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FAI Automotive plc has evolved out of motor sport, with its attendant high standards of technical, logistical and administrative efficiency. Ian Walker, our founder was a semi-professional racing and rally driver from 1956 to 1962, when he retired from driving and formed Ian Walker Racing (IWR).
This was a fully professional four-car race team, which campaigned all over Europe and North America with considerable success. Apart from two contracted drivers, the team was fortunate to have the services on an occasional basis, of such drivers as Jimmy Clark, Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart. When IWR was closed down in 1968, its assets and some of the personnel were integrated into Ian Walker Service – a garage business – which specialised in the sale and service of high performance cars, particularly Lotus. It also produced and marketed performance conversions, such as camshafts, cylinder heads, inlet and exhaust manifolds and eventually competition engines.
In 1974 we commenced engine re-conditioning for road cars and consequently were regrinding road camshafts and, due to the cost of engine parts prevailing then, began sourcing outside of the franchised networks. As we built up stock holding and availability for ourselves, we saw a market opportunity to offer a range of engine parts to the engine re-conditioning industry.
Commencing in 1976 the small range offered included re-profiled camshafts, followers, tappets, rocker shafts, oil pump repair kits, timing chains and core plugs. We started with an 8 part range consisting of a total of only 135 part numbers, and were operating out of a premises comprising of 2,250 square feet.
We now operate out of a premises covering 110,000 square feet, our current range of products consists of over 25 product lines, 40,000 part numbers covering 100+ vehicle manufacturers and at any time, our average parts inventory totals over 5,000,000 items.
Over the years we have made significant investments to the product ranges we have on offer. In 2015 our Gaskets and Head Bolts saw over 2,000 part numbers introduced, Steering and Suspension currently boasts over 5,000 part numbers, while our Timing Chain Kits offer the most comprehensive kits in terms of content but also car parc coverage found in the market today. We are also the sole UK authorised distributor of the industry leading Lucas Glow Plugs which consists of over 150 part numbers.
We are continually making additions to all of our product ranges, while introducing whole new product lines like our new Sump Pans, Torsional Vibration Dampers and Oil Control Vavles.
Here at FAI we believe our continuing success has been achieved by maintaining certain key principles:
Ian Walker’s first major rally.
The birth of Ian Walker Racing.
Ian Walker Racing began its transition into Blue Flash.
Blue Flash Products commence engine re-conditioning for road cars.
Blue Flash Products develops as a reputable brand for engine rebuilding and associated products.
FAI = Flexatherm Automotive International.
FAI add the first of many MLS gaskets to range, HG907
FAI partner with Goodyear Engineered Product to be the UK distributor. This partnership lasted up until 2012.
FAI’s premises grew from 2,250 square feet to over 67,500 feet.
FAI receive their ISO accreditation
FAI launch their online presence.
FAI introduces the first laser welded head gaskets to range.
FAI are appointed the Lucas Diesel distributor for European markets.
FAI begin listing their products on Tecdoc and achieve an A rating as a data supplier.
FAI launch their online catalogue.
The company overcame a fire at its warehouse, 1.4 million pounds worth of damage. Never missed a day of operation, and came back strong from this huge event.
FAI introduce a range of Timing Chain Kits that soon explodes to over 400 references and sees FAI positioned as the leader in the Aftermarket.
FAI spot an “opening” in the market and launch a range of Window Regulators.
FAI achieve the milestone of selling 1 000 000 steering parts in a 12 month period.
Due to the massive success of Timing Chain Kits, FAI introduce Oil Control Valves.
FAI continues to expand its product offering with Sump Pans as this compliments many existing ranges.
FAI launch a range of top quality TVDs complimenting our other bottom engine products.
FAI has been specifically recognised for the outstanding growth in International Trade, one of four categories within the Queen’s Award program.
The Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 is a prestigious award that ranks the highest achieving UK companies based on international growth. FAI were ranked
143rd in an article published in the Sunday times, which is viewed by 3 million readers;
a figure that encompasses 54% of the business elite audience.