The Low Down…
The Low Down…
Back in 2012 I’d been touring Australia in a lowlight with a stock 1600 and found it to be pretty slow going (Australia is a big place and 1600 buses are sloooow-as). So when I got home I decided to add an AMR500 blower to improve things a little. After going through several prototypes I eventually managed to squeeze 83hp from it.
It did not take long for others to take interest in what I had done so I decided to package it up, improve the cosmetics and turn it into a DIY kit that anyone could add to their VW in a weekend with a few tools and half a clue. And that’s basically how Joe Blow came to be.
My products are now used all over the world and can be found installed in a variety of vehicles from vintage Austins to Harley Davidsons. They are used both on the road and in competition, including in my own land speed record car, setting an Australian record in 2016 at Lake Gardner in G/BGALT class at 109.469mph. I am even sponsoring two classes in the 36hp Challenge, a global Land Speed Racing competition that has its roots firmly planted at Bonneville.
So who is Joe Blow anyhow?
So who is Joe Blow anyhow?
I have always been into the aircooled VW scene and always owned VW’s. From spending 18 months touring Europe in a Westfalia Camper back in the early 90’s to the Type 34 Ghia I bought back in the mid 90’s and still own today, there has always been a VW of some kind in my garage.
I'm originally from the UK and a big part of the 90’s UK VW scene. I’ve owned Volksworld cover cars, show and shine winners, hold a Land Speed Record in the Oval bug I built and always have too many projects on the go. I’ve always tried to make time to give to the VW community too. I’ve managed the Type 34 Registry since 2003, run VDubber.com since 2009 and regularly organise local VW events. You could say that VWs are my life.
I have been manufacturing and supplying quality performance products to the the VW community since I started Joe Blow back in 2012 but my association with the automotive industry is more than just as an enthusiast, and goes back much further than that.
I originally served an apprenticeship with the Ford Motor Company in Dagenham England as an Automation and Controls Specialist in the late 1980’s where I maintained the production equipment and kept things running. Back then we built the Ford Sierra and the Mk2 fiesta. After leaving Ford I joined a specialist company that designed, built and installed automotive production equipment. With experience in Press Shop, Body-in-White, Paint Shop and final trim and assembly I have worked in all aspects of automotive manufacturing.
For many years I specialised in robotic automation and developed a number of cutting edge automation systems that were adopted by various automotive manufacturers. This took me to work at a variety of plants across Europe including Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes, Jaguar, Aston Martin, BMW, Opel, Land Rover, Ford and Rover.
My work eventually took me from the UK to Australia on a project for GM Holden who purchased the Robotic Engine marriage system that I had developed. If you drive a VE Commodore, which was also exported as the Chevrolet SS and Pontiac G8 to the US, the entire drivetrain was installed by robots that I programmed and tooling that I developed.
Once here in Australia I decided to stay and spent a number of years working for a local automation company providing automotive production systems to Holden. Ford, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Proton, Perodua and the like. Tired of travelling I then took a local job as Maintenance Manager for a tier 1 automotive supplier to GM Holden, Ford, Toyota, Volvo, and Jayco. Whilst there I started off making supercharger kits in my spare time as a bit of a sideline to my regular job, however since the closure of Ford and Holden in 2017 Joe Blow has been a full time undertaking.
In addition to the VW stuff I still keep busy with tech and automation stuff. I’m the lead software developer in the DIY Flow Bench project and author a number of open source software projects that I publish under my coding pseudonym ‘DeeEmm’. I run the Speeduino tuning group on Facebook and try to support our local maker community as much as I can.
Whilst it has been pretty slow for new products due to Covid, I have some really cool stuff in the pipeline. There’s a new version of our EFI ECU that I currently have in prototype testing, a new wideband controller, a digital dash that’s compatible with both our ignition and EFI systems as well as some new hardware.
Of course maintaining stock of current products has also been very challenging due to procurement difficulties so I’m renewing my focus on alternate suppliers and manufacturing methods including new CNC equipment to bring some of those tasks in house.
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Joe Blow aka Mick Percy