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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 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by M3_WC Click here to enlarge
        Lets get the Fallon thread back up with all those pics you deleted.
        I don't think that is necessary. She's just a young girl who made some poor choices no reason to kick her. Although I did enjoy her photos.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by M3_WC Click here to enlarge
        Not hatin, I got friends with similar lifestyles.
        I don't see how that lifestyle is sustainable.
      1. ZooyorQ's Avatar
        ZooyorQ -
        Let me remind you.... Chris is in his mid 40's.. he is literally over twice her age.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by ZooyorQ Click here to enlarge
        Let me remind you.... Chris is in his mid 40's.. he is literally over twice her age.
        Ya well my father is 22 years older than mother. But then again he wasn't buying her boobs or picking her up at high school.
      1. amclint's Avatar
        amclint -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        I don't see how that lifestyle is sustainable.
        Tell that to Hef Click here to enlarge
      1. ZooyorQ's Avatar
        ZooyorQ -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by amclint Click here to enlarge
        Tell that to Hef Click here to enlarge
        Didn't he go bankrupt a few years ago?
      1. Flinchy's Avatar
        Flinchy -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by gareth.foley Click here to enlarge
        Damn, even if part of that screenshot from E90Post is true that is some messed up stuff. Personally, working in the same type of business I honestly can't see how someone manages to steal $200K from the company and get away with it for that long. I improperly entered something into our system and our accountant noticed in 30 minutes. I think a lot of this blame being put towards the theft is also a distraction. Still, I just feel bad for the customers who have their personal property locked away inside that building. I'd be loooooosing my mind. I also feel bad for the employees who didn't see it coming. Just a $#@!ty situation across the board.
        worst case with any decent accounting software, you should be reconciling at the end of each week and discrepancies in transactions/invoices/etc. flash up for you

        but didn't someone say it was some dodgy thing where he'd take stock and sell it outside work, rather than directly taking money?

        even then... $200k of product is a LOT of product to make 'disappear'
      1. ZooyorQ's Avatar
        ZooyorQ -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Flinchy Click here to enlarge
        worst case with any decent accounting software, you should be reconciling at the end of each week and discrepancies in transactions/invoices/etc. flash up for you

        but didn't someone say it was some dodgy thing where he'd take stock and sell it outside work, rather than directly taking money?

        even then... $200k of product is a LOT of product to make 'disappear'

        The scam that David was doing would not show up in accounting as a red flag. If you looked at earnings every month they likely went way up way down just based on fluctuation . so no pattern would have been seen. The only way that Chris would have caught what David was doing was by looking at all the customers invoices and looking at the margins that David was selling product at and then confronting David and saying why was all the product on this invoice sold at 5% over cost? David could have been running this scam for YEARS, just skimming here and there.. but like everyone I've ever seen (i used to work fraud prevention over a decade ago) who runs this scam they get ballsy and greedy and eventually screw themselves.

        My favorite one was the backup guitarist to the backup guitarist for prince.. he worked part time at a audio retailer.. he did this same scam for 6 months.. eventually I busted him when he had screwed up and brought the goods he'd been buying/skimming into the install bay to have them installed.. Dude does not go from driving a 1994 Taurus with no audio system in it, to Focal components, Xtant amps and 6 cap's with a flip out Kenwood. That's when I started watching his sales and watching as the margins became more and more and more narrow.. only once a warrant was placed for his home did we realize that the car was only the tip of the iceberg. He had at least $150k+ in audio equipment in his home, some in use, some clearly ready for ebay/etc. Its a skimming scam and its usually done by salesman who work on commission or have the ability to adjust margins and its most notable in places that allow you to adjust invoices post sale.. which I'm pretty sure these days most have locked that down due to this scam.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by amclint Click here to enlarge
        Tell that to Hef Click here to enlarge
        I think he replaced the coke with Viagra which apparently is better for your heart.
      1. Flinchy's Avatar
        Flinchy -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by ZooyorQ Click here to enlarge
        The scam that David was doing would not show up in accounting as a red flag. If you looked at earnings every month they likely went way up way down just based on fluctuation . so no pattern would have been seen. The only way that Chris would have caught what David was doing was by looking at all the customers invoices and looking at the margins that David was selling product at and then confronting David and saying why was all the product on this invoice sold at 5% over cost? David could have been running this scam for YEARS, just skimming here and there.. but like everyone I've ever seen (i used to work fraud prevention over a decade ago) who runs this scam they get ballsy and greedy and eventually screw themselves.

        My favorite one was the backup guitarist to the backup guitarist for prince.. he worked part time at a audio retailer.. he did this same scam for 6 months.. eventually I busted him when he had screwed up and brought the goods he'd been buying/skimming into the install bay to have them installed.. Dude does not go from driving a 1994 Taurus with no audio system in it, to Focal components, Xtant amps and 6 cap's with a flip out Kenwood. That's when I started watching his sales and watching as the margins became more and more and more narrow.. only once a warrant was placed for his home did we realize that the car was only the tip of the iceberg. He had at least $150k+ in audio equipment in his home, some in use, some clearly ready for ebay/etc. Its a skimming scam and its usually done by salesman who work on commission or have the ability to adjust margins and its most notable in places that allow you to adjust invoices post sale.. which I'm pretty sure these days most have locked that down due to this scam.
        wow, thanks, it makes sense

        it's not a super simple scam though (at least to be patient and not caught out)

        it's just lucky for the (presumably small-medium) business owner that they do eventually get caught out.
      1. Brey335i's Avatar
        Brey335i -
        Definitely would tap that. But then again I am much much closer in age.

        If everything about the theft / scam is true, someone still should have caught on when an employee is selling a lot of stuff at great discounts. But I see the problem. It's not as straight forward as the number of items sold not matching the number of items gone from the warehouse.
      1. 0-60Motorsports's Avatar
        0-60Motorsports -
        People with cars might get their vehicles back but us people outside the States might not ever see the parts we paid for. I am depending on Derek to make things right and ship the parts I paid for as the parts are way more important to me than the Money.

        Thanks for Derek and Kirk for their support in this situation.
      1. gareth.foley's Avatar
        gareth.foley -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Flinchy Click here to enlarge
        worst case with any decent accounting software, you should be reconciling at the end of each week and discrepancies in transactions/invoices/etc. flash up for you

        but didn't someone say it was some dodgy thing where he'd take stock and sell it outside work, rather than directly taking money?

        even then... $200k of product is a LOT of product to make 'disappear'
        We also do daily GPM reports to make sure that there is enough profit in our orders for the day. Overall our goal is about 30% GPM. If the target number is low our VP of sales goes through the orders for the day to see if discounts have been made or if shipping charges are low. There are definitely ways to prevent this type of thing from happening if you want.
      1. Flinchy's Avatar
        Flinchy -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by gareth.foley Click here to enlarge
        We also do daily GPM reports to make sure that there is enough profit in our orders for the day. Overall our goal is about 30% GPM. If the target number is low our VP of sales goes through the orders for the day to see if discounts have been made or if shipping charges are low. There are definitely ways to prevent this type of thing from happening if you want.
        and this would be why you are still in business haha
      1. gareth.foley's Avatar
        gareth.foley -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Flinchy Click here to enlarge
        and this would be why you are still in business haha
        That is a very valid point sir. LOL.
      1. MisterEm's Avatar
        MisterEm -
        HPF parts a plenty.... courtesy of "Illtech Automotive"?

        Attachment 31034
      1. amclint's Avatar
        amclint -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by MisterEm Click here to enlarge
        HPF parts a plenty.... courtesy of "Illtech Automotive"?
        Wow, those 335 exhaust parts should go quick with how many people said they wish they had gotten one before HPF imploded.

        Hmm, might be a good thing to buy if the price isn't jacked up.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by MisterEm Click here to enlarge
        HPF parts a plenty.... courtesy of "Illtech Automotive"?

        Attachment 31034
        Certainly an interesting development.

        What can you tell me about Illtech?
      1. 0-60Motorsports's Avatar
        0-60Motorsports -
        ^ Yeah I want to know what they have on stock. Might pick some stuff up if its reasonable.
      1. inter1032's Avatar
        inter1032 -
        just saw something vivid racing posted the other day.. hpf is back in business?