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Where It All Started—Proform Parts

Posted By: Evan J. Smith
Where It All Started—Proform Parts
Written by Ainsley Jacobs
Photography courtesy of the manufacturer
Officially licensed by Chevrolet, MOPAR, and Ford (until recently), Proform simply started as a bright idea from an enterprising entrepreneur. Today, the company is a global supplier of everything from engine dress-up parts to mechanical components and more, all because one man saw an opportunity and went for it.
Proform’s founder, a New England native who prefers to remain anonymous so that his work can speak for itself instead of tying his name to the company’s success, began his lifelong journey of developing business ideas when he opened a shop selling chemical products in 1970s. From there, he moved into selling triple beam scales, then digital scales used for a wide variety of things including a pocket-sized karat scale that was revolutionary in the diamond industry at the time.
“In the 1980s, he noticed the hot rod industry was growing significantly,” shared Ryan Salata, who currently works as the company’s Marketing Director and has been at Proform since 2016. “So, he transitioned into producing chrome dress-up parts and other bolt-ons, and founded Specialty Auto Parts USA, Inc. in 1984 to sell under the Proform brand name.”
Over the years, Proform expanded its product catalog and manufacturing capabilities to grow the list of available items. “As Proform got into valve covers, that led to other opportunities for ancillary and complementary components, as well as similar products,” Salata explained of the steady growth that transformed the company and led to supplier agreements with Ford and MOPAR, and a licensing deal with Chevrolet in the early 1990s. “In 2016, Proform came full circle when we started manufacturing vehicle scales as well, going from diamond-sized to vehicle-sized!
Based in southeastern Michigan since day one, Proform also expanded its physical footprint in addition to expanding its product offerings. Now, the company operates out of two buildings in Warren, Michigan, which house both its corporate headquarters and its distribution center as well as a well-seasoned team of employees.
“We design and engineer all of our creative products from intelligent concepts in-house in Michigan,” said Salata. The company utilizes a global supply chain and works with carefully selected manufacturers to develop products according to Proform’s exact specifications so customers can feel confident in their purchases. “Products are manufactured everywhere from right down the street to halfway around the world. And when it comes to finding innovative partners that can problem solve better than anyone… we find them.”
Customer service is imperative to Proform’s business model, as the company prides itself on being able to answer questions and concerns quickly. “We don’t have a long, complex phone tree, so when you call in, you just need to decide between tech support and customer service, and then you get a direct line of contact to speak with a real person. We even have live chat, which really benefits foreign customers where calling is challenging,” Salata added.
Proform remains a steady supporter of the NMRA and NMCA, with its longstanding sponsorship of the NMCA Proform Rumble championship category. “The grassroots and sportsman racers, the guys who work hard in the garage and race harder on the weekend; those are our people, and we provide better products at good prices for them,” affirmed Salata.
Whether it’s Proform’s original factory-licensed engine dress-up parts, or its 100-percent new aftermarket performance parts such as carburetors, starters, alternators, distributors, electric water pumps and fans, tools, and more, the overarching goal of the company is to provide enthusiasts with affordable innovation, style, quality, and valuable warranty-backed parts.

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