Built in the U.S., Driven Around the World. That is the tagline for SPEC Clutches and Flywheels, and it couldn’t be more fitting. SPEC’s home base is in Bessemer, Alabama, but it makes parts for just about any vehicle worldwide that is performance-oriented. SPEC can handle just about any application, whether it be street, drag, pulling, off-road, rally, drift, autocross, or road racing. If it needs upgraded performance, chances are SPEC is already there with one of its Stage 1 through 5 single-disc, Super Twin, or Low Inertia Multi-Disc clutches hooked up with its lightweight pressure plates and tuned billet flywheels.
Lucky 7 Racing was displaying their newly-finished Time Attack RX-7, which was going straight from the show to a container to be shipped to a race overseas!
David Norton officially founded the company back in 2000, but the foundation was set when he was just a young kid street racing in the suburbs of Birmingham. At the time, he was an import guy in a domestic world and needed a clutch that could handle the power he was laying down. After several failed trials and tribulations, he needed a solution that he could depend on.
We were able to take a tour recently of SPEC Clutches facility in Bessemer, Alabama. I took some pictures during lunch so I didn't slow down the production. SPEC uses state-of-the-art CNC and Lathe machines.
Norton decided if you want it done right, do it yourself, and SPEC Clutches was born. He soon found his way into Mustangs, racing in the NMRA and that is when things really started to take off. Norton hasn’t looked back since and still likes to get out and stretch the legs on whatever car he happens to find himself in. We stopped by the SPEC booth at the SEMA Show to see what Norton’s crew has been working on lately to pass on to our readers.
It's incredible to see how a stack of billet blanks gets made into pieces of art that no one will ever see. (By the way, that's a Lambo flywheel on the right.)
Also, earlier this year, we had the opportunity to stop by SPEC’s facility on our way to a race at Barber Motorsports Park to see the facility first-hand, so we thought we would include some photos here as well so you could get a sense of the company. It is a top-rate manufacturing facility. While the clutch material itself is prepared off-site, it is a custom blend developed by Norton and his team and perfected through years of on-track research. Other than the clutch housings being stamped and powder-coated off-site, everything else including the flywheels and clutches are manufactured and assembled on-site.
Norton had three new clutch offerings to show us this year, for three very popular worldwide models: Ford Mustang GT, Honda Civic Si, and Honda Type R.
Super Twin for 2018-2019 Ford Mustang GT
The Ford Mustang might be the hottest selling performance machine on the market today (or heck, of all-time), and we wouldn’t doubt there are people modifying them right in the dealership parking lot as soon as they put their money down. It only makes sense that SPEC would find a way to immediately find a way to handle all those new ponies. This new all-billet clutch (P/N: FF18SST) for the 2018-’19 GT is a twin-clutch/flywheel assembly for street, drag, drift, and road course use. It is an SFI-certified direct bolt-in with options of five different materials to handle torque from 900-1,525 lb-ft.
Stage 3+ Clutch for Honda Civic Si
If the Mustang is one of the hottest selling performance machines, then it has to be said that the Honda Civic Si is definitely up in that echelon when it comes to small imports. It’s been around forever and people can’t get enough of them. Even old models still command a pretty good price tag. The 10th generation Civics hit showroom floors in November 2016, which means there are plenty of people out there looking for a clutch upgrade now.
SPEC’s new Stage 3+ clutch and billet flywheel package (P/N: SH993F-4 & SH99A-4) for the 1.5-liter engine is what the doctor ordered. This assembly can hold 553 lb-ft of torque, yet still offers excellent drivability and extremely long wear life. The flywheel is available as an 11.2-pound rebuildable unit or a 22-pound billet steel option for those who prefer a quieter option (but who really wants that?).
Stage 3+ Clutch for Honda Civic Type R
Ah, the infamous Type R, coveted by American enthusiasts for millennia, is finally here. It hit the showrooms just over a year ago and enthusiasts grabbed them faster than they could build them. It is a true enthusiast car — made to be driven hard — so you know SPEC would have to have its hand in there. Though the picture above looks the same as the one above it, we assure you this is a completely different clutch from the Si.
The Type R is powered by the K20C1 Direct Fuel Injection 2-liter turbocharged inline-four engine, so its power distribution is different. The Type R SPEC Stage 3+ Clutch and Billet Flywheel package can also hold 553 lb-ft of torque while still being civil enough for street use. The flywheel is infinitely rebuildable and offers a very noticeable rate of rev and horsepower increase. It’ll give you that edge over all the other Type R’s prowling the streets and tracks.
When you work hard, you get to play hard, kids! This is one of the R&D cars in the stable. This 240 is a Time Attack winner.