Every year QA1 holds their annual open house in the month of July and rolls up the shop doors for everyone to see what they’re up to. This year was a little bit special for us because we got to leave the office for a few days and travel to Lakeville, Minnesota, to pay a visit to our long-time friends and see their digs first hand.
If you’ve ever been to their open house, you’ll know that the first part of the tours through the facility is to park among some of the coolest cars in the area and participate in their Open House/Car Show. For the past couple of years, we’ve checked out the rides from afar, but this year we got to see the people, mingle a little, and take our own pictures of some killer rides.
The open house begins early in the morning with tours throughout the facility, showing the latest and greatest that QA1 has to offer the motorsports industry and street muscle community. From Mustang suspension kits to Mopar six-link rear suspensions, these parts are all made right there at QA1. New products are constantly rolling off the line, whether it’s a GM G-body, A-body, or some of the coolest classic musclecars, chances are QA1 has something for your car.
We went through their various departments to see some of the billet parts being CNC machined, and then stopped in to watch the process as each one of their shocks was assembled by hand and then tested to make sure it complies with the strict measures that QA1 expects from its products.
Strength testing their spherical ends. Check out the breaking point on the rod end!
We were able to see how simple it is to rebuild shocks from QA1, and to see how each part is manufactured, engraved, labeled, and assembled to create a billet aluminum shock absorber. They can provide you with a replacement shock, single-, double-, and quad-adjustable coilover shocks, as well as custom made shocks built from your specifications.
Most everything is done in house at QA1, and they have their own staff to operate the CNC machines, weld control arms and K-members together, and to manufacture one of their newest products: the carbon fiber driveshafts. These new driveshafts are light weight, but pull off some heavy duty numbers for strength and durability.
While there are still some proprietary secrets that QA1 would like to keep under wraps for the time being, we did get to see how a driveshaft is wound on the machines, heated in a “real big oven” (that’s the technical term we were given), and assembled and tested prior to shipping out to the customer.
We’ll be sharing a little more about the carbon fiber driveshafts in an upcoming installation, with more details about how to order these incredibly lightweight driveshafts. QA1 introduced them at SEMA last fall, and they plan to have a few new products for us this. There were a couple new products that they told us about that they couldn’t share with anyone else. They swore us to secrecy, so even though we can’t tell you exactly what the mad scientists at QA1 are up to, we can tell you that there are some exciting new products on the horizon for QA1.
Charlie Pehrson at QA1 told us, “Yes, we have a couple irons in the fire and we had to roll them away and cover them up because we’re not quite ready to share them with everyone just yet.” We would have loved to see what secrets they were working on, but alas, if he had shown them to us then, well, we’d have to share it with you, right? He knew better, so we’re kind of in the dark, too.
After all the morning shop tours were over with, it was time for some awards and announcements before the crowd fired up their rides and headed off to the Street Machine Summer Nationals taking place at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. The cruise began at about 9:30 AM, but rather than leaving QA1 in an orderly fashion, all of those amped up gearheads took to the streets and showed us what their cars were made of.
QA1 does not condone frying the hides on the adjacent streets and they take no claim of responsibility for the actions of their car show attendees. But a few of the employees did provide us with a bird’s eye view of some of the coolest burnouts and some awesome musclecars strutting their stuff. From normally aspirated V8s to wild turbocharged and supercharged engine swaps, from sports cars to street trucks, and from one end of the street to the other, it was wall to wall burnout, and we got a few pics of these musclecars in action. You can see some of the action in the video below.
Who knows, maybe next year we can participate in the open house and join the cruise to the Summer Nats? We’ll have to see, but in the meantime, enjoy the gallery below and our trip through QA1 above. Don’t forget to check out the QA1 website to see what suspension and drivetrain components they have for your ride, and if you’re heading to the Summer Nats next year, now you know what to do with your Friday morning!