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Where It All Started—Paul’s High Performance

Posted By: Ainsley Jacobs
Where It All Started—Pauls High Performance
Written by Ainsley Jacobs
Photography courtesy of Paul’s High Performance
Developing vehicles and OEM performance parts isn’t just the job of the manufacturer’s engineering and design teams. Often, outside individuals are brought in for consulting and real-world testing. For the past three decades, Paul Svinicki played an integral part in Ford Performance’s program, and his business, Paul’s High Performance, thrived courtesy of the collaboration.
Svinicki, now 67 years young, grew up in a small town in Michigan. Ever since he was six years old, he had a wrench in his hand. His grandfather, Steven Kakuk, inspired Svinicki’s love of speed, and he raced competitive dirt bikes as an adolescent. To fund his hobby, he took up many odd jobs and began fixing up cars over the years. Eventually, he bought a home and built a 40x60-foot pole barn with his brothers.
“Everyone knew I knew how to tune and work on cars to make them faster, so as a side job, I’d take on street cars and 4x4 projects,” shared Svinicki, who had some Paul’s High Performance jackets made up to make his side gig a bit more official in the early 1990s. “I ended up doing enough work to pay off the pole barn in one year.”
Through his motorcycle racing, Svinicki was familiar with Dynojet’s dynamometers. When the company introduced its first car dyno at the 1995 Performance Racing Industry Show, Svinicki placed an order on the spot. “I was excited to be able to quantify exactly what effect any changes we made would have,” said the engineer at heart. “I started hunting for a new building after that.”
When the perfect place proved not to be, the setback turned into a blessing in disguise as Svinicki soon located an even better facility in Jackson, Michigan, where he has stayed ever since. Doors were officially opened in 1996, and not long after, he hosted a Ford Motorsport Enthusiasts club meet-up.
That fateful day, attendees ran their rides on PHP’s newly installed Dynojet. One man — who turned out to be Jerry Green from Ford Motorsport SVO — was skeptical of his resulting numbers; after Svinicki proved to be the real deal, Green called the very next day and requested he come to FoMoCo’s Dearborn-based offices.
Svinicki impressed the executives so much that he started a partnership with Ford Motorsport (now Ford Performance) that endured for three decades. “I was part of the launch releases for the Mach 1 and Marauder and the SVT Cobra and Cobra Rs… it was pretty cool,” recalled Svinicki.  “I did a lot of projects with the late Daryl Bassani, and his presence is sorely missed.”
Over the years, Svinicki spent countless hours tearing apart, rebuilding, and racing multiple iterations of Ford’s famous Mustang with factory backing. Each time, he improved the core configuration and shared valuable data with Ford’s top engineering team to enhance the end product that would ultimately be delivered to the general public. 
Svinicki was invited to exclusive events, test sessions, and proving grounds and always showed true professionalism, enthusiasm, respect, and gratitude. “A lot of friends and family over the years helped make this happen, as well as the media’s exposure and the manufacturer’s trust in me, and I’m blessed for the opportunities,” he added. His strength of character, credibility, and integrity were all key factors in his longevity in the industry. “Those were the good ol’ days was racing was so pure and enthusiast-driven.”
Paralleling his time at Ford, Paul’s High Performance ultimately benefitted from the name Svinicki had created for himself. From his early days in the pole barn to the official storefront and shop facility, Svinicki expanded his business. Specializing in high-performance part and accessory installs for Ford Mustangs, Chevrolet Camaros, and Chevrolet Corvettes, PHP also offers engine builds to select customers, suspension setup, wiring, custom-designed aftermarket upgrade parts, and more.
A racer in his own right, who currently competes his Godzilla-swapped 2010 Cobra Jet in NMRA Open Comp and the Cobra Jet Showdown, Svinicki knows the importance of giving back to the community that carried him throughout his storied career. In addition to providing hands-on help to those in need, he also shows support for the series in which he races by sponsoring the 2023 TorqStorm Superchargers NMRA/NMCA Power Festival Presented by Paul's High Performance and the Godzilla Showdown at the 2024 NMRA 25th Anniversary Ford Homecoming.

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