SAC Raging Bull – Where passion and expertise meet, the results are spectacular!
I spent a fascinating couple of hours chatting with Stephen and Wesley Fischer. ‘Who may I ask is that?’ I hear you ask. Well, the clue is in the header – SAC Raging Bull. This is ‘the’ Steve of Steve’s Auto Clinic fame and his son Wes. Steve has such an interesting story to tell if you have even a drop of High Octane in your veins.
From an early age Steve has had a thing with bikes and cars. As a 15 year old, he had the iconic poster of Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper from the movie Easy Rider, riding their Harley choppers, ‘Captain America’ and the ‘Billy Bike’, across the country. This was every schoolboys dream back in the day, and so it was with Steve. He swore that one day he too would ride a Harley far and wide. His passion for bikes manifested in tuning and modifying bikes for his school chums. It was thus no surprise than this was the course that his life followed.
Steve is the epitome of a petrol head. Endowed with a huge affinity and understanding for things mechanical, he took his passion to the next level when he started a business in the Vaal Triangle, dedicated to tuning Alfa’s, way back in 1982. This was the original Steves’s Auto Clinic. Little did Steve know at the time, that this was the beginning of an automotive tuning success story perhaps unparalleled in the annals of South African automotive history.
When Alfa withdrew from the South African market during the turmoil of the apartheid years, Steve started to apply the lessons he had learned fettling Alfas to other brands. With performance always a priority to Alfa owners and given his history of ‘modding’ bikes and the like, Steve tackled every new vehicle with the same questions foremost in his mind. How does it work and what can be done to make it work better without compromising driveability and reliability?. ‘ Dave, I started measuring everything!’
To ‘measure’, as Steve puts it, requires some pretty sophisticated equipment. Putting values to Power, torque, air/fuel ratio, timing, drive train resistance, engine temperatures, barometric pressure, humidity, ambient temperature and geared speeds all help to understand what is required to get a motor into as good a state of tune as possible. The heart of this is a dynamometer. Steve’s time spent learning what to do and vitally, also what not to do, when it comes to modifying and tuning engines, has stood him in good stead. There is simply no short-cut to gathering experience.
Steve’s Auto Clinic became a household name in SA for tuning vehicles for more power without compromising reliability. The business expanded hugely over the years with experience gained on race tracks countrywide in partnership with leading motoring brands. An in-house engineering facility was birthed with the ability to do performance enhancing engineering without compromise. Gas flowing cylinder heads, enlarging throttle bodies and fitting bigger valves if required, became all in a days work.
Talking to Steve, I get the feeling that over time [30 odd years], as Steve’s Auto Clinic grew into an entity that he could never have imagined, he started feeling more and more as if he had a tiger by the tail. For a man who is at his absolute happiest when he is tuning a motor hands on, SAC had become a huge, albeit successful, franchised entity that demanded too much of his time to manage, robbing him of the tuning work that is so much his happy place. And so a plan was hatched.
The work demands from the evolution of SAC also meant that Steve neglected what is perhaps his first love. Motorcycles. After almost 30 years, he has withdrawn, for all intents and purposes, from working on cars, Bakkies and things with four wheels, to focus on bikes. To this end he has enlisted the assistance of his son Wesley who, no surprise, given the lifelong influence of Steve, shares his passion for performance enhancing mods on bikes. Wes has proved a sponge to soak up and apply the years of knowledge that Steve has accumulated on engine performance enhancement.
Content Supplied by Dave Cilliers – ZA Bikers.