Whether you want parts or advice on your racing project, EBS offers the complete solution for customers around the world, as Total 911 finds out…
Being inspired by a 930 Turbo is a pretty good reason for starting a business, and that’s exactly what happened to Jon Freismidl. As a teenager his first sight of the car was on a German autobahn, and it began a lifelong passion for all things Neunelfer – one culminating in the formation of Engine Building Supply some 15 years later. Better known as EBS Racing, we were keen to pay him a visit at his impressive premises in Reno, Nevada. Once there, you find a business steeped in all things Porsche, and one that’s truly committed to its customers. Oh yes, and there’s a diner and bar, too. We’ll come back to that.
First thing is finding out a bit more about the beginnings of the business, and Jon is keen to explain: “I’d worked in automotive parts before, and was involved with things like 911 RSR restorations, but after being laid off I found myself working in construction. All the time I was thinking about how to get back to selling 911 parts, and took the decision to re-establish the business from home.” That business expanded quickly, somewhat taking over his house in San Francisco, so the early 1990s saw Jon make the decision to move to Reno, where things kept on growing. “We soon had to move to bigger premises and take on more staff, but it wasn’t long before we were on the move again and found our current site in 2007,” he explains.
Today, EBS can supply top-quality parts and expertise for any Porsche, and they are seeing a notable resurgence of interest in the front-engined models, but it’s clear that the 911 remains at the heart of what they do. Jon himself owns a number of interesting models, from a 1973 ‘T’ that’s in the process of being converted to RS specification, to a 1999 996 for which his skilled team are developing a 3.9-litre engine conversion. It’s that latter car that gives a clue to another exciting aspect of the EBS business, but first things first, and that’s discovering that the supply of OEM and quality aftermarket components continues to form an important part of what this company is all about.
Being quite possibly the largest suppliers of 911 pistons and cylinders in the world is impressive enough, but it turns out that there’s rather more to it than that. “Just selling parts is easy, but it’s our specialist skills and experience that make us different” says Jon. “We have a real, deep-rooted expertise that means our customers have confidence in us, which means we can build a strong relationship with them, and ensure they have everything they need to undertake a job.” So how does that translate in practice? Well, for one thing it’s led to EBS developing a range of engine and transmission rebuild kits: complete packages where the customer knows that not only will everything they need be there – including any special tools if necessary – but that there’s also complete transparency when it comes to cost.
That latter point is an important one, as the company say they have seen a noticeable shift
in recent years. The rise in values of Porsche cars means customers are willing to spend money, but only on parts of the highest quality, so confidence that they’ve come to the right place is crucial. Talk of customer demand brings us neatly to the other side of the business – upgrades and motorsport builds.
Here, Jon and his team can really deploy all of that expertise and enthusiasm, planning and discussing every aspect of a project so that the customer knows they’re getting the very best solution, one that will use the very best parts for the job, and it’s something the company prides itself on. If you want a 911 for fast-road or occasional track use, or to go from competitive racing to rallying,
EBS can supply everything you’re going to need. Whether that’s just a chat and some advice, or special components – pistons manufactured to the company’s own specification, for example – this is very much a one-stop shop that enables an owner to bring their dream project to fruition. As if all of that isn’t enough, there’s another equally fascinating string to the EBS bow. They also offer the full range of machine shop services, something that makes them different from their competitors. Jon explains, “It’s another way of showing people that we’re not just about selling parts, and no matter what the job, we can take it on.”
The work can include accurate measurement of components and then machining or rebuilding, either to factory tolerances, or to a specification suitable for motorsport. Reconditioning the cylinders for aircooled engines has become another growing part of the business. “Customers send them in, and we can undertake everything from re-bores to re-finishing the Nikasil linings.” It’s a hugely impressive operation, making it easy to see why the expertise of EBS is in demand from 911 owners across the globe. Although our discussion with Jon is nearly over, there’s just enough time to ask him about that diner, a question that brings a chuckle from the affable founder.
“It’s a tradition in Germany to relax a bit on a Friday, so we thought we’d bring a slice of that to Nevada. It’s a great opportunity for customers and enthusiasts to come together to talk all things Porsche, and what better way to do that than to invite them to the shop for burgers or spaghetti and meatballs! Accompanied by a few beers or sodas it’s a great atmosphere, and when a customer rings me up to discuss a project I can say sure, come over and we’ll cook lunch for you at the same time,” Jon explains.
Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to sample the famous American hospitality, but our visit was a fascinating opportunity to find out more about this talented and enthusiastic business – one that Jon Freismidl and his team are rightly proud of. It’s been more than 40 years since that first sighting of the mighty 911 Turbo, but visit EBS today and you’ll soon see that it’s never been forgotten.
“We have a real, deep-rooted expertise that means our customers have confidence in us, so we can build a strong relationship with them”
Jon Freismidl’s business has been operating out of Reno, Nevada since 1993
EBS doesn’t just sell car parts, undertaking re-bores and refinishing of nikasil linings, as well as prepping race cars