaty exhaust system and an intake / turbo inlet that allow you to hear the turbo spool up both go a long way to bringing your Mazda’s Soul out of its cage and to the surface.

Jason