If you’re into the modifying game, chances are you would have spoken to (or heard of) Ivan Krenek. Ivan owns Mr Turbo, a company that has been servicing the performance and tuning industry for well over 20-years. He’s been suppling Speed and Sound readers with everything that’s required to make horsepower. And lot’s of it too.
Born of frustration, Ivan banged his head numerous times whilst looking for affordable solutions to make his turbocharged toys perform without breaking the budget, thus creating Mr Turbo. Batty paid Ivan a visit at his Johannesburg walk-in store to discuss the blueprint for Mr Turbo’s success.
Tell us about the earlier days of Mr Turbo and why you started it? Same as most of the other hooligan performance shops in this country, I had a passion for motorcars. Back in the 1990s, I owned a few serious turbocharged cars such as a Jetta Mk3 16V turbo (way before Fast and Furious was even released), a VR6 turbo and a number of others. During the time of these builds, I found it extremely difficult to source performance parts and components, and most of the time I found myself modifying truck turbos to fit onto our cars, fabricating intercoolers out of refrigeration parts, and the list goes on. I then decided to make turbos and other performance parts readily available to man on the street.
What has been the recipe for Mr Turbo’s success? Simple, really, Don’t screw people over and they will come back to you with more money. It’s quite a rare thing to do in our performance industry.
What makes your turbos more of a better option than the more pricier brand names?
Mr Turbo turbochargers are sold at a fraction of the price of brand name turbochargers. They have been tested (and abused) on the streets and drag strips around the country for many years now with much success. Consumers must also remember that brand name turbochargers are not repairable by companies that sell them here in SA. So with that in mind, we have all the spare parts needed to repair them. We get regular visits from customers who’ve endured some sort of turbo damage, be it from a simple tuning error to foreign matter damage like valves and pistons going through the turbine wheel or stones, birds and little children being sucked in by the compressor wheel when an air filter is not used.
We’re abit in the dark with regards to products from the East – are the Chinese versions really that good? We buy our products from same factories that produce and manufacture Turbonetics, Precision, Garret, Eagle, and other brand name companies. So our customers will still get the same quality at an affordable price.
You seem to stock a lot of replacement turbos for OEM models. Do you find turbo failure to be a regular occurrence in this market? At our altitude, turbochargers need to work harder and spin faster to achieve the same boost as in Europe, USA or anywhere else in the world.
Mr Turbo sells OEM replacement turbochargers for most vehicles sold in SA. And with thousands of turbochargers and cores in stock, we offer immediate replacement.
What warranties do you offer on your turbos? Mr Turbo offers a “no hassle warranty”. Obviously we don’t guarantee foreign matter damage or insufficient lubrication.
What is your number 1 selling item? It has to be repair parts for genuine Garret ball-bearing turbochargers, including Turbonetics and Precision components. Lately our 4-point harnesses is also on our top selling list.
The Mr Turbo GT-series turbochargers, like the GT35 has become a household name: why is that? It’s virtually a bulletproof turbocharger that can make 500kW. Bang for buck, it’s the way to go!
You love exotic cars? Which is your favourite? I don’t think there is anyone that doesn’t like exotics, Lamborghini is really the best there is.
Tell us about the blue Lambo? What model is it, and why did you twin turbocharge it? Look, a Lamborghini Gallardo makes about 250kW on the wheels in stock form. Most of our Mr Turbo customers that drive Focus STs and Golf GTis will buy our hybrid turbo upgrade package that will make the same power. It becomes a tad embarrassing when a supercar is ass-whipped by a little hatchback, so I decided to fit two Mr Turbo GT35 turbochargers to a Gallardo. It makes about 700kw on the wheels at 0.8-bar boost.
Is it true that your showroom caters for the “every form of motorsport” shopper? Absolutely, however we focus more on performance products. You won’t find flea-market items at our stores like GT stripes, radios, speakers, door pins, stickers bumpers etc. Everything that we sell will improve performance of your car.
Who else is in the Mr Turbo team? Alex is the man behind the scenes that makes everything happen while both Christa and Leanne look after our JHB and international customers. Farida is a passionate sales representative in KZN, and probably the most passionate member of the Mr Turbo team. Damir in Cape Town is single-handedly managing our strongest shop. Johan Minnar has most experience in performance market and tuning.
Your opinion on the current economy and how it’s influenced the modifying industry? People don’t really buy new cars. They will rather modify what they currently have.
Where do you see Mr Turbo in 5 years from now? We’re already a household name for performance parts and turbos. You will see alot more shops opening.
Do you offer franchises? Not at the moment. But 2019 is the year to expand.