story and photos by Ray Alexander • main Springfest 2012 page
I get with Bismarck Alvarado for some background information and a tour. Obviously this is a fragment of US Wheel. In 2001 USW Forged was a gleam in the eye. When the Chrysler 300 came out Bismarck said, “Now there is a car I can work with.” In 2011 the upper tier product moved to a separate facility.
Bismarck repeatedly stated that every piece of his product is American made. The barrels are made in Indiana and can be used with any wheel they manufacture. Even the very expensive ones that are one inch wider, two barrels are cut and welded together to make one wide barrel. There is no finished inventory, just like some burger places, they only cook it after the order is placed.
Speaking of cooking, that is how the center is placed into the barrel without scratching. The barrel is heated and the center is positioned before the barrel cools. This assembly must cool for approximately seven minutes before welding can take place.
The center slug of the wheel carries all the detail. I have seen a lot of lathes in my life but few the sizes of these. The wheels in process while I was there were for an old Continental. A timeless classis and a real gangster’s car but could you really push a heavy object out of a “suicide door” at speed? The people working here are proud of what they are doing. I get the feeling that a purchase from USW Forged is like buying into a family.
If the wheel business goes bad Bismarck can always revert to a street taco stand. He has beef, chicken and pork with an array of condiments; fresh cilantro, great guacamole, chopped onion, jalapeno (good for rust removal from anywhere) and much more.
Many beautiful cars here including a 4 door El Camino. Car owners are hopeless, if given two we want four and visa versa.
There was a wide body Charger with Utah plates, it was the widest I had seen. One guy commented, “I couldn’t get that in my garage.” It couldn’t be a trailer queen either. By their own words the day was a success for USW Forged.
Albert is a medical doctor and worked for Food and Drug Administration in medicines. He tried to retire but people kept pestering him about consulting. So he opened a consulting business and claims that is the source of his modification money. I picked him as a target for interviewing because of his posts. He was embracing drag racing after a long hiatus or as I like to put it, “You let this car drag you back into drag racing.”
His car is the “Black Widow.” He claims to have no expertise in working on his own car. In the next breath, which is inhaled with much less noise than Darth Vader, he vows that he can hire experts. He mentions Arrington, Pro Charger, Southern Hotrod and Paramount for differentials. He said, “For me a new car is like a blank canvas allowing me to create what I really want.”
I must agree those products and services are well known and have excellent reputations
Forty-five years ago he had a ’66 SS396 Chevelle. He said, “And I thought it was fast.” I had a ’66 SS396 El Camino, which is a Chevelle station wagon with the top cut off immediately behind the driver. I get him to amend that statement, “They were fast in 1966.”
Albert has done well in drag racing around Houston. I look for him to begin venturing farther from home. Does it help to be beaten by a really good-looking car? I saw many people admiring this car and using multiple adjectives.
I attended a SRT Track Day in December 2006 at Laguna Seca. I pulled into a motel in Salinas that I felt sure would have a room available. As I get out of the car I hear some rubber being shredded in a dark corner of the parking lot. I wait and three people walk up, a woman, her husband and brother.
I ask, “Was that a Hemi burnout I just heard?”
The brother shrugs his shoulders. We are all here for the SRT event. They were going to watch the next day and drive the following day. Molly was driving a Viper and her brother had a Magnum. The subject of where was I from? came up. I replied, “Valley Center.”
I heard a lot of disbelief so I pulled out my driver’s license. I was going to need it for check in anyway. Molly and her husband Scott own VW Paradise in San Marcos, CA. They live in Valley Center about two miles from where I live.
VW Paradise specializes in the old VW bugs. They have a VW dragster that was featured on the last episode of Pass Time. Their son Chris drives this machine and recently set the worlds record at Speedworld in Phoenix at over 206 mph. Yes, that is a horizontally opposed four cylinder-air cooled engine.
Molly later bought a ’07 SRT8 Charger. The shop has a Mustang dyno and they put a Corsa cat back exhaust on the car. They dynoed the car with only the cats then added the Corsa system one piece at a time and tested for power after adding each piece. The dyno showed a power increase with each piece that was added. Molly’s husband Scott related this to the VP of Corsa at Spring Fest. The next day Scott was asked to repeat the story for prospective Corsa customers.
VW Paradise was in business for 25 years, and even modified cars for Volkswagen of America. Then they were notified by VW lawyers to cease and desist using VW in their name. The business is now named Paradise Motor Sports. I feel so much better about taking my car there instead of a VW place.
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