Automotive and Small Business

Car customizer Kenny Brown resurfaces in Chicago

September 3, 2011

Former Speedway-based Mustang tuner Kenny Brown is back in business, but not here.

Brown, who closed his local operation in 2005 after his health failed and finances soured, has struck an alliance with suburban-Chicago-based Heidts Automotive, which makes street rod and muscle car components. Heidts will be the manufacturing and distribution partner for the reborn Kenny Brown Performance.

Brown, a former associate of Saleen Performance founder Steve Saleen, had a shop on Gasoline Alley and thousands of die-hard performance-car fans. He received frequent, national recognition in publications such as Car & Driver for his customized Ford Mustangs and Crown Victorias.

His $2-million-a-year business hit a wall in late 2005 when Alabama-based Regions Bank won a $704,367 judgment in Marion Circuit Court representing the outstanding balance of small-business loans.

The assets were acquired by Eagle Creek Golf Course owner Jerry Hayslett, who briefly carried on making racing parts under a separate company.

Brown’s health improved in recent years. His company is holding an invitation-only track event Sept. 9-11 at Putnam Park, about 45 miles west of Indianapolis.

Before folding his Speedway shop, Brown complained that he couldn’t find suitable facilities or financing support locally for his type of motorsports business.

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