A pledge to build brake products that meet OE fit, form and function has become the foundation of Brake Parts Inc (BPI) and its iconic century-old brand – Raybestos Brakes. However, there is nothing that says the company can’t have a little fun along the way with a vehicle-build giveaway while still working diligently on product engineering, research and development.

The result is what David Overbeeke, BPI president and CEO, calls a ‘classy-looking’ 1953 Advance-Design Chevrolet pickup built by Schwartz Performance legend Jeff Schwartz and his team. Schwartz found what was originally a model 3600, ¾-ton flat bed, equipped with the 235 inline six. When you lift the rounded hood today you’ll find a 400-plus horsepower 2017 Chevrolet 5.3-liter L83 engine. The truck body, now equipped with a new and slightly tubbed bed, sits upon a Schwartz G-Machine chassis. Stopping the powerhouse truck are Raybestos Truck & Medium Duty brake pads – originally designed for a Toyota Tundra, as well as Raybestos RPT (Rust Protection Technology) proprietary zinc electroplated calipers, and AT (Advanced Technology) rotors, used because of their superior metallurgy, he said.

The starter and alternator are from BPI sister company Remy, and the steering rack and pump comes from sister company Maval.

The truck will be given away Oct. 31 at AAPEX in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, the Schwartz Performance team has been taking it on tour to promote the Raybestos brand. Automotive repair and parts professionals can enter to win it through Sept. 8 at www.raybestos.com/winme

Overbeeke notes that the majority of auto parts, including brakes, succeed because of the business-to-business segment of the aftermarket – warehouses, parts stores and the shops that install them, and that’s why the contest is open to those individuals.

Dale Schwartz of Schwartz Performance and son of company founder Jeff Schwartz, noted: “The truck has a great foundation. All of the builds we have done are considered ‘modern performance.’ You’d be amazed at how the truck handles around corners.” He noted that aftermarket suppliers who stock Raybestos Brakes get excited when the truck makes a stop at their businesses for shop owners, techs and motorists to view.

“I was at Brake & Equipment Warehouse in Minneapolis and got to experience it,” he said. “They were very proud to have the Raybestos truck there.” He explained that full-page newspaper ads the warehouse had placed were plastered over all the windows. In addition, warehouse drivers had handed out special flyers to shops to promote the visit.

“The build has been very beneficial to BPI, Schwartz Performance and our suppliers,” Overbeeke said.


The commitment of BPI and the Raybestos brand is to offer friction, rotors, calipers and hydraulics that “emulate what the OE does in its performance, its fit and its function,” Overbeeke said. “That includes longevity and proper noise suppression for friction and rotors. Those rotors must weigh the same and dissipate heat the same as OE. Friction is application-specific and applicable brake hardware is included in the premium lines.”

With that, Overbeeke said that Raybestos will never be the cheap guy or the “novelty high-end guy” on everything.

“In today’s complex world of brakes you have to have more than a few friction applications, they have to be application specific to perform properly and they have to have value. We do all of that.”

The Chevy pickup, and the previous builds that include a ’32 Ford Hauler, a ’64 Pontiac GTO, a 2013 Roush Mustang, a Toyota Tundra Rattlesnake, a ’71 Camaro and a ’69 Mustang, draw the attention of those who sell brake pads throughout the country. “These things take time. When we started this, we knew it was going to take six or so builds to gain momentum. The shops are now looking for the next ‘tin tacker’ of the build to hang up for display. It shows Raybestos loud and clear and those are the kind of things that last, and I do think it is having an impact. It all ties in.”

A special program that offers a tin-tacker display of the truck, and a T-shirt depicting it, has been the most successful compared to other builds with more than 1,000 purchases, according to Paul Ferrandino, BPI chief commercial officer. A similar program that offers a shop cabinet with a photo of the truck is gaining attention as well, he said.

“Our new products have an impact, the marketing dynamics have had an impact, and the fact that we have competitiveness and we have finished with the rebuilding of the company has a great impact,” Overbeeke said. “For the past 31/2 years we have had stellar industry-leading fill rates. I think it is a combination of all the factors. The truck gets the Raybestos name out there. It gets people attached to it. We always have a great following at AAPEX when we give a vehicle away, but it’s just part of the picture of the major overhaul of Brake Parts Inc that has been taking place for the past 10 years,” he said. For the first six of those 10 years BPI was transformed into being world-class and competitive, moving production to best-cost countries, but not to the lowest-cost countries, he said.

The second part of the change was to maintain the legacy of Raybestos, which has over 100 years of innovation. It was the very first company long before we owned it to introduce ceramics. We were the first to introduce hybrid technologies with Raybestos Element3™ EHT™ (Enhanced Hybrid Technology). That innovation, I believe, is the key. You’ve seen it with our Opti-Cal calipers too. You’ve seen that with us now that we’re into Truck and Medium Duty brakes. We are the largest aftermarket provider of brake pads for police and our European coverage is R90-certified. We sell more of our police friction to law enforcement than any other company. Why? Because Raybestos performs exceptionally well for a demanding audience. It works so well, law enforcement wanted their accompanying service vehicles added. That’s the reputation we’ve put into the product.”

Ferrandino said the next move for the Raybestos brand will include the grouping of lines together. This will make purchasing choices much easier for suppliers and shops. For example, when a shop orders Element3 EHT pads, they can also order Element3 rotors, calipers and hydraulics.

More than $20 million in investments are taking place at BPI global manufacturing facilities in China, India and Mexico as well, he said. The company is moving away from coke-fired ovens to electric furnaces that will enhance friction consistency as well as aid the environment. Paint lines are being enriched as well for rotors. Engineering, research and development also are being expanded.

The truck that everyone wants to win also ties into the Raybestos Truck and Medium-Duty friction line, which can be found on the vehicle.

Jerry Forystek, BPI director of friction product development, notes that Truck and Medium Duty, for the most part, starts with ¾-ton pickups and sometimes even ½-ton pickups. These brakes aren’t required for everyday pickups used as passenger vehicles, but are the smart choice for commercial vehicles driven by plumbers, lawn-care providers, farmers and others who load the trucks to the max or pull extra heavy loads. Instead of just offering a one-formula severe-duty line of pad, Raybestos offers application-specific friction for a wide variety of vehicles. They include:

Class 1 6,000 lbs. or less

Class 2 6,001-10,000 lbs.

Class 3 10,001-14,000 lbs.

Class 4 14,001-16,000 lbs;

Class 5 6,001-19,500 lbs.

Class 6 19,501-26,000 lbs.

Class 7 26,001 to 33,000 lbs.

Class 8 33,000 lbs. or heavier.

Forystek said the Truck and Medium Duty brake pads for normally over ¾ and 1-ton applications incorporate mechanical attachment steel. This pad design also is used on all police-pursuit vehicles, as well as a significant amount of applications that have long and banana-shaped pads.

“The advantages of what it will do for puck retention and to eliminate shear and end lift is remarkable,” Forystek said. “There is a lot of movement of a pad over time when vehicles are used to the maximum. It can bend and it can twist. By having the mechanical attachment, you reduce the possibility of that puck being removed from the surface of the steel. By having the pad mechanically attached, it gives you significant opportunities for improved life of the pad, even during severe-duty situations.

“When mechanical attachment is explained properly, the customer understands it. He looks at it and says, ‘Hey, this is something I am willing to pay for because I know it’s going to help that pad last through the life of that pad even if I abuse it.’”

The Raybestos pickup uses Truck & Medium Duty pads with part numbers that normally fit a Toyota Tundra and were chosen because of the performance activities it has been involved in while on tour throughout the country.

“When tested on a dyno, a regular pad may not bend or twist as much, but in the real world where the guys overload the trucks, Raybestos engineers know what these drivers do with the brakes. The mechanical-attachment pads keep them from having trouble 20,000 or 30,000 miles down the road.

Brake Hardware

Brake hardware is another area where Raybestos shines, Overbeeke said. Raybestos offers 301-stainless hardware, when applicable, on all lines except Service Grade.

“That includes clips and retainers – anything that is required to change during a brake job, mainly on abutment-style pads, Forystek said.

“Clips only last the life of brake pads, or else noise and improper pad movement occurs,” he said. “We also include rubber-coated abutment clips on our specialty lines for added damping. Competitors often use inferior grades of stainless to save money. This is easy to hide as the appearance does not change much.

“We provide it because it’s what’s needed for a proper brake job. BPI is the only brake company I am aware of that has a separate engineer for hardware.

“The critical fit and function of the hardware has got to be exact,” Forystek said. “And because of that, the hardware engineer sits right across from the pad guys who sit right across from the caliper guys and they all work together. When they release that product, we know that the pad, the caliper and the hardware all fit together to make sure that the proper fit form and function is there. Some clips must have a thousandth of an inch of tolerance. If it is off just a little bit, you don’t have proper pad movement. Ours fit.”

Private Label

Although some brake manufacturers fail to promote that they are an original-equipment suppliers (OES) and private-label suppliers, Overbeeke is proud of the fact that the Raybestos brand can meet and surpass their specifications.

“We have won three awards from ACDelco in the past three years. We’ve been in a relationship with them for the over 25 years, so it is not a short-term award. We are almost their sole supplier in the brake category globally. We won an innovation award that Mary Barra (chief executive of General Motors) presented to Mike Zissman, vice president of BPI OE/OE sales and me. We’ve gotten the supplier of the year award for the past two years. Other awards come from Uni-Select of Canada, a business Raybestos has been supplying for the past 30 years. We’ve earned an award every year from NAPA, our oldest customer of 50 years.”

It’s About Value

“We are appealing to what we think is a solid foundation – that people want value,” Overbeeke said. “It’s not all price, it’s not all product, it is a value equation. The build itself all fits into that marketing dynamics of its quality. You can see it was built right. That’s the visual of the truck and that’s the same visual and dynamics of the product. That’s who we are.”

Brake Parts Inc.
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