Arne: It was then that we both decided we wanted to get back into modifying cars. Martin and I picked up another Mercury XR4Ti back in 1998. We wanted to build the car to autocross and drag race so our plans were to modify the turbocharged engines with exhaust, intake, boost controller, and more.
Martin: We began playing with the engine and got the power up to 360 whp on pump gas. Mind you, this was back in 1999. The only ECU tuning available at the time was modifying the factory ECU calibrations with a mod called the EEC Tuner. We took the car to Great Lakes Dragway and ended up roasting the tires in every gear, but we managed a mid 13 and an 115mph trap speed, which was pretty impressive for that time era. I became so involved with Merkur's it became our testbed of sorts. I learned everything from turbocharging to intercooler designs. I also learned to weld aluminum by making the custom radiator and intercooler setup using this car.
Arne: At the time I was working at a truck shop called Fries Automotive, towing semitrucks. We stored the Merkur there and Martin would come by and work on the car while I was working the evening shift. When I got off of work I would join in on the fun. Every opportunity we had, we both ended up working on the car, even on weekends.
Martin: I fondly remember using the towing yards MIG/TIG welder dubbed "Weldzillla." This thing was literally 800 pounds and it burnt the crap out of me on numerous occasions as I tried to figure out how to work this contraption. The amateur I was at the time, I didn't know how quickly heat transferred on aluminum when welding and ended up frying my arm. I recall one day I decided to port the cylinder heads at Arne's garage and ended up in the hospital the next day. I was only wearing safety goggles and managed to lodge some cast-iron chunks into my eye. Those were good times.
Arne: Martin and his friend Fritz Moore, a NASA engineer, decided to build some turbo spec cams for the Merkur since no company had them at the time. The reason why AMS was first born was to sell these cams.
Martin: Back then, before we even had a shop, I became a Quaife and Turbonetics dealer by doing group buys on the Internet while I was still working for my dad. The car parts sales were part time out of my dad's machine shop. It's funny because even today we still get calls for the cam we sold. I'd have to admit those were the best cams ever designed for the Ford 2.3 liter. The sales of the cams were good for a short time but the demand rapidly fell off so we began looking for another product to design.
Arne: Martin was driving around a Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 as a daily driver. At the time there wasn't an aftermarket intercooler kit upgrade for the car so he and our friend and now shop manager Tim Salefski decided to build a custom kit to sell on the market. And that's pretty much how we both got involved in the Mitsubishi camp.