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Old 06-28-2007, 08:54 PM   #1
Unabomber
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OMGHi2U Unabomber's Vendor Interview: Mach V

The genesis behind this post is to further personalize the Vendor/NASIOC user experience. Like many NASIOC users, there are very few places to buy parts locally and I've supported my modification habit through the many, wonderful NASIOC Vendors. I hope that this post will enlighten NASIOC users to parts, manufacturers, and Vendors.

Mach V is owned and operated by Dan Hurwitz. They operate a brick and mortar store in Sterling, VA as well as the website www.fastwrx.com

Can you give us some background information about yourself?

I'm Dan Hurwitz, age 38. I was born in California, and now live in Arlington, VA. I'm married and have a seven-year-old daughter. I have a four-year degree from Harvard and an MBA from Dartmouth. (Does that make me the person in this industry with the most wasted education?)

My first car was a 1980 Subaru DL sedan, four-speed, no air conditioning. It had 14" x 4" (?) chromed aftermarket steel wheels. I found some 205/60R14 tires and stuffed them on there. It looked funny with the relatively wide tires on those skinny wheels. I drove that car everywhere, back and forth from Oregon to California many times. When I finally parted with it it had 175,000 miles and was still running the original engine.

Other favorite cars: An '86 VW GTI (with hand-crank sunroof!), a '91 Eclipse GSX that became a pretty fun track car, a '92 Galant VR4. The '03 Evo. And of course, my current daily driver, a 2005 Legacy GT five-speed wagon. We've got a brand-new '07 MINI Cooper S that's a lot of fun to drive, too.


Dan and daughter Althea

Any story behind the name Mach V?

When I started the company I came up with all kinds of clever names like "HyperSports" or "SpeedLine" and lots of other things like that. But all the names were taken. Then I thought of one of my favorite childhood cartoons, Speed Racer. His car was the Mach 5. Mach5.com was already claimed by some software firm (curse them!) but MachV.com was available. The rest is history... I pronounce it "Mock Five," by the way. Sometimes people ask about that.

What does Mach V do?

We have a complete selection of parts for the Subaru cars, from wheels to turbos to interior trim, drivetrain parts, exhausts, you name it. Everything for the Subaru. We also have web sites for the DSM's, the Evo, and the MINI. The Subaru crowd is our largest customer group, though.

We have our own Mach V-branded parts that include brake lines, sway bars for the DSMs, and an engine management system for the DSM/Evo called the ECU+.

Mach V ships all over the world, although most of our sales are to the U.S. One thing that I think distinguishes us from a lot of vendors is that we maintain a very large stock -- the majority of parts we sell are actually in stock in our warehouse on any given day. And we've invested a lot in our order fulfillment and shipping processes, to minimize miss-shipments and damaged shipments. As an example, every single part we sell is bar-coded, and parts are laser-scanned before they go into the box. That almost eliminates any chance of sending the wrong part.

An example of how hard we work on safe shipping is that we went through a total of four custom boxes before we found one robust enough to guarantee that our large, fragile lip spoiler orders would not be damaged in transit. The result is a custom double-walled box that's extremely stiff. It's also pretty expensive, but we think it's worth it for the customer satisfaction of the part arriving in perfect condition.

We import parts directly from Japan. I go to Tokyo once a year to check out the latest parts and to visit our vendors. We have an export agent we've done business with for years, and that allows us to acquire any JDM part directly from the manufacturer. We get a shipment about once a month. These parts aren't cheap, but some of them are very nice, and if you want exclusivity, that's how to get it.


Showroom

Services offered?

We work with partner company Ultimate Performance to offer complete installation and fabrication services. We can perform regular maintenance; install any of the parts we sell, mount wheels and tires, and more.

We also do dyno tuning on an in-house AWD Dynojet. I'm the tuner for that stuff. Mostly I tune UTEC and AccessPort, but I can tune others if the need arises.

What about your employees?

Will has an '02 WRX that he drives at the track, and a convertible Pontiac Firebird that's basically got an open exhaust. I think it might be the loudest street-driven car I know of.
Evan used to have an SRT-4, but he got tired of being the fastest in the universe, so now he drives a Dodge truck.
Aaron has a bunch of FWD DSM's that can do burnouts from a 60mph roll. He doesn't spend so much time at Mach V anymore because he got a full-time airplane pilot job, but he's still involved with Mach V manufacturing.

What gave you the idea to start Mach V?

Back in the late '90s, I was doing a lot of track day and autocross events in my Eclipse, and I had modified it quite a bit. People kept asking me questions about mods, like what to do first, or when to upgrade different parts. I kept thinking it was weird that the parts places didn't explain when or how to upgrade the cars they sold parts for. I felt like it would be nice to help people understand WHY parts did what they did, and when they should buy them. That led me to putting together a little mail-order catalog for DSM parts. It took off pretty well, and it became the company that is Mach V today.

At the time I started the company, I was still employed as a business manager for a large credit card company. After a couple of years, I got to walk in to my boss and tell him I was quitting to tend to Mach V full time. That's a nice memory, although in retrospect, it was extremely risky. I had just had a daughter and bought a house!

What is Mach V’s contact information?

Mach V Motorsports
45690 Elmwood Court Suite 170
Sterling, VA 20166
(571) 434-8333 voice
(571) 434-8334 fax
www.fastwrx.com


Front door of Mach V

Can you disclose any upcoming products or ideas of upcoming products (est. availability and pricing)?

We plan to have more of our own body parts. I hope to have more polyurethane parts, including some for the new '08 WRX, and for the under-served 02-03 "bugeye" cars. We are looking into our own wheels, too.

We have several large events at our shop each year. Our next one is our Second Annual Summer Open House and Charity Car Show, which is on Saturday, August 18, 2007. It benefits Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Last year we raised $1000 for the cause. I hope we can top that this year.


Meet at Mach V

What’s it like being a Vendor?

Fun. Hard. I enjoy it very much, but it's very hard work. I spend a lot of hours at the shop, and even more hours each night on the web site. And yes, on the forums. I definitely enjoy my work a lot more than in my old career job, but I do sometimes miss the relative comfort of corporate life.

Have any advice for someone thinking of becoming a Vendor?

Don't!

Just kidding. But really, it's an uphill slog. It's very hard to stand out in a vast sea of companies selling parts. It takes a long time to build a customer base, to get a supplier network you can trust, to build your inventory. Many people don't have the patience to spend years doing that, with no guarantee of success.

Managing a small business can be trying. One time while I was out of the shop, some of my employees got into a fist fight and had to be sent home. Last year one of my long-time employees quit while I was away at the Tokyo Auto Salon. Events like these...cause me stress.

Don't think you're going to make a lot of money, either. This is not the business for you if your goal is to get rich.

Who is your favorite distributor of products that you sell?

Pretty much every part we sell is good stuff -- we quickly purge items that we decide aren't good. But there are certain vendors that I feel do business in a way similar to Mach V; that is, they're honest, they make a solid, quality product, and they're in it for the long haul. A few that come to mind are Kartboy, TurboXS, ACT (clutches), Prosport (gauges) and Cusco.

Do you have a certain philosophy or way of doing business?

Above all, I try to be honest. I find that life is a lot easier if I simply tell the truth as I know it. That sometimes means telling a customer they don't really need the injectors they're ordering, or that their car is so junky I just can't tune it. But being honest also makes selling easier, because I can truthfully talk about the parts I'm selling and it sounds real, because it IS real.

I also try to come clean if we've made a mistake. It does happen. We ship thousands of packages each year. There are sometimes mistakes. Again, I find that truth is the best policy. Saying "Hey, sorry, we made a mistake," seems to come across better than blaming others, or arguing about it.

I do think that what we do is valuable, and I charge accordingly. We're not the cheapest vendor on the Internet. But we've been here for almost ten years, and we don't plan to go away. My pricing is based on what I think it takes to stay in business, running a full shop with phones and email that get answered, and parts that are on the shelves. From experience, if we try to do it on the cheap, customer service suffers accordingly. So I guess that on the continuum between K-Mart and Nordstrom, we're closer to Nordstrom, at least in spirit. Okay, so maybe Macy's would be a better comparison. Okay, Target. Anyway, I like to offer top-notch customer service, and I think our customers do appreciate that.
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Last edited by Unabomber; 01-26-2008 at 01:17 PM.
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Old 06-28-2007, 09:37 PM   #2
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Killer interview. I like this idea. Well done to the both of you. Mach V also represents FastWRX.com, if I'm not mistaken. A company that was polite and timely with some parts I ordered from them.

Keep up the interviews, Unabomber.
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Old 06-28-2007, 10:13 PM   #3
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outstanding!!

ps - you gotta fill me in on those wheels...
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Old 06-28-2007, 10:25 PM   #4
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that was a good read!! i've ordered from MachV...and my experience was a great one. keep up the good work.......you too Unabomber
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Old 06-28-2007, 10:36 PM   #5
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Nice read. Thank You.
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Old 06-28-2007, 10:42 PM   #6
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Great interview. I met Will and Evan today, saw Dan running around too. Always see him running around the shop when I visited the past few times. I think it was even Dan who said "bless you" when I sneezed out in the show room from his office. lol
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Old 06-28-2007, 11:46 PM   #7
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Cool interview for sure. It's nice to know who is selling you parts for your car.

Not to steal the thread or anything but if Dan reads this ever... I am still waiting on a call back on a faulty clutch line...
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Old 06-29-2007, 02:42 AM   #8
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enjoyable and informative, nice interview.

i'll be extremely happy to hear more about the bugeye lips (depending on my financial situation, i'll even commit to have my name on one of the first batch of production! i'm uber-jealous of the 04 and 06 owners' offerings)

and if anyone wants to hear why i'd recommend mach v to anyone, just pm me- suffice it to say they made me very happy with my (comparitively microscopic, or should i say cost-effective) purchases.
thumbs up for a great interview and a great shop!
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Old 06-29-2007, 06:23 AM   #9
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hats off to dan and the machv gang. they run a great shop and are great people to do business with.
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Old 06-29-2007, 01:04 PM   #10
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Wow...very nice. My hats off to you Unabomber and Dan...thanks for keeping it real!

Now Dan, LNR is willing to sell their mold for the bugeye lip. Give them a call

-Drew
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Old 06-29-2007, 01:19 PM   #11
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By chance I was guided to MachV when I first got my STi, and wanted a pro-tune. Dan was patient with my ignorance, and made sure I understood what was going on. I've learned a lot from him ! He is a totally honest Brainiac.
As a matter of fact, he recently talked me out of installing a WI system because of the risks involved. You tell me what other vendor would turn down a sale ? That's just one example of the kind of guy Dan is. He's right when he says they aren't the cheapest, but they may be the best ! Okey
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Old 06-29-2007, 03:14 PM   #12
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and they are involved in and support racing efforts to boot
machV is def on my list of "good guy vendors"
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Old 06-29-2007, 03:16 PM   #13
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Good read
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Old 06-29-2007, 05:22 PM   #14
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Mach V!! Dan is very helpful and lots of great parts! i would recommend them anywhere!
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Old 06-29-2007, 05:38 PM   #15
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I have purchased from Dan in the past and would not hesitate to do so again. Great Vendor!!
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Old 06-29-2007, 06:15 PM   #16
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Cool interview. Although I have yet to order anything from Mach V they are on my radar now.
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Old 06-29-2007, 06:55 PM   #17
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Maybe Dan's Mach V site is run better than the FastWrx site, because I've been waiting for the v-limited front lip from them since June 12. It takes a call from me to find out that they've been waiting for an order to come in since June 10th, even though their website states it's in stock. So that and my ecu harness have been held up for a while now. I think the staff could make an effort to send an email to update their customers when stuff gets delayed, not to mention update their site so people are aware if there will be a wait when they place an order.
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Old 06-29-2007, 07:17 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruteMax View Post
Maybe Dan's Mach V site is run better than the FastWrx site, because I've been waiting for the v-limited front lip from them since June 12. It takes a call from me to find out that they've been waiting for an order to come in since June 10th, even though their website states it's in stock. So that and my ecu harness have been held up for a while now. I think the staff could make an effort to send an email to update their customers when stuff gets delayed, not to mention update their site so people are aware if there will be a wait when they place an order.
What does any of this have to do with Mach V?
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Old 06-29-2007, 09:06 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nate49509 View Post
What does any of this have to do with Mach V?
cuz it's the same group of people? It was Evan I spoke with earlier today that informed me the v-limited front lips were expected in sometime next week.
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Old 06-30-2007, 12:51 AM   #20
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you know, if you had done everything possible to resolve the issue before posting here it wouldn't be a big deal... but you obviously haven't and are just trying to vent some steam. take it to the vender review forum, not here.
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Old 06-30-2007, 01:25 AM   #21
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sounds like an honest guy. ill buy from him in the future most likely.

i hate hate hate hate hate dishonest people that take advantage of people. this dude sounds like he is the exact opposite. the world needs less scumbags!!

mach V 4 LIFE!!
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Old 06-30-2007, 01:42 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Handsdown View Post
you know, if you had done everything possible to resolve the issue before posting here it wouldn't be a big deal... but you obviously haven't and are just trying to vent some steam. take it to the vender review forum, not here.
this thread should be moved there, since it's reviewing a vendor. My reply is on topic, however, and there's no steam to vent; I'm patiently waiting for my parts. Stop presuming you know what you're talking about.
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Old 06-30-2007, 02:05 AM   #23
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while this is an interview there isn't any part of this topic that says its a review of a vendor or a place to share an opinion, not to mention a "division" or a vendor. your personal experience, how relevant you may think it is and the replies to it, do not have place in this topic, and IMHO, should be deleted. thanks for playing though.
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Old 06-30-2007, 11:12 AM   #24
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did somebody say hamburger eating contest in August at the summer event????
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Old 06-30-2007, 12:59 PM   #25
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This was a great read. I am in the process of setting my own business up and will be a Nasioc vendor soon. Its a scary thing to quit your full time job to make the jump to follow your dream (the end goal is an actual tuning shop in some years ahead).

I know it can be done, but its always good to hear that someone else made the jump, started out and got bigger.
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