Company founder Ed Hamburger started his first performance parts business in 1970 by leveraging his Drag Racing accomplishments, which included his induction into the NHRA NED Drag Racing Hall of Fame. He set up a unique business that featured a product line of performance engine, transmission and suspension components, developed exclusively for small block Chrysler-equipped race car applications. His company was also one of the first Chrysler Direct Connection Performance Parts Distributors in the country.
The next chapter on this interesting journey, which eventually led to Ed forming his current Company, was the creation of another well-known company in the Performance Parts Industry, Hamburger’s Oil Pans, which Ed formed in 1975, and operated simultaneously with his Chrysler performance parts business until he sold it in 1988.
Over the next 20 years, Hamburger’s Oil Pans became the dominant performance oil pan supplier in NASCAR Cup Racing and NHRA Drag Racing, with over 85% of participating race cars using his oil pans. By the time the Oil Pan company was sold to Mr. Gasket Co. in 1995, more records were set and races won by cars equipped with Hamburger’s Oil Pans in sanctioned motorsports events throughout the country, than any other oil pan manufacturer at that time.
In 1987, just before selling his Chrysler performance parts business, Ed formed SLP (Street Legal Performance), which has since become the company he operates today, Specialty Vehicle Engineering.
SLP’s initial claim to fame was having the distinction of being the very first company in the Performance Parts Industry to develop and manufacture a totally integrated and emission legal performance package in all 50 states, for a performance vehicle (1988 V8 Camaro and Firebird), providing a significant performance gain, while also improving fuel economy. This accomplishment was recognized by SEMA when it nominated Ed’s Company’s performance package for Best New Product at the 1989 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The package included stainless steel headers, stainless steel cat-back exhaust system, high-flow intake runners, cold air induction system, and a revised PCM E-Prom. Installing this package on a Tuned Port Injection 350 CID engine-equipped 1988 Camaro resulted in a 50 horsepower gain, a one full second reduction in 0-60 MPH times, a 6 MPH increase in top speed, and a 2 mile per gallon improvement in highway fuel economy, while still being emission legal.
With increased government focus on improved fuel economy and lower emission requirements, Ed sought to put clean muscle back into late model GM cars. He utilized his engineering background and a close relationship with GM to distribute his Company’s new line of high performance, emission-compliant products that improved fuel economy, through GM’s Performance Parts Division.
Adding Specialty Vehicles
The next milestone for SLP was the addition of limited production Specialty Vehicles in 1992, (Sold Exclusively Through GM Dealers), to the impressive lineup of performance parts it already offered to the aftermarket. Ed’s efforts with GM were rewarded with the GM-approved 4th generation RPO (Regular Production Option) Ship-Through Codes for the Camaro SS, RS, Firehawk, WS-6 and Comp-TA Specialty Vehicle programs. Over the next seven years Ed’s Company produced over 55,000 specialty vehicles for GM and its Chevy and Pontiac dealers, from its 140,000 sq. ft. Montreal-based assembly facility.
In August of 2002, GM ended production of the 4th generation Camaro and Firebird, which also ended production of the Company’s Camaro SS and Firehawk Specialty Vehicle Ship-Through Programs, and the closing of its Montreal facility.
For the next six years Ed’s Company focused primarily on expanding its product line of performance, handling and appearance products for all late-model Detroit-based performance cars, knowing that eventually GM would introduce the 5th generation Camaro, and maybe the Firebird as well.
In late 2007, word on the street was that the 5th generation Camaro would soon be coming. With this news Ed’s Company began in early 2008 developing the performance and appearance components that would eventually make up its G8-based Firehawk Supercharged Specialty Vehicle program, utilizing the Company’s existing GM Drop-Ship codes.
Next Generation of Specialty Vehicles
The first Firehawk production prototype was completed in November 2008. After extensive testing and CARB certification was completed, the car was sent to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Car & Driver magazine completed its road test in early January of 2009. Shortly thereafter the car was given to Motor Week TV, and they produced a show based on the Firehawk, which appeared on the Speed Channel in early 2009. Not long after the show aired GM announced it was closing its Pontiac Division at the end of the 2009 model year. Only 34 2009 Firehawk Specialty Vehicles were built at that point.
Fortunately, at the time of GM’s announcement about the untimely demise of their Pontiac Division, Ed’s Company had just completed Powertrain, Suspension and Body component development for their upcoming 5th Generation Camaro Specialty Vehicle Drop-Ship Program, so they immediately focused on start-of-production for this new Specialty Vehicle. Any Chevrolet dealer in the US and Canada could now sell its customers one of the Company’s Limited Edition ZL Camaro upgrades from 427 naturally-aspirated horsepower to 600 supercharged horsepower with a full Powertrain Warranty, and have it drop-shipped to the Company’s facility in Toms River, NJ.
The 2010 and ’11 ZL 575 Supercharged Camaro Specialty Vehicles were very successful and all 400 sold out shortly after their introduction.
For the 2012 and ’13 Model Years Ed’s Company added supercharged GM Full-Size Truck and SUV Specialty Vehicles for the Silverado, Sierra, Tahoe, Yukon and Escalade to their product lineup.
In March of 2013 Ed sold the Performance Parts assets of SLP in order to focus all of his efforts and resources on specialty vehicles, and renamed the Company “Hamburger’s Specialty Vehicles, Inc.” During a two year transition period, the Company was also licensed to use the trade name “SLP Specialty Vehicles,” which was abbreviated as “SV.”
New Supercharger Design
The next significant business-changing event at Ed’s Company occurred during the summer of 2013, when GM introduced its 2014 Full-Size Trucks and SUVs, equipped with the all-new Direct Injection 5.3L and 6.2L engines. At the time there weren’t any superchargers available for this new engine application from any of the existing supercharger manufacturers, so Ed decided this was the perfect time to design and manufacture his own centrifugal supercharger package and get into the supercharger business. It was the right decision to make, since GM planned on using the new Direct Injection engines in all future V8 Trucks, SUVs and car applications including Corvette and Camaro. Having its own supercharger would provide the Company with increased profitability, its own supercharger brand, and be able to offer its GM dealer customers an OE-quality supercharger that had many more benefits than the positive displacement superchargers it previously offered.
In August of 2013 SV purchased a new 2014 Silverado and started developing its all-new centrifugal supercharger. By the early part of 2014 SV’s new centrifugal supercharger package for the Full-Size GM Trucks and SUVs was in production and completed its emission certification not long afterwards, making it emission legal for sale in all 50 States. The new supercharger package was included in every SV 2014 and later Full-Size GM Truck and SUV Supercharged Specialty Vehicle package, and is still offered today for the same GM applications.
Company Name Change
In late 2014 Ed adopted a new name for the Company: “Specialty Vehicle Engineering”, that better described the company’s current business activities.
In February of 2015 Specialty Vehicle Engineering’s engineering department was notified by two of its software suppliers that PCM tuning software was now available for the first time for the current model year Jeep Wrangler and Dodge cars and trucks. Specialty Vehicle Engineering immediately purchased a new 2015 Jeep Wrangler and began developing a new centrifugal supercharger package for the 3.6L V6 engine.
For marketing purposes, Ed decided to use the Company’s registered name, “Hamburger’s Specialty Vehicles, Inc.” (abbreviated as “HSV”) on all Jeep/Dodge Specialty Vehicle packages, and to use the Company’s trade name “Specialty Vehicle Engineering” for all GM Specialty Vehicle packages.
To further support its marketing activities, HSV entered into a licensing agreement with West Coast Customs (WCC) in March of 2015, to produce a Limited Edition Jeep Wrangler featuring WCC Styling and HSV Supercharged Performance.
Adding Jeep and Dodge Superchargers
In June of 2015 the Jeep Wrangler centrifugal supercharger development work was completed. Emission certification was also completed by September 2015, making it emission legal for sale in all 50 states. Production parts became available over the next few months, and the 2015-’17 Jeep Wrangler Specialty Vehicle packages with 400HP continues to be sold exclusively through Jeep dealers in the US and Canada.
In July of 2015 development work began on HSV’s 2015-’17 Dodge Challenger centrifugal supercharger for the 5.7L Hemi engine, which produces 550HP. This program was finalized in late January 2016 and these units are now sold exclusively through Dodge dealers in the US and Canada. Once the marketing direction was defined, emission certification was initiated and completed over the next few months. It took a bit longer than usual because this certification also included 2017 Dodge Charger and Dodge RAM Truck, both with the 5.7L Hemi, since they were all in the same engine/emission certification family.
2016 Camaro Supercharger
On November 15th, 2015 GM went into production on their 2016 Camaro SS with the all new 6.2L 455HP Direct Injection Engine, a very late model year start-of-production. Specialty Vehicle Engineering received its 2016 Camaro SS early in January 2016. Development work on the new supercharger package started immediately and was completed in April 2016, resulting in 610HP. The car was then driven 4000 miles to meet the CARB mileage requirements before testing, and provided durability feedback on the supercharger. It was then sent to the California emission test lab in early November 2016 where it just completed emission certification testing, and is now emission legal for sale in all 50 states.