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Thank you Doug Levin motorsports DLM in Florida

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Thank you Doug Levin motorsports DLM in Florida
Old August 19th, 2014, 07:12 PM   #1
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Thank you Doug Levin motorsports DLM in Florida

Bought my Gen III used off an Alley member trading cars (THANK YOU Andy! AKA Oufan2929). Long story short is I had the car down there years ago when i first got it and had some work done and a few upgrades for my pulley system and exhaust with a new supercharger. I called today as I wanted to run it in a first race event in Pocono this October. Basically I wanted to know if I should throw a little race fuel into the tank or anything else as it is a 60 MPH roll race for a bit over a quarter mile.

Short story is Doug told me a lot of different things on HIS time which is his dime. he told me without hesitation, from changing plugs, we talked about filters and such and a ton of things that went beyond basics that I didn't consider. He did it WITHOUT offering a single product for sale too. With a lot of vendor reviews out there and unfortunately a lot of negativity for our small community, I thought this was worth mentioning here and entirely my idea.

I'm not a nutswinger by any means, so anyhow thanks Doug and just wanted my $.02 up for the help. Good after the sale service with no upsale and the service was immediate too so kudos to you.

PS: My DLM GEN III is going to kick some ass and perhaps go a bit faster and safer with your suggestions

Gary
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Old August 19th, 2014, 07:21 PM   #2
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I stopped by his shop unannounced last year and he took time out of his busy schedule to show me around and he even went home to get his lambo to give me a ride. Very nice guy and easy to deal with.
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Old August 19th, 2014, 07:24 PM   #3
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I stopped by his shop unannounced last year and he took time out of his busy schedule to show me around and he even went home to get his lambo to give me a ride. Very nice guy and easy to deal with.
That yellow TT Murc? Still have that, or another car? Nice to hear DLM name once in awhile as he stays so low key. I was only by his shop twice long ago.
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Old August 19th, 2014, 07:37 PM   #4
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that mutherfucker is a stand up guy. i wont go into any details but he couldnt have been easier or better to deal with on mine. dougs the real deal !
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Old August 19th, 2014, 08:50 PM   #5
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I never understood why he didn't get in to the TT viper business. Doug would always give me his opinion and even offered his help with a lot of things for free every time I called or dropped by the shop. With the current lack of honest TT viper tuners, Doug should really think about expanding into TT vipers. I know he's done a couple of TT Lambos.
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Old August 19th, 2014, 09:54 PM   #6
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I never understood why he didn't get in to the TT viper business. Doug would always give me his opinion and even offered his help with a lot of things for free every time I called or dropped by the shop. With the current lack of honest TT viper tuners, Doug should really think about expanding into TT vipers. I know he's done a couple of TT Lambos.
There really just isnt the market for a big investment with his time or finances to really get into it.
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Old August 19th, 2014, 10:28 PM   #7
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I never understood why he didn't get in to the TT viper business. Doug would always give me his opinion and even offered his help with a lot of things for free every time I called or dropped by the shop. With the current lack of honest TT viper tuners, Doug should really think about expanding into TT vipers. I know he's done a couple of TT Lambos.
You honestly would need to have your head examined to get into the Viper building/tuning market right now in any large capacity. Even with as low of a profile as I try to keep, if I wasn't aleady neck deep in it, I would have bailed out by now. There is no real money to be made, no thanks, and no recognition to speak of for your hard work these days. The fact is, most folks with any real money have moved into other makes, and the Gen-4+ cars deter people from ever starting to build them due to engine management hassles. The result is that viper development and "grudge competition" has nearly died, and most of the owners left are new car flippers who are in and out of the market in a year [ie, good luck making a name for yourself as they change hands constantly] or they are long-time owners that never had any intention of building big to begin with.

Sure, there are exceptions to every rule, and luckily I make my niche in the extreme high-end oddball builds that very often involve engineering/design, Viper engines into resto-mods, electronics and wiring/EMS/Tuning, etc. But, never did I think the day would come where I sit back and really have to think about even bothering to bring REAL demanded products to market. I am sitting on the most advanced and simple Gen-4/5 PNP ECU design ever conceived right now, as well as stalling any Gen-4/5 Blower packages, because I really do think it may be a waste of effort at this point. Going through the hassle to sell five packages makes absolutely zero business sense.

It sucks, it really does. But when customers regularly turn down properly designed products and refuse to listen to the facts, just to go buy some cheaper piece of shit to save a few bucks... Or worse yet, buy inferior products for MORE money just because every other idiot on the bandwagon did the same; the writing is on the wall for guys like me who actually have the knowledge to get the "cool" stuff done.

If I was a betting man, I would say that Doug saw the writing and had an exit strategy, just as most everyone else did who had any kind of large profile. And those who were left with any type of large footprint, have sure come to realize its a bit tough to run a business in a small market with little money floating around... especially when you try and "price war" your way up the food chain. NEWSFLASH: it takes profit to keep a business running correctly.

Yeah, yeah... pessimistic. I know, and I don't like it anymore than anyone else.
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Old August 19th, 2014, 10:43 PM   #8
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You honestly would need to have your head examined to get into the Viper building/tuning market right now in any large capacity. Even with as low of a profile as I try to keep, if I wasn't aleady neck deep in it, I would have bailed out by now. There is no real money to be made, no thanks, and no recognition to speak of for your hard work these days. The fact is, most folks with any real money have moved into other makes, and the Gen-4+ cars deter people from ever starting to build them due to engine management hassles. The result is that viper development and "grudge competition" has nearly died, and most of the owners left are new car flippers who are in and out of the market in a year [ie, good luck making a name for yourself as they change hands constantly] or they are long-time owners that never had any intention of building big to begin with.

Sure, there are exceptions to every rule, and luckily I make my niche in the extreme high-end oddball builds that very often involve engineering/design, Viper engines into resto-mods, electronics and wiring/EMS/Tuning, etc. But, never did I think the day would come where I sit back and really have to think about even bothering to bring REAL demanded products to market. I am sitting on the Gen-4/5 PNP ECU design right now, as well as stalling any Gen-4/5 Blower packages, because I really do think it may be a waste of effort at this point. Going through the hassle to sell five packages makes absolutely zero business sense.

It sucks, it really does. But when customers regularly turn down properly designed products and refuse to listen to the facts, just to go buy some cheaper piece of shit to save a few bucks... Or worse yet, buy inferior products for MORE money just because every other idiot on the bandwagon did the same; the writing is on the wall for guys like me who actually have the knowledge to get the "cool" stuff done.

If I was a betting man, I would say that Doug saw the writing and had an exit strategy, just as most everyone else did who had any kind of large profile. And those who were left with any type of large footprint, have sure come to realize its a bit tough to run a business in a small market with little money floating around.

Yeah, yeah... pessimistic. I know, and I don't like it anymore than anyone else.
That is to bad. I do understand but someone is going to have to take a chance and develop something. Can't sell what you don't have. The cheap market has pretty well self destructed now as it always will.
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Old August 19th, 2014, 10:54 PM   #9
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That is to bad. I do understand but someone is going to have to take a chance and develop something. Can't sell what you don't have. The cheap market has pretty well self destructed now as it always will.
I agree, and disagree at the same time.

Basically, what will happen is this: I will bring out an ECU and Blower package, all properly set up and ready to go. I will sell 5-10, MAYBE. By then, another vendor will have copied all of the brackets, mass produced them, undercut my pricing, and found a way to half-ass the engine management with HP Tuners or an FMU based system, and create something "good enough" for the unsuspecting consumer. Consumers will flock to the lower price, the next guy in line gets all the recognition, makes all the money, did none of the work, and had none of the risk/expenses... meanwhile I fade quietly into the background as everyone forgets who actually did all the work, and why the more expensive option is the legit one, and to top it all off, I get labeled as the "overpriced vendor".

I think that's a fairly accurate view of what happens these days, lol. History has a way of repeating itself, I have had enough of those scenarios to know that's a pretty good bet.

The only way around it is to remove the some of the risk by building one single prototype, and upon its completion, take non-refundable deposits on as large of an initial run as possible, and saturate the market before anyone gets any bright ideas about throwing you under the bus... but, some other vendors have done a pretty good job of scaring people off giving production deposits like that.

The market is a mess, and unfortunately protecting yourself from copycats is another big problem these days, almost as much as development risk. Hell, I don't even have to actually demonstrate something in some cases. There are vendors who have run with product changes/ideas I have simply posted in writing somewhere. When a vendor does an about-face on their long standing package design all of a sudden, and then shows up with a near word-for-word physical example of what was posted somewhere three months earlier... its usually not a coincidence.

Last edited by Final GTS; August 19th, 2014 at 11:29 PM.
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Old August 19th, 2014, 11:25 PM   #10
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I remember when the Roe blower came out, there really wasn't anything else FI at the time. He came out with a reasonably priced option and had people lined up.

I think you could do we in this space If the price point was reasonable. Maybe 12-15k. That's probably impossible given the tuning options available. If you come up with a DIY that is less than $20k that might be feasible as well. If it's over $20k plus installation and you are the only installer, your gonna sell 5-10.
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Old August 19th, 2014, 11:36 PM   #11
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I remember when the Roe blower came out, there really wasn't anything else FI at the time. He came out with a reasonably priced option and had people lined up.

I think you could do we in this space If the price point was reasonable. Maybe 12-15k. That's probably impossible given the tuning options available. If you come up with a DIY that is less than $20k that might be feasible as well. If it's over $20k plus installation and you are the only installer, your gonna sell 5-10.
I would agree, but at that time, the market was young, vendors more inexperienced, far less readily available machining capability, and there was a slew of specific and complicated parts in those kits... and used a blower/electronics from overseas. All in all, tough to make a copy of that, and have it be worthwhile.

On the other hand, Paxton head units are readily available, and packages consist on very basic brackets, spacers, hardware, belts and pulleys. Easy stuff to copy overall, regardless of the design hassle up front.

The price bracket on the Gen-4 stuff was supposed to be decently under 20K in any variation, and was going to be a shippable kit. I do know what you mean however.

Blah... I hate even having to think about this BS scenario.

Last edited by Final GTS; August 19th, 2014 at 11:41 PM.
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Old August 20th, 2014, 12:55 AM   #12
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That's why you go work on Lambos or GTR's
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Old August 20th, 2014, 06:54 AM   #13
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TT a viper or TT a lambo, doug must think there is more money in the lambo market. thats why he does that.
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Old August 20th, 2014, 07:14 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Final GTS View Post
I agree, and disagree at the same time.

Basically, what will happen is this: I will bring out an ECU and Blower package, all properly set up and ready to go. I will sell 5-10, MAYBE. By then, another vendor will have copied all of the brackets, mass produced them, undercut my pricing, and found a way to half-ass the engine management with HP Tuners or an FMU based system, and create something "good enough" for the unsuspecting consumer. Consumers will flock to the lower price, the next guy in line gets all the recognition, makes all the money, did none of the work, and had none of the risk/expenses... meanwhile I fade quietly into the background as everyone forgets who actually did all the work, and why the more expensive option is the legit one, and to top it all off, I get labeled as the "overpriced vendor".

I think that's a fairly accurate view of what happens these days, lol. History has a way of repeating itself, I have had enough of those scenarios to know that's a pretty good bet.

The only way around it is to remove the some of the risk by building one single prototype, and upon its completion, take non-refundable deposits on as large of an initial run as possible, and saturate the market before anyone gets any bright ideas about throwing you under the bus... but, some other vendors have done a pretty good job of scaring people off giving production deposits like that.

The market is a mess, and unfortunately protecting yourself from copycats is another big problem these days, almost as much as development risk. Hell, I don't even have to actually demonstrate something in some cases. There are vendors who have run with product changes/ideas I have simply posted in writing somewhere. When a vendor does an about-face on their long standing package design all of a sudden, and then shows up with a near word-for-word physical example of what was posted somewhere three months earlier... its usually not a coincidence.
You have to think long term. Sure...people rip off other peoples stuff and like you said they put out a half-assed product...but that takes care of itself in time. If you put out a quality product, have the proven engineering and expectations then people will pay for that. You are always going to have someone going cheap regardless of who is doing the product, but in the end those who are consistent with what they put out succeed. The half assed Viper tuners implode eventually when the word gets out about them.

Look at UGR. They did Vipers, and it worked out and lead to bigger and better things for them.
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Old August 20th, 2014, 07:26 AM   #15
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Doug is great to deal with. Quite a few parts of his, on my Paxton car.

Dan also nailed it. Viper guys are some of the cheapest coupon toting guys I know. In my own wheel business, the Mustang and Camaro customers not only buy more volume, but they also buy better quality and more expensive wheels. Corvette guys also buy the good stuff. Viper guys usually ask if I have any used stuff, or ask what brands cost the least.

Tony
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Old August 20th, 2014, 08:32 AM   #16
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Doug is great to deal with. Quite a few parts of his, on my Paxton car.

Dan also nailed it. Viper guys are some of the cheapest coupon toting guys I know. In my own wheel business, the Mustang and Camaro customers not only buy more volume, but they also buy better quality and more expensive wheels. Corvette guys also buy the good stuff. Viper guys usually ask if I have any used stuff, or ask what brands cost the least.

Tony
Plus used prices of Vipers have brought a whole new level of douchebaggery to the brand, with people thinking they can mod on a fox body budget
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Old August 20th, 2014, 09:25 AM   #17
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You have to think long term. Sure...people rip off other peoples stuff and like you said they put out a half-assed product...but that takes care of itself in time. If you put out a quality product, have the proven engineering and expectations then people will pay for that. You are always going to have someone going cheap regardless of who is doing the product, but in the end those who are consistent with what they put out succeed. The half assed Viper tuners implode eventually when the word gets out about them.

Look at UGR. They did Vipers, and it worked out and lead to bigger and better things for them.
I have been in this game for a decade. Its not getting better, its getting worse, exponential decay rate style. As mentioned above, the cost of these cars used right now is dragging this market even deeper into the gutter. I cannot even convey how cheap some of these guys are getting. Its like they BARELY could afford the used busted POS Viper they bought [and that's sad enough... that those actually exist!], and now expect it to be just like fixing an '88 Fox Body. Also, people seem to be completely resistent to reason. You know how people used to get cars inspected? Not anymore... they just buy the cheapest nightmare they can find, and then are surprised as shit when they end up owning a Jalopous Maximus [technical term], and try and pass off their mistake to you by trying to make a "deal".

The guys at UGR, Heffner, DLM, etc, or any properly run shop of that size that *was* in the viper market back then was a perfect example of right place, right time... and also came from a PREVIOUS market in most cases. They were in a good position to ride the wave into the Viper market, and then ride the wave out into Lambo. Unfortunately, there are no waves left in the Viper market to ride. I started as a Viper-dedicated business, which means I didn't have a full business model already in place or an old market to leapfrog from, and I was also about 3-5 years of growth behind those guys as a result. In short, even with exponential growth and catching up/passing in platform knowledge, capability, and tech... I ended up missing the boat. By the time I got to the party, everyone had moved to the next bar, I mean car. LOL.

Even I am re-evaluating what role the Viper market will play in my business in the future, as it is just not ripe for growth potential anymore unless something BIG changes in a hurry.

Last edited by Final GTS; August 20th, 2014 at 09:33 AM.
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Old August 20th, 2014, 10:14 AM   #18
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Yep, Doug Levin is the real deal.

I've had many conversations with him about my Paxton build and each one was probably 20 minutes long and the only thing I ever bought from him was one of his Tensioner Assists.

He is always willing to give out advice/info from his experience and acts like he enjoys doing it because he loves Vipers.

It sucks the Viper game is turning soft. When you can buy a GTS for $3X grand, you are going to get customers who don't wanna dump 30+ grand into a build to make power. It's just natural progression. A lot of these guys are buying the $35k dollar GTS on a loan even
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1997 Viper GTS- Front Mount Single Turbo
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