BMWBLOG is hanging out this week with BMW Car Club of America during their annual Oktoberfest.
Today’s big event was touring DINAN’s Factory in Morgan Hill, CA. DINAN engineers assemble aftermarket parts and engines for BMWs as well as Rolex race cars. Steve Dinan started the company in 1979 in his garage while working on his own BMW and couldn’t get parts to work the way they should. Then in 1980, he started racing BMWs. This was in addition to building engines, doing the machine work as well as the car set up. Now, however, he has 60-70 employees and he manages it all. The engineering staff at DINAN is now bigger than the entire company was in the early 80s.
DINAN has been competing in the Rolex Series where they have won the last three championships in a row. DINAN also won the 2012 and 2013 24 hours of Daytona. BMW’s only other win was back in 1975 in a 3.0CSL. In their first season in 2010, DINAN won 9 out of 10 races and had 2 second place finishes. Steve says that the other teams were so mad at DINAN that they crashed them out of what would have been DINAN’s 10th win of that season. As Steve says, “when your competition hates you, you know that you have done something correctly.” DINAN’s Rolex series records include most number of laps led, most number of podiums, most number of points but not most poles.
DINAN has six cars and three teams running in the Rolex series. They also do six engines for the Continental Series which is a slower class more closely based on street cars. 2014 is going to be a challenging year as ALMS and Grand AM merge their series. They have to create a new set of rules and Steve expects some serious teething pains as the governing bodies figure stuff out. Dinan does expect to pick up some more teams from this merger so look for DINAN’s race engine building to be very busy in 2014.
The company didn’t set out to be a manufacturer, as years ago he used to modify existing parts to fit his need. However, he ended up modifying so much of it that he would change 90% as the quality was just not there.
What doesn’t DINAN make? They don’t make wheels, tires, turbocharges or brakes. Honeywell makes turbos for DINAN at the specs DINAN requires. Everything else, however, they make. He does uses companies all over the world to supply parts that DINAN needs and then twelve of his employees bolt, weld and assemble everything at the Morgan Hill factory. Utilizing suppliers keeps DINAN from having to have a foundry or a stamping machine to make metal parts. However, the design and assembly is still in house so DINAN can control quality.
In the 33,000 sq feet facility they also manufactures racing and street engines. They have a wicked engine dyno they demo’d for us with Rolex motor that had some cool blue valve covers. DINAN uses a special car dyno that actually bolts to the hubs! DINAN has a huge fan that can force 75mph wind into the front of the car, far exceeding the typical 30 mph fan most dynos have. According to Dinan, if the BMW gets too hot on the dyno, the software will retard the timing and you wont get accurate results.
Steve Dinan has clear passion for BMW cars. He was focused on giving the tours to several hundred people and gave the tours himself in groups of about 30. He speaks crazy fast while ripping off incredible physical descriptions of how motors work and why it makes sense to modify things the way DINAN does. DINAN usually has about ten BMWs they own to use for R&D. It takes approximately 18 months for each car to have parts developed and tested and ready for market.
Steve Dinan formed his company with a goal to get a better engineered part, with better performance and less compromises along the way. DINAN has the best warranty in the market, that matches your BMW warranty 4 years of 50,000 miles. You can visit them at Dinancars.com