An enthusiast of the scene, Alex Shen opened SP Engineering as a tiny tuning shop out in the City of Industry, CA. Dedicated to building relationships through 11 years of unparalleled service, SP is now one of the power giants in the industry, distributing more than the Medellin cartel, and building cars with more power than Popeye on crack-laced spinach. With over 60 magazine-featured cars under his belt-30 of which landed covers-we ask Alex to spill some of his magical beans for our special Power issue.
Tuners and engine builders guard their secrets jealously. We at SP Engineering are no different in this respect. Company secrecy does not allow for a detailed engine building discussion. We can, however, discuss the SP philosophy to a degree, and offer up two of the company's highest profile vehicles: SP Sales Manager Hugh Le's screaming yellow EK4 Civic, and SP customer Ken Henderson's Jet Black MKIV Supra. But SP wrenches on many exotics, Hugh's Honda and Ken's Toyota represent vehicles the typical import lover can aspire to, although the builds on these cars are anything but typical.
Some say making big power is not that difficult and, to a degree, this is true. But making big power reliably with tractability is a horse of an altogether different color. Henderson's Supra has been built as a top-of-the-food-chain street monster, capable of torching the road course and standing mile events. In the same vein, the custom cage in Hugh's Civic makes its purpose known loud and clear. In both cases, the best of the best approach was taken by the owners, starting with a HKS F-CON V Pro engine management and wastegates for both cars, and extending to various Mugen, TSR, Fluidyne, ARC, Brembo, GReddy, VeilSide and other top-shelf aftermarket parts manufacturers. This isn't for everyone, but it's preferred by SP where motors are built to withstand more than 300 whp per cylinder and live to tell about it.
Since both cars have mod lists as long as your arm, I can only give you a few of the program highlights from each vehicle. The big hitter in Hugh's EK4 Honda is the rare and exotic HKS 3540 dual ball-bearing turbo. The Supra's power package includes an HKS 3.4L stroker kit and twin GT3240 dual ball-bearing turbos. The results are 687 whp and 462 lb-ft for Hugh's 2.0L monster at 30 psi, and 1,110 whp and 839 lb-ft for Henderson's beast, using C16 race gas and boosting to 36.8 psi. Both make these power levels at relatively low boost levels, a key ingredient of making power the SP Engineering way.