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    • The tuning world is unforgiving and rough, HPF closes its doors. R.I.P. Horsepower Freaks

      Sad, sad day indeed for the BMW community. The aftermarket tuning game is not an easy one. Especially when it comes to BMW's these days with ever increasing sophistication of their electronics and BMW doing everything in their power to prevent modification. Thankfully, there are some companies that simply do not give up and do what many say can't be done. For quite a while on the E46 M3 platform, HPF was forging ahead into territory nobody else was willing to tackle.


      The S54 engine in the BMW E46 M3 early on had a reputation of being made out of glass due to bearing failures. People said stock motors could not hold together let alone forced induction examples. This was quickly dispelled as the motor more and more often showed incredible gains with forced induction. HPF themselves pushed the motor to over 700 wheel on stock internals. Recently, people have been doing in the high 6XX wheel range on stock internals as if it no sweat.

      Basically, HPF helped pioneer the turbo market for the E46 M3. There are new options coming just now (over a decade after the car hit the market) which goes to show just how difficult it is to do this. HPF had options to turbo the E46 M3 when nobody else had options to turbo the E46 M3. They were the main game in town and deserve respect for it. But... even the mighty can fall and a single platform can not sustain anyone forever.

      Unfortunately an employee stole from HPF something over $200k (who knows what the real amount truly is and just how much he got away with) and unfortunately Chris made a poor choice with his new insurance company who only covered $25k in theft. The insurance company and HPF went to court and HPF lost. BimmerBoost is somewhat surprised a quarter million can sink a ship of this size but clearly there were other issues at play.

      Whether one wants to put the blame on the owner Chris or not it's hard to say what frivolous spending might have gone on. Chris did reach a high point in the BMW tuning market in the USA and nobody can take that away from him. Numerous magazine spreads, hundreds of turbo kits sold, and a household name on BMW forums. That deserves respect and is a level few can or will reach.

      Sustaining that is another thing entirely though. Busty young women don't come cheap. Dedicated drag cars for forum boasting aren't cheap. There is a reason rockstars tend to burn out fast. Is that what happened here? In retrospect it's easy to say this and that should have been done instead but Chris also did get somewhat of a second chance with a forum member investing cash into the company recently.

      Unfortunately, it seems that amount was not enough and now the doors are closed and people are laid off. What will happen to current orders? Members on this site are waiting for their parts. What will happen to the cars still there? Some have been removed, some remain. What will happen to Chris Bergermann? Is this it? Not going to be easy to climb back up after already being at the top of a platform for quite some time with little capital to work with and he certainly isn't getting younger.

      I for one want to thank HPF for their support. Chris was always kind to me, always supportive, and always wished me well. He always wanted me to succeed and I wasn't even a customer of his. To him I was just some random kid building a forum. I did an interview with Chris back in 2010: http://www.germanboost.com/content.php?426-BimmerBoost-Interview-with-Chris-Bergermann-Owner-of-Horsepower-Freaks

      I suggest any interested party take a look or listen to it (audio is posted). It shows how far HPF came in just 9 years at the time of the interview.

      I wish you well Chris, I wish all your employees well, and I hope you move on positively. It's a rough and cuthroat business. When you are on top, people just want to tear you down. It's easy for people to talk down sitting comfortably behind their monitor without realizing how many peoples lives this affects. Hopefully there is a learning lesson here that makes everyone stronger and hopefully nobody is going to bed hungry at night as a result of this. You'll land on your feet Chris. Good luck and thank you, from BimmerBoost.

      This article was originally published in forum thread: HorsePowerFreaks is apparently closing its doors started by folgrz View original post
      Comments 266 Comments
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        I'm getting a lot of PM's on this topic, don't know what is really going on but we'll find out.

        If any of it is true, sad, sad day indeed.
      1. Tony@VargasTurboTech's Avatar
        Tony@VargasTurboTech -
        wow! If this is true, what a bad day for the BMW world. They might have been slow with the N54 but man they did a lot for late model Bimmers in general. Keep us posted Sticky
      1. bobS's Avatar
        bobS -
        I hope this isn't true, what a shame
      1. Q4P's Avatar
        Q4P -
        wow this is pretty shocking if true...
      1. Eric335's Avatar
        Eric335 -
        What the $#@!, man....

        I feel bad for anyone that already has a cash position with them for a kit....
      1. bigdnno98's Avatar
        bigdnno98 -
        Wow. Really shocked. Sad sad day if its true. I was really pulling for their twin scroll n54 turbo kit.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        I just didn't think the E46 M3 market was that big of a deal for them with all the other parts and so forth they sold but guess not.

        With Max PSI coming in with a very, very nice turbo kit on the stock DME priced much lower it's hard to see many people opting for HPF. And it's not like there is a huge E46 turbo market out there anyway. That was one problem.

        I don't know what to say, it's a bummer, still waiting to hear back from Chris.
      1. Q4P's Avatar
        Q4P -
        so what exactly was the problem?
      1. benzy89's Avatar
        benzy89 -
        Sounds like an employee was embezzling, and when they finally found out & had concrete evidence, he had stole so much money that the HPF insurance couldn't cover the loss. Business didn't have enough revenue to bounce back & cover the losses, so now it's closed up.
      1. Eric335's Avatar
        Eric335 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by benzy89 Click here to enlarge
        Sounds like an employee was embezzling, and when they finally found out & had concrete evidence, he had stole so much money that the HPF insurance couldn't cover the loss. Business didn't have enough revenue to bounce back & cover the losses, so now it's closed up.
        And theres nothing they can do? Somehow take out a loan and pay it off over time...?
      1. dzenno@PTF's Avatar
        dzenno@PTF -
        crazy..feel really bad for them Click here to enlarge
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by benzy89 Click here to enlarge
        Sounds like an employee was embezzling, and when they finally found out & had concrete evidence, he had stole so much money that the HPF insurance couldn't cover the loss. Business didn't have enough revenue to bounce back & cover the losses, so now it's closed up.
        I think this is just one part of it.

        They never got the guy who stole?
      1. fastgti69's Avatar
        fastgti69 -
        woah, never expected this.
      1. benzy89's Avatar
        benzy89 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Eric335 Click here to enlarge
        And theres nothing they can do? Somehow take out a loan and pay it off over time...?
        They probably can't qualify for one -- There's a ridiculous outstanding debt on the business & nobody is going to want to put their personal credit/assets on the line if they default. Add to that if they they decided to stay open, they're not only going to need to have enough revenue to pay back the loan, but they also need to cover normal business costs (daily operating cost, insurance + employee salaries).
      1. benzy89's Avatar
        benzy89 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        They never got the guy who stole?
        Looks like they caught him & he's been sentenced to 38 months in jail (1st quoted post), but when $200k+ has been stolen and insurance only covers $25k, that's a big loss to cover.
      1. bobS's Avatar
        bobS -
        Yup plus if the e46 m turbo market is declining, which I'm sure it is, HPF would need to invest in designing new kits for the n54, s65, etc...that costs money, and pay for employees etc.

        I think people should wait to hear official word though...right now it's just rumors
      1. Eric335's Avatar
        Eric335 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by benzy89 Click here to enlarge
        They probably can't qualify for one -- There's a ridiculous outstanding debt on the business & nobody is going to want to put their personal credit/assets on the line if they default. Add to that if they they decided to stay open, they're not only going to need to have enough revenue to pay back the loan, but they also need to cover normal business costs (daily operating cost, insurance + employee salaries).
        Makes sense. I guess i just dont realize what kind of revenue they actually make. A lot of businesses push $200k in 4 weeks, but i guess high HP turbo kits isnt so lucrative Click here to enlarge
      1. Q4P's Avatar
        Q4P -
        From a business perspective, am I the only one here that sees some very serious financial management issues? I will withhold judgement as we do not know the whole story but I see a serious obvious problem here.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by benzy89 Click here to enlarge
        Looks like they caught him & he's been sentenced to 38 months in jail (1st quoted post), but when $200k+ has been stolen and insurance only covers $25k, that's a big loss to cover.
        They can't find where the money went?

        I didn't think $200k could sink HPF.
      1. benzy89's Avatar
        benzy89 -
        Sticky + Eric335 -- I have no idea what a normal quarterly business report looks like for HPF (revenue vs. profits specifically), but like BobS said, there isn't exactly a huge market for Turbo E46 M3s and they needed a new platform to capitalize on, that requires a lot of R&D + man hours ($$$$$)


        For all we know they had just enough money left to give every employee a severance and pay off their legal bills. Be interested to see some official statements from HPF since there's nothing on their website (currently advertising a "Cinco De Mayo" sale) & their Facebook has been updated today.