• 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. G0TB00ST?'s Avatar
        G0TB00ST? -
        I wasn't clear in my post. The people that invested didn't go off forum opinion they had insider info. they just posted on e46f that they thought they would win and that's why they invested. Does that make sense lol? It's late and I'm tired.
      1. ZooyorQ's Avatar
        ZooyorQ -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by ccsykes Click here to enlarge
        Chris told me once the majority of the business was from online retail sales. I'd imagine they were just over leveraged.
        Online retail is a volume game.. limited margins constant competition from other shops, amazon, etc.. I'd bet online sales brought in a few million a year, but cost of goods and staffing, and shipping, and credit card fee's, etc.. likely narrowed those margins down pretty thin.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by G0TB00ST? Click here to enlarge
        I wasn't clear in my post. The people that invested didn't go off forum opinion they had insider info. they just posted on e46f that they thought they would win and that's why they invested. Does that make sense lol? It's late and I'm tired.
        That makes more sense, sure.
      1. G0TB00ST?'s Avatar
        G0TB00ST? -
        We're they reverted back to stock or left as is? If reverted back was the money refunded? And what about all the other cars they had that were in pieces are they going to be finished?
      1. G0TB00ST?'s Avatar
        G0TB00ST? -
        @ sticky was that serious or sarcasm lol
      1. 0-60Motorsports's Avatar
        0-60Motorsports -
        I wonder if I will get he parts I paid for a few days ago or should I just contact my credit card company. Waiting for an answer back from HPF, if there is someone left to answer.
      1. StinkyM's Avatar
        StinkyM -
        This is all confusing. We need HPF in here. What's confusing me, is, they are shutting down because someone stole a whole lot of money from them. I understand that portion. I also understand that there was a meeting in court for something as well. I'm assuming here, but, "if" they know who did it, where is the money? Did he decide to go out on a rampage and buy a house? A new Bentley? Where the hell is the stolen money? Next, so if they never caught the guy, but know the money is gone, I am pretty sure all of the cars sitting at the shop will be sitting wherever the mechanics and tuners will move on to next. I am sure they can be used elsewhere in the BMW community. Maximum PSI will probably be bumping sales up, and they have N54 knowledge so BMS is an opportunity, or they could just start from the bottom with all of the information and data they have collected from years and years of research and begin development after HPF has allocated all of its assets and cleaned out the shop.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by 0-60Motorsports Click here to enlarge
        I wonder if I will get he parts I paid for a few days ago or should I just contact my credit card company. Waiting for an answer back from HPF, if there is someone left to answer.
        Credit card company... ASAP.
      1. ZooyorQ's Avatar
        ZooyorQ -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Credit card company... ASAP.
        This!
      1. ZooyorQ's Avatar
        ZooyorQ -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by StinkyM Click here to enlarge
        This is all confusing. We need HPF in here. What's confusing me, is, they are shutting down because someone stole a whole lot of money from them. I understand that portion. I also understand that there was a meeting in court for something as well. I'm assuming here, but, "if" they know who did it, where is the money? Did he decide to go out on a rampage and buy a house? A new Bentley? Where the hell is the stolen money? Next, so if they never caught the guy, but know the money is gone, I am pretty sure all of the cars sitting at the shop will be sitting wherever the mechanics and tuners will move on to next. I am sure they can be used elsewhere in the BMW community. Maximum PSI will probably be bumping sales up, and they have N54 knowledge so BMS is an opportunity, or they could just start from the bottom with all of the information and data they have collected from years and years of research and begin development after HPF has allocated all of its assets and cleaned out the shop.
        Commanderwigen and I were both victims of the scam pulled by David @ HPF. Its a complicated scam involving discounting retail items post sale then adding items onto the invoice, then taking those items and selling them to someone else at a discount for cash, on the side.

        HPF loses revenue from it, but in most cases doesn't lose actual cash.. until the scheme colapases and there's no more invoices to discount, money to shuffle. Which right after Kenton and I discovered it, David had been in over his head in the shuffling of funds and quit HPF.. I spoke with a detective regarding the situation. I also wrote a 2 page email with spreadsheet depicting exactly how David was doing the scam.. trust me.. I know that scam real well. I worked fraud protection when I was much younger (internally at a large electronics retailer) and audited credit card reconciliation reports, etc. So I knew what he was doing right away. That certainly didn't help.. but thats not what put them under.

        David was an awesome salesman, a scam artist but also a very likeable salesman. I believe he had many oversea's race teams as accounts. Buying brakes, clutches, and etc in bulk. When David left (knowing him) he probably took those accounts to another friend that owns a shop, or something like that.. and asked for a kick back based on sales. This is totally speculation..

        That likely hurt HPF more than the fraud itself.

        Its also interesting how HPF worked as an ecosystem. If you brought your E46 M3 in there for a kit you likely also spent another few thousand dollars on install, and non-hpf parts (brakes, mounts, sway bars, bushings, tires, what have you)... when the volume of E46 m3's coming in the door slowed down, so did parts sales likely.. it was a huge ecosystem all based on one car, the e46 m3.. and that car started wanning as other competitors entered. Then rather than downsize Chris likely tried to keep everyone on staff and push through the lul in business.. when it never bounced back he couldn't recoup from the debt and money shuffling internally (aka taking money from customers that would go to pay vendors and instead paying payroll, etc).. and it turned into a house of cards and collapsed.

        It happens pretty frequently with small businesses unfortunately.
      1. 0-60Motorsports's Avatar
        0-60Motorsports -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Credit card company... ASAP.
        According to Kirk my parts are already at Hpf so cant Chris hire people or come in himself and call ups to pick up my parts and send them over? I have emailed him and if he doesn't reply by tonight I'll take it up with the credit card company/bank. $#@! this is pure bull.

        Chris you need to change up the mess before you go enjoy your life. My pays are sitting at your ship. Do the right thing and call ups and send them over. You have been paid for them in full
      1. StinkyM's Avatar
        StinkyM -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by 0-60Motorsports Click here to enlarge
        According to Kirk my parts are already at Hpf so cant Chris hire people or come in himself and call ups to pick up my parts and send them over? I have emailed him and if he doesn't reply by tonight I'll take it up with the credit card company/bank. $#@! this is pure bull.
        You're worried about HPF but still haven't contacted me (2 weeks) about the headers you were selling. Irony.
      1. 0-60Motorsports's Avatar
        0-60Motorsports -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by StinkyM Click here to enlarge
        You're worried about HPF but still haven't contacted me (2 weeks) about the headers you were selling. Irony.
        Sorry bro. Been busy with customers. My apoligies. I'll have that to you today or latest tomorrow. Thanks.
      1. ZooyorQ's Avatar
        ZooyorQ -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by 0-60Motorsports Click here to enlarge
        According to Kirk my parts are already at Hpf so cant Chris hire people or come in himself and call ups to pick up my parts and send them over? I have emailed him and if he doesn't reply by tonight I'll take it up with the credit card company/bank. $#@! this is pure bull.

        Chris you need to change up the mess before you go enjoy your life. My pays are sitting at your ship. Do the right thing and call ups and send them over. You have been paid for them in full
        I hope you get your stuff man. I wish Chris would have given a 3 day notice or something, allowing the staff to properly wrap things up as best they can.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by 0-60Motorsports Click here to enlarge
        According to Kirk my parts are already at Hpf so cant Chris hire people or come in himself and call ups to pick up my parts and send them over? I have emailed him and if he doesn't reply by tonight I'll take it up with the credit card company/bank. $#@! this is pure bull.

        Chris you need to change up the mess before you go enjoy your life. My pays are sitting at your ship. Do the right thing and call ups and send them over. You have been paid for them in full
        I honestly think you are the least of his worries at the moment.
      1. 0-60Motorsports's Avatar
        0-60Motorsports -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        I honestly think you are the least of his worries at the moment.
        Yeah but should be one of the easiest to solve as the parts are lying there.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by 0-60Motorsports Click here to enlarge
        Yeah but should be one of the easiest to solve as the parts are lying there.
        On paper, yes, but if cash is needed I'm sure a lot of things that are "easy" to deliver may end up being sold, etc. If everyone is laid off who is going to get this to you?

        There's going to be a ton of red tape here and creditors will be first to get a crack at everything I think.
      1. StinkyM's Avatar
        StinkyM -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by 0-60Motorsports Click here to enlarge
        Sorry bro. Been busy with customers. My apoligies. I'll have that to you today or latest tomorrow. Thanks.
        This reply is appreciative. Take your time, I was just busting your balls.
      1. 0-60Motorsports's Avatar
        0-60Motorsports -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by StinkyM Click here to enlarge
        This reply is appreciative. Take your time, I was just busting your balls.
        Cheers bro Click here to enlarge
      1. 0-60Motorsports's Avatar
        0-60Motorsports -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        On paper, yes, but if cash is needed I'm sure a lot of things that are "easy" to deliver may end up being sold, etc. If everyone is laid off who is going to get this to you?

        There's going to be a ton of red tape here and creditors will be first to get a crack at everything I think.
        Yes I understand, meaning gotta call the bank now.