Many a VWvortex staff member has literally watched Todd Sager’s little one-bay shop grow steadily since its inception back in 1991. As we happened to be in their area for a feature car photo shoot, we took an opportunity to visit our good friends at AWE Tuning.
These days AWE is a much different “beast” as compared to the GIAC distributor and somewhat typical garage/aftermarket performance shop it once was. While still being a distributor for GIAC software, Bilstein and H&R, Todd has also branched-out into the manufacturing business. Upon entering the relatively new-to-us shop, it is clear that this is not your average one-bay shop from back in the day. Spread across the new, expansive garage space were numerous 2.7 liter twin-turbo engines with freshly upgraded turbos, awaiting reinstallation into the S4 engine bays from which they came. I have always been told that a good shop is one that is not only clean, but incredibly organized as well. Todd’s new shop definitely satisfies both of those criteria, and for a moment, upon first entering, we thought we were in a laboratory. And there was still more to come…
After viewing the Mustang dynamometer, which AWE uses to dial in some of their customer’s monster all wheel drive Audis and various VWs, we proceeded back to the heart of AWE, which is the area where their exhaust systems are manufactured. Situated there were rows of finished stainless steel exhaust systems being prepped to ship off to their new owners. It is a shame some of these pieces go underneath the car where nobody will ever see them, because quite arguably, they are true works of art. AWE has clearly moved from being just your typical “parts hanger” garage to a parts and systems manufacturer. Today, everything built at AWE is done with the mentality that it will be used on other cars. Templates are drawn and rigs are made to ensure that the specific exhaust pipes can be reproduced for multiple types of cars. The knowledge from making kits and exhausts is not lost on one-off specials, and this means that the quality of the systems can be reproduced time and time again.
You will also notice from the pictures that AWE does not tune for VWs and Audis exclusively. We found a new Porsche 911 in the process of having a new custom exhaust installed, replete with new heater boxes as well. As a matter of fact, Todd’s daily driver is a new 911(996) twin-turbo monster that has already had its ECU massaged by GIAC programming and its suspension tweaked by H&R. We can attest that this car is an absolute blast to drive and will immediately make you re-evaluate your distinction between a “fast” car and a “quick” car.
We had a great time looking around AWE’s new location, and it is very satisfying for us to see all the different ways in which Todd has built upon his original business plan and expanded it into logical and interesting directions. Judging by the rows of exhaust waiting to ship out and the number of cars awaiting turbo kits and exhausts, it is readily apparent that AWE Tuning is doing something right, and certainly headed someplace even better. We greatly appreciate Todd opening the shop up for us to come by and witness AWE Tuning’s transformation.
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