Raceco was originally founded in the early 1980s by David Kreisler. Raceco quickly became a powerhouse racecar builder to rival the Chenowth brand in open-wheel buggy designs. Kreisler’s forward thinking attitude was perfectly timed to coincide with that era’s push in Class 1 designs for longer wheelbases, greater wheel travel and high horsepower engines.
Wanting to open his own shop after spending years building off-road masterpieces with Jerry Penhall, Jamie Campbell realized that bringing back the Raceco name would be a smart move considering its history and knowing a number of die hard owners of the original Kreisler built cars. An eighteen year veteran fabricator, chassis designer and racer, new business owner Jamie Campbell is poised to tackle the new challenge. “I have a lot of passion and respect for our industry, and felt there was a need to resurrect this once-dominating brand back to our sport,” Jamie says.
While the sale of the original company to a military company in 1994 prevents Campbell from using the North American Raceco name, he has the blessing of Kreisler to revie the former brand under Raceco-USA. Now working in sales for Castle Metals, Kreisler admits that he still thinks the Raceco name is pretty cool and that he enjoys many aspects of the sport he did so much to develop.
Kreisler shared the fact that he was fortunate enough to be in the “right place at the right time” in the early 1980’s when he formed his original company. He started in the industry rebuilding Volkswagen swing-axle transmissions, and also benefited from a along friendship with veteran off-road racer Marty Letner. he was also a winning driver whose knowledge helped immensely in deveoping new thinging, not to mention an important aspect he didn’t have; a fixed fiberglass body mold. According to Kreisler, he greatly admired the cars competitor Gil George and Funco were building, but the fact their design was limited by a fixed by style gave Raceco more flexibility to create whatever customers wanted. Armed with an engieering mind, for Kreisler the mantra was always function over form, although some of the customer cars he built were made beautiful by individual owners.
Today Kreisler also realizes he was fortunate to have his Class 1 cars driven to big overall victories, first by Billy Wright and then the famous Mickey Thompson win at the 1982 SCORE Baja 1000. He wasn’t afraid to push the performance envelope either, bing the first to run Bom Summers’ radical outboard CV hubs for more wheel travel, introducing a cab forward chassis configuration for better visibility and new, more powerful power plant and drivetrain options.
Campbell, now 36 and the brother of Honda factory motorcycle racer and team owner Johnny Campbell, has earned a solid reputation and is confident tht Raceco will return as a top contender. Raceco has just moved into the spacious 7,500 square foot shop in Irvine, California, formerly occupied by Wide Open Baja and Roger Norman Motorsports. Raceco-USA can accomodate all aspects of chassis and suspension design, race prep and custom aluminum work, as well as general fabrication and specialty piece and production contracts.
Raceco-USA is located at 6 Bendix, Irvine, Ca 92618.