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Keith Craft Racing
December 2022
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Kirkham Motorsports

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 08-13-2022, 03:44 PM
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Default Sad news - Craft Racing Engines closes their doors for good -

Not sure if it's been noted here on Club Cobra, but one of our more prominet engine suppliers has closed their doors for good according to their website:

https://www.craftperformanceengines.com/

That's sad news. So many one here have spoken highly of Craft engines, under both Keith's and later Lance's leadership. Yet another respected member of our hobby has fallen victim to the dire economic situation our country finds itself embroiled in. This coupled with the fact that the hobby we all love and enjoy seems to be fading with the aging baby boomer population makes it that much harder for those who earn their living servicing our hobby.

Not much more to be said about the demise of respected Craft Racing Engines. It's just sad. Hopefully guys like Brent Lykins, Blair Patrick, etc can keep their businesses going until we come out the far side of all this economic mayhem.

Wishing the best for all of Craft Racing Engines employees and their families.
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Old 08-13-2022, 04:02 PM
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Very sad news.

You expect the underperformers to fail but it really sucks when one of the best has to shut down to circumstances that are not under their control. Sad indeed.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 08-13-2022, 04:20 PM
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OTOH, it's now an opportunity for Keith to buy his name back for pennies on the dollar.
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Old 08-13-2022, 04:32 PM
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This is a large loss of skills and experience. Their closure is a performance engine industry loss, especially as relates to the Ford FE.

The heads on my engine were CNC ported twice by Craft, once to stage II level and a 2nd time to stage III porting. I've purchased proprietary parts from them several times.

The absolute best advice I received for an engine issue that plagued me for about 5 years, was speaking with Lance. I described the issue and in 10 minutes or less, he told me what was likely the root problem. I followed his advice and the problem became history.
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Last edited by HTM101; 08-13-2022 at 04:34 PM..
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Old 08-13-2022, 08:03 PM
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Wow - end of an era. I remember an ad in the classified section of the Robb Report way way back when - early 90's - with a beautiful blue ERA powered by a "Kuntz & Craft" 427 side oiler that really played a role in rekindling my passion for Cobras.
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Old 08-13-2022, 08:08 PM
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Uhhh, I dunno. If I saw that engine builder's name on the valve covers it would be hard for me not to start cracking jokes....
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Old 08-13-2022, 08:09 PM
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:lol::lol::lol:
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Old 08-14-2022, 06:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 767Jockey View Post

Not much more to be said about the demise of respected Craft Racing Engines. It's just sad. Hopefully guys like Brent Lykins, Blair Patrick, etc can keep their businesses going until we come out the far side of all this economic mayhem.
That is a shame.

Iíll say this- Brent Lykins is apparently plenty busy. Iíve reached out to him several times about building me a stroker FE for my kids S-code Mustang and he never bothered to return my calls or messages, and finally when he did a month later, he didnít seem too interested and said he was booked out for 8 months (and then still didnít reply to my further messages). Disappointing. Iíve been impressed with his knowledge and attention to detail with his builds.
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Old 08-14-2022, 06:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 767Jockey View Post
Not sure if it's been noted here on Club Cobra, but one of our more prominet engine suppliers has closed their doors for good according to their website:

https://www.craftperformanceengines.com/

That's sad news. So many one here have spoken highly of Craft engines, under both Keith's and later Lance's leadership. Yet another respected member of our hobby has fallen victim to the dire economic situation our country finds itself embroiled in. This coupled with the fact that the hobby we all love and enjoy seems to be fading with the aging baby boomer population makes it that much harder for those who earn their living servicing our hobby.

Not much more to be said about the demise of respected Craft Racing Engines. It's just sad. Hopefully guys like Brent Lykins, Blair Patrick, etc can keep their businesses going until we come out the far side of all this economic mayhem.

Wishing the best for all of Craft Racing Engines employees and their families.
Every engine shop around is so busy, they cannot keep up. I visit multiple places that make aftermarket crankshafts, pistons, rods, lifters and aftermarket engine blocks for Chrysler and other companies. Again, none of them can keep up.

Sometimes those that are the best at being mechanically inclined are the worst at paperwork or even running a business.
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Old 08-14-2022, 08:56 AM
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I'm not in the engine building business but I suspect the issue isn't a lack of customers walking in the door or calling, it's more likely an inability to get the parts needed to complete the work they already have lined up. Then again it could very well be the aging of the main customer base of enthusiasts. The guys who are building the engines would have a whole lot better info on that than I can offer.

Last edited by 767Jockey; 08-14-2022 at 08:58 AM..
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Old 08-14-2022, 09:31 AM
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Engine shops that predominately sell complete engines and engine shops that sell machining services and parts have different business models.

The turnkey engine shop can have his business cycle not just interrupted but actualy completely stopped by a specific part shortage or lack of availability. The shop that sells machining services and parts can still contiinue with the majority of its business if a part becomes unavailable. The complete engine shop can not ship and their customer can not use a partially complete engine.

The current supply chain delay issues and just the broad based parts availability across all industries is haveing a devastating effect on the business cycle and in an increasingly troubling way a terminal effect on a growing number of businesses.

Craft Engines had a very good line of finished engine product offerings but were being held hostage by the supply chain vagaries when it came to component availability for their completed engine product offerings. When your business model is rooted in either the services side or in the completed turnkey side of the business supply chain challenges have very different outcomes Ė neither is good, one is fatal.

Sad to see a quality shop like Craft have to close its doors.
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Old 08-14-2022, 03:02 PM
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Southern Automotive is building my FE stroked 390. Placed order in January of this year and they just got the Edelbrock heads which they ordered early in 2021. How in the world any small business can stay open or even plan for the future is beyond me.
Have a friend has a manufacturing business that builds hydraulic cylinders, when he gets a quote on stainless steel it is good for 24 hours. So much chaos, maybe the new 87,000 IRS agents can help sort it out.
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Old 08-14-2022, 05:00 PM
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Southern Automotive is a top-notch family-owned small business. They've been around since the seventies?
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Old 08-15-2022, 03:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SFSDFGT View Post
That is a shame.

Iíll say this- Brent Lykins is apparently plenty busy. Iíve reached out to him several times about building me a stroker FE for my kids S-code Mustang and he never bothered to return my calls or messages, and finally when he did a month later, he didnít seem too interested and said he was booked out for 8 months (and then still didnít reply to my further messages). Disappointing. Iíve been impressed with his knowledge and attention to detail with his builds.
I am swamped. I have more orders now than I've ever had and it's like having a bunch of kids who just want to live at home and don't want to leave.

All of my engines are fully custom, so most require custom pistons, head work, etc. Pistons have taken up to 14-16 weeks at times. I just got a quote back from Mahle for a custom piston and they quoted me 25 weeks. Molnar FE rods have been non-existent for months. TFS heads have been non-existent for months. Comp Cams has been out of FE flat tappet cam cores and now they are out of FE roller cores. One head porter retired. The other one had knee surgery and is out of pocket.

I do not consider it good business practice to keep on taking orders and deposits when there's no way to fill them.

If I didn't return a phone call/text/email, I'm very, very surprised. If you tried to reach out to me through YouTube or Instagram, I do not consider those reliable sources of communication and I apologize if I didn't respond. The private message notifications don't always come through on my phone. Email is the best way to get in touch with me. If you call, please leave a voice mail so I can distinguish you between the dozens of spam calls I get per day.

In response to the thread topic, this really hurt me to read about Lance closing up shop. That meant that employees had to be let go, family lives were upended.
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Old 08-15-2022, 11:15 AM
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Wait, there are no issues....
No shortages, supply chain open, zero inflation, job creation super high....

Its a shame when companies are dying as we cannot get materials, afford applied surecharge, get distribution aligned, even speak to a person that knows what their company does.

I know of at least one engine that has parts on back order for months.
Craft Racing Engines closes their doors for good - Sad sad news for sure

Am I alone on this?
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Old 08-15-2022, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SFSDFGT View Post
That is a shame.

Iíll say this- Brent Lykins is apparently plenty busy. Iíve reached out to him several times about building me a stroker FE for my kids S-code Mustang and he never bothered to return my calls or messages, and finally when he did a month later, he didnít seem too interested and said he was booked out for 8 months (and then still didnít reply to my further messages). Disappointing. Iíve been impressed with his knowledge and attention to detail with his builds.
Your experience certainly doesn't match up with mine. Brent has never failed to be responsive, supportive and helpful.

Hopefully the two of you can connect and get things sorted out.
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Old 08-15-2022, 08:53 PM
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Brent has always picked up the phone or texts even when I dont expect him to be working. He must have his phone by his side at all times.

John
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Old 08-16-2022, 12:04 AM
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Your experience certainly doesn't match up with mine. Brent has never failed to be responsive, supportive and helpful.

Hopefully the two of you can connect and get things sorted out.
Brent obviously did see this and reached out to me. The disconnect was apparently a rare event for us both, and unfortunately he is still too busy to get to my engine needs this coming winter despite me touching base with him on it over the past few years, but good for him that he is that busy. His talent is obviously in demand.
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Old 08-16-2022, 09:27 AM
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I’m sad to hear that as they built my stroked 428 and it’s running strong. The heads on it were personally ported/polished by Keith before he sold the business to Lance. Knowing how they felt about the effects of the Government on a small business, I wouldn’t be surprised if the future hiring of all these additional IRS auditors could have been the last straw. Not really but they would appreciate the irony.
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Old 08-17-2022, 06:58 AM
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Does anyone know of contact info for the attorney handling their closure (bankruptcy?)? Someone on the FE forum is trying to get in contact with them over his parts and deposit he had left there. Apparently it’s all in the hands of attorneys now.
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