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When I first think about the characteristics of a company like Arrington Performance, what comes to mind is a powerful and influential company with commanding expertise in the field of Mopar performance. After learning that Arrington Performance is a research and development partner with Chrysler, and how much trust Chrysler shows in them in the calibration of their late model cars, I thought Arrington Performance might possess qualities that are sometimes associated with a large corporate environment. In most cases, companies with so much influence in the motorsports industry usually have a certain air of cold superiority that you can sense from the moment you walk in the door. In most cases companies that get to work that closely with large corporations like Chrysler usually don’t get there by playing nice either. But after seeing the facility for myself and most importantly meeting the people that really make up Arrington Performance I realized that I couldn’t have been farther from the truth.
Arriving in the quaint little town of Martinsville, Virginia, I couldn’t wait to see what was behind the famous name that I had heard so many good things about. Only recently being introduced to the vast and ever expanding world of racing and cars, I heard the name Arrington for the first time at SEMA a few years ago. Arrington and shopHemi.com were described as the ultimate source for late model performance. Being a racer of a late model Magnum those key words had my complete attention. As any racer does, I want the best of the best. So naturally, I had high hopes for this big day.
The actual building is seated on a large, grassy hilltop that overlooks the town. You can see the huge Arrington sign on the side of the building from the street below. Also stretched across the vast lawn of the hill is a seventy-five foot wide Dodge Ram symbol made from different colored stones and staring across the valley like some towering ancient petroglyph. Wow, that’s impressive.
After turning onto Motorsports Drive and making the climb up the driveway we are led to the back door of the facility. I found myself not in some small shop with a dyno and a few lifts; let me tell you this place was absolutely immense. The ceilings stretched high in the air and there is a hallway 100 feet long straight ahead of me with two humongous rooms on either side. There is an array of banners of various aftermarket partners on the wall and, of course, Mopar banners are abundant. The building is quiet, but busy. And to say the place is clean is an understatement. The floors are so clean and shiny you might think you’re in a hospital. In fact, later on in the day I actually saw someone come by with what looked like a small Zamboni machine making the already clean floor even cleaner. It was very clear that they take pride in their appearance and they pay attention to what the customer sees when they walk in the front door.
Each workstation, no matter which department it’s located in, is perfectly organized and managed. Tools are in the right places, carts are labeled with tags, and grease only exists on parts that need it. The departments for each step of the engine building process are huge, and to maximize efficiency there are lots of computer controlled machines. They have five engine dynos, a chassis dyno, and a bunch of 4-axis and 5-axis CNC machines, just to name a fraction of their machinery. Almost one half of the shop is filled with late model HEMI cars. Aside from a racetrack, you don’t see this many over the top modified late model cars in one place. Road racing and drag cars are everywhere, and they are all special enough to make you drool.