Big-Name Distributor Caught Stealing Small Shop’s Part Design and Selling It on Summit (UPDATED)

Speedmaster sold counterfeit versions of Broader Performance’s valve bodies, and nobody even bothered to take the name off the part.

byNico DeMattia|
Big-Name Distributor Caught Stealing Small Shop’s Part Design and Selling It on Summit (UPDATED)


Jay Robarge designs and builds upgraded Ford transmission parts, mostly for drag racing, under the Broader Performance name. Since Robarge only sells directly to customers, leaving out middle-man distributors, you can imagine his surprise when someone contacted him about a faulty valve body they bought from Summit Racing. Robarge doesn't sell to Summit Racing, so he immediately knew something was awry. As he investigated further, he learned that another company was ripping off his designs and selling them through one of the automotive industry's largest retailers.

On April 11, Robarge took to YouTube with two different valve bodies in hand: his own and one that he bought from Summit. The latter came in a box with Speedmaster branding, but inside, Robarge found a valve body with "Broader Performance" machined into its face. He concluded that Speedmaster machined a valve body identical to his own but either couldn't be bothered to remove the engraving or decided to use that branding for its gain.

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Speedmaster is a large, international company. It maintains a presence at the annual SEMA show in Las Vegas and even partners with the NHRA. The company's CEO Jason Kencevski claims in a YouTube video that his father in Australia founded the business in 1979 and has since sold 25,000 parts. However, he also says "The catch is, we're not sourcing 25,000 parts. We're actually designing, manufacturing, testing 25,000 parts." Robarge's video suggests otherwise.

How did Robarge know that Speedmaster was machining its own version of his design? The tooling marks on the face of the valve bodies were different, proving that Speedmaster's didn't come from his shop. It's unclear how and why this happened, though. It's possible that Speedmaster bought one of his products, 3D-scanned it, copied it, and sold it under its own brand rather than licensing the design or developing its own. When reached for comment by The Drive, Speedmaster itself said it isn't sure how this happened, promising that an active investigation is underway.

Summit Racing commented on Robarge's first video: "We take the issue of counterfeit and knock-off parts very seriously and were unaware of your example until seeing this video. We put any inventory of the product detailed in your video on hold and have made it unsellable. We will review with Speedmaster and take the necessary actions based on those conversations. Thank you for making us aware."

However, some forum members and Redditors rightly wondered why Summit never opened or inspected a Speedmaster parts box before doing business with the company. If Speedmaster copied Broader Performance, then it's possible that it copies other brands as well.

In a follow-up video, Robarge expressed his gratitude for all the support he's received from fans, customers, and the car-building community in general. Summit also followed up with another comment, saying it will no longer do business with Speedmaster. "All Speedmaster products have been removed from our website and from our sellable inventory," the company said on social media.

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Robarge suggests that Speedmaster is a Chinese company, and Kencevski claims that it has three locations: Sydney, Los Angeles, and Shanghai. It's unclear where all of Speedmaster's parts come from; maybe different components are manufactured in different countries. However, where the parts are made isn't the issue. The issue lies with a big business like Speedmaster—which has hundreds of thousands of followers on social media—selling exact copies of a part that was designed and built in-house by a much smaller manufacturer. Not only that, but it then sells those parts through massive international retailers like Summit.

A Speedmaster spokesperson told The Drive, "Speedmaster takes great pride in our history of service since we were founded as a small speed workshop in 1979. We have been fortunate to grow over a 40-year period, in large part due to the care and dedication we devote to our customers and partners. We aim to consistently push boundaries to produce proprietary and visually distinctive products with the very best technology. Our commitment knows no bounds designing, developing, testing, and manufacturing products in our own facilities.

"For these reasons, we are appalled by the events of the last week with Broader Performance, and we are doing a full investigation into how this issue occurred. It appears to be an isolated incident that has never occurred before."

Speedmaster claims to be in direct contact with Broader Performance. As part of its investigation, the company promises to focus on its "shared Chinese manufacturing partners," adding that "[a]ppropriate guardrails are needed to keep Speedmaster products separate and distinct, and to prevent counterfeit activity. We will take whatever action necessary and stricter processes will be implemented."

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Is Broader Performance the only small business Speedmaster has copied? That's unclear at the moment. No other reports of such shady activity have been made. Still, there are several Reddit posts and YouTube videos of customers complaining about the quality of Speedmaster's parts.

The company's statement concludes, "We commit to providing an update on these items as soon as possible. We sincerely apologize for any issues it has caused, and will ensure this does not happen again."

Without a Summit customer reaching out to Robarge about a failing product, he would have never known this was happening. Customers also would have been none the wiser since the part still says "Broader Performance" on it. So if you're buying a part made by a small company you trust, it's worth buying directly from that company rather than a third-party retailer to ensure you know where it's coming from.

Updated on 04/23/2024 at 10:15 a.m. ET: This story now includes an official statement from Speedmaster, added above.

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