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Excessive Autosports

Growing up, Joey Keyman spent the majority of his time in the garage his dad, Jim ran on East 10th Street. He spent much of his time listening, learning, and helping where he could. Feeling a certain comfort in the shop, it turned into an effective way to learn and have fun at the same time by working and riding the car hoist in his free time. Though Excessive Autosports (EA) was opened in 1997, the shop had been in the family for decades. Joey’s grandpa, Hank (Henry) Keyman, and later his dad, Jim, owned the Golf gas station on East 10th Street. It was a full service gas station that included auto repair. When the city expanded 10th street from two lanes to four, they took some of the land from the station. They got rid of the pumps and concentrated on repair work, becoming Jims Auto Service. Joey hung around the shop all the time. Before he got his driver’s permit he would drive the cars into the stall for his dad. He learned a lot from Jim and also had a natural ability to work on cars. “We did mostly general maintenance,” recalls Keyman. Joey’s passion for speed started with his dad. Jim founded the Siouxland Street Rodders Club around 1972. His prized possession was his 1935 Chevy (Mother Skunk). It was all black with a white stripe down the middle of the car. Jim branched out doing custom work on street rods and Joey helped him out.

Time passed quickly and in 1997, Joey and a friend came up with the name Excessive Autosports. They were going to sell aftermarket parts and work on performance cars. His friend ended up following a different path, but Joey started the business part-time while also working with his dad. After Jim’s passing in 1999, Joey decided to open the shop full-time and have one of the first import performance shops in Sioux Falls.

Dan Rexwinkel came to work for Joey in the spring of 2004. He is an ASE certified mechanic and is the longest tenured employee for Joey. “I went to high school in Brookings, went to school at Phoenix Universal Technical Institute (UTI), and am now studying Economics at the University of South Dakota. I returned to Brookings after I graduated UTI and met Tony, who was working for Joey at the time while attending SDSU. He said one of Joey’s employees was moving on to a new career and I thought that building race cars would be really cool.” Though Keyman originally played all roles of tuner, fabricator, technician, office, and sales, now Dan handles much of the PR and customer relations portion of the business for Joey. “Joey is much more comfortable designing, fabrication, and tuning. That is what he is great at. With me being in the office now, I can assist customers much more quickly and let him [Joey] do what he does best. I enjoy talking to customers and running the business side of things.”

In order to give the best advice and relate to customers wants and needs, as well as have some fun, the employees of Excessive Autosports obviously have some toys of their own. “Currently I drive a 2003 Lancer Evolution and before that drove a Mustang that ran 9.7 seconds at 145 MPH in the 1/4 mile. Pushing the limits of what is considered a ‘street car’ is fun.” says Dan. Joey has owned an extensive amount of vehicles in his still early life. “I have owned over 150 cars. Everything from late model Hondas to early model street rods. I used to go through cars like water. I can’t say I had a favorite, though. I grew up more in the domestic world but have learned more about the imports when we started working more on them.” Dustin Christofferson, the newest member of the Excessive Autosports crew also owns a turbocharged Subaru WRX and is currently in the middle of building a turbocharged 1997 Camaro drag car.

Popular movies, such as The Fast and the Furious, really grew the import scene and that became the main portion of EA’s business. “Contrary to what many people think, Excessive Autosports also does not strictly work on import cars. We do an extensive amount of work with domestic, muscle, and classic cars. We focus mainly on PERFORMANCE cars.” says Keyman. “To say that we work on one specific make, model, or generation would be inaccurate. At any given time you can find a blend of import, domestic, late model, and classic cars in our lot.”

The business grew slowly but steadily over the years. As the business grew they added staff. His first employee was Dustin Eliason, who was hired back in 2001. “He is a very talented individual; he was a great fabricator who worked very well in many different scenarios,” recalls Keyman. Joey attracted capable and driven people to his business and has grown to be a great trainer and a talented fabricator. Ryan Christenson was Joey’s next employee. He is an ASE Certified mechanic and has a lot of experience. Tony Reiners was a tech that also worked for Joey. “Tony is a great fabricator, there is no doubt about that,” says Keyman. Dustin Christofferson currently works in the shop with Joey. He is an ASE certified tech but also is a fabricator. He graduated from WyoTech and has worked there for the past year and a half. “He [Dustin] is doing very well and is always improving, it is hard for people to transition from the dealership life, where there is a step-by-step procedure for everything, into a role of always needing to step back and think outside the box,” says Dan.

The shop soon became the local hangout for people that loved to talk cars and explore new, better ways of making them go fast. “We work late at the shop quite a bit in the spring and summer time,” says Dan. “Our friends all stop by. We are always around friends at night while prepping our race cars for the track that weekend.” Back in the early 2000’s when the movie The Fast and the Furious came out, street racing was hot. Joey sponsored the Friday Night Street Legal’s at Thunder Valley not only to gain more public knowledge of the shop, but to help support racing at the track and NOT the street. The track was packed to full capacity and was a great time. The tradition of Friday Night Street Legals is being kept alive by the efforts of others and the track now, but Excessive Autosports always makes sure to participate with some of their more wild cars to put on a show.

“When a client comes in the shop, we visit with them to find their needs and wants so we can give them the most bang for the buck,” says Dan. “I believe you get what you pay for in after market parts. I sell quality parts because I view every customers car I sell parts for as if it were my own. Nothing makes a customer more upset than finding out they received bad advice and it costs them more money in the future. For example, if a customer says they want to make 500 horsepower, I know they will want to make 600 next year because I have been there and understand the need for the continuous adrenaline rush. I will make sure to sell them what they need to take that next step. If their car is simply not capable of that kind of horsepower, I tell them up front. Our
customers appreciate this honesty. They also appreciate our knowledge. We tell them that it is always less expensive to do it right the first time than have to redo it the next time. All of us here at the shop have put time and money into our own cars and we know what works and what doesn’t work. The first car I built made 230 horsepower. The next was 280 and then 415 all the way to 750 horsepower. The jump from 250 to 500 will be noticed more than 500 to 750 but both are very noticeable.”

EA works on everything from stock late model domestics such as Mustangs, Camaros, and Corvettes to imports and drag cars. “Some guys just want to see how much horsepower they can get out of a stock car,” says Dan. “My first question is how fast do you want this to go and what is your budget? From there I can give them the best advice because there are levels of power depending on how much you want to spend. We get a variety of calls, and though we don’t do exterior body work (paneling, doors, paint jobs), we DO build engines, turbo and supercharger kits, roll cages, suspension, back halving, and any other sort of custom fabrication.”

“One of our most memorable cars is Ryan Talcott’s 1993 Mustang Cobra. Ryan has owned this car since 1994 and he has installed every combination of engine/transmission/power adder that you could think of, but finally settling on a 5.4 liter DOHC Lincoln Navigator engine with twin 76mm turbochargers. It is basically a drag car that is street legal. The result was 1,301 horsepower to the wheels before the tires broke loose and spun on the rollers and 8.40 seconds at 173 MPH in the 1/4 mile,” says Joey. “It is terrifying to ride in this car, you need to be completely prepared when riding in the passenger seat at the track. Even with all of the safety equipment, it is still a feeling like no other that will leave you shaking,” says Dan with a smile on his face. “It is like never having ridden a roller coaster before and then riding the highest and fastest one on the planet.” EA’s shop drag car is a 1999 Camaro SS with 427 cu. in. and 106mm turbocharger. Estimated power for this season will be between 1,500 to 1,800 HP to the wheels.

“We are the tuner for all of Jerry’s Corvettes in Beresford. We have a very good relationship with them and tune an average of three to four Corvettes and Camaros for them on a monthly basis. When their customer purchases a vehicle from them, they are given options of power packages, and our tuning services are included,” says Joey. Dan adds, “This is a very good program for everyone involved. Jerrys installs the parts for their customer, anywhere from a simple intake and exhaust, to a camshaft or supercharger depending on what they choose, and then it comes to us for a complete tune which includes before and after numbers and graphs for true proven power results.”

EA customers come from all over the United States and even Canada. They have a customer from Ontario, Canada that found out about them from the Internet. That was the furthest away a customer came from. They have people from Fargo and Omaha as well as Rapid City and Kansas City. The world is much smaller now thanks to the Internet. According to Dan, “We use Facebook and it really helps our business. Our reputation is very strong. However many locals don’t realize our capabilities. Some do not even know that we have a dyno. Others also think we only work on imports. We really want customers with late model domestics to know we have a broad range of talents and how we can increase the performance of their cars.”

EA’s Dyno has really helped their business. Purchased in 2002, there are fewer than a handful of them in the four state area. However, simply having a dyno does not ensure business from people looking to test the performance of their engine. According to Keyman, “People looking to dyno tune, care more about the reputation of the person tuning their car as they do the machine itself. Experience, knowledge, and reputation are everything. Our reputation is important to us and we work hard to maintain it. We want our clients to be passionate about the service they received from us.” Being AEM EMS, EFI basic, and EFI pro certified are just some of the reminders that EA sends to their customers of their experience and knowledge. It is imperative to keep up with ever changing technology in this business. Continuous education is a must, and the crew participates in every class that they can. The three main components of an engine are air, fuel and spark. To know how to make those three components work together is the key. It takes years of practice and continuing education to master the craft of tuning.

The next growth phase of EA’s business will be selling performance parts through their Internet site. Currently at least 90% of the parts they purchase are used for their customer’s builds at the shop. They feel that there is a growth opportunity to sell these parts to do-it-yourselfers. “Our website is undergoing an extensive changes to improve online e-commerce,” says Dan. “Our knowledge and experience is free when they purchase parts from us. That is what can separate us from our many competitors on the web. We can sell everything from suspension components to engine internals to power adders (turbocharges, nitrous, superchargers, etc.). There are many competitors but we feel our passion, experience, and reputation will help us grow. We are still the little guys but we feel clients will see the types of cars that we have built and know that they perform with the parts we put in them and they will want the same performance parts for their vehicle.”

Continued growth will also necessitate additional room. EA would like to build a new building and add an all wheel drive dyno in the near future. There are currently less than 10 in the five-state area. This opens up a whole new market to them. They would be able to tune anything form a street rod to a Lamborghini.

When asked what sets EA apart from competitors, Keyman smiles and says, “We have been around for over a decade. We have experience to produce the power our customers are looking for. Many other shops have come and gone in the area, but we are still here. We are performance at its core. We just love to build things and make them go fast. We will work on anything if it involves making it go faster.”

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