German guys can be hard-core, especially when it comes to beer and cars-my kind of guys. When you spend a week with German automotive engineers, you learn quickly that it's either their way or the wrong way. You see this in their automobiles, flawless, purposeful and uncompromising.
For an American to be accepted and respected by the German automotive fraternity is a true validation of one's automotive worthiness. Few in the aftermarket are in that fraternity and even fewer are non-German
It's been 25 years since Steve Dinan started revolutionizing the American BMW tuning community. At that time, Detroit steel was still king and the Japanese were making econoboxes. The era of European dominance was only on the horizon. Tuners like Dinan struggled to enhance the performance potential of BMWs, bringing them out from under the tyranny of emissions control.
After 2 1/2 decades of dedicated effort, Dinan has become the most recognized BMW tuner in the U.S. Started as a small BMW repair shop that made suspension components for 320is and 2002s, Dinan grew in the mid '80s, making turbo kits and doing ECU tuning. Dinan's turbocharged E28 M5 and E24 M6 were major steps in obtaining recognition for its products. Its first 50-state emissions-legal turbo systems appeared on the 850 and 750 BMWs; it was also at this time that the company started to moved from turbocharging to supercharging.
In 1996, BMW recognized the quality of Dinan's products and began honoring them as part of its factory warranty program. Not only have the Germans embraced his work, his name is held in the same regard as long-time European tuners Alpina, AC Schnitzer, Hartge and Hamann. Dinan's products are now sold through certified BMW North America dealers and are covered under BMW's factory warranty, as are Authorized Dinan BMW Certified Pre-owned vehicles. This level of factory support is rare not only in the U.S. but in Europe as well.
To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Dinan held an open house at its Morgan Hills facility. With more than 400 people in attendance, the facility's parking lot was packed with Dinan-equipped cars, including older 320is and 2002s, an S2 Z8 and a one-off 5.6-liter twin-turbo 850 CSI super coupe. european car Magazine, Yokohama Tire and Koni had display booths and gave away products to attendees.
In addition to the parking-lot car show, Dinan provided a catered barbeque and held a raffle-just its way of saying thank you to its customers' 25 years of loyalty. The real treat of the event, however, was the guided tour of the R&D facility lead by Steve Dinan himself.
Visitors were guided through the installation and research bays where MINIs, M3s, an M5, a Z4 and pieces of race equipment were in various states of teardown and buildup-visual proof of how well Dinan's parts are packaged within the vehicle. Steve explained in detail the design and R&D process and showed samples of each stage-from the rough fabrication models to computer designs and rapid prototype models to the final production unit.
Also included in the tour was a visit to Dinan's engine and chassis dyno facility-which is used for engine management calibration-and its exhaust manufacturing facility. At the end of the tour visitors were shown examples of the CFD and FEA simulations used in the engineering process.
The quantity and quality of Dinan customers present was ample evidence of what 25 years of quality products and service can achieve. Here's to another quarter century of BMW tuning from Dinan.