The American Dream series we are pursuing here at CAtuned is meant to give our readers insight on important companies and shops who work hard to create amazing products and builds. However, we aren’t here to focus only on big time shops and famed brand names. It’s also important to be aware of companies that deal with the smaller products that we may use, but not always think about. This leads me to our current feature: The Retrofit Source.
The Retrofit Source (TRS) started up in 2005 as a company that specialized in collecting and reviving headlight assemblies from scrap yards. Matt Kossoff, the brand’s creator, ran the company until 2009, when he then brought on Nate Brick as a partner. At face value, this might not sound like the most incredible endeavor, but in reality, it’s actually a very interesting foundation for a business. In the beginning, TRS mostly collected these salvageable parts and brought them back to quality selling standard.
After cycling their profit from their repurposed headlight sales, TRS began to see quite a boom in product interest. The company was growing at a rather quick pace, and before long, Matt and Nate began their own development of upgraded parts. They started with products that they knew would be in demand from their enthusiast-heavy customer base. Some of this lineup included parts like shrouds and clear lenses. As they had expected, their customers took an instant liking to the new products. As Nate explained to me, “Offering OEM-like performance on an aftermarket budget, we expanded the lineup to include other necessities such as ballasts, bulbs, wire harnesses, and of course projectors.” I think that where TRS really found its strength was absolutely their reasonable pricing, but also the high standards of quality to which they held (and still hold) themselves to. I’m sure that if you ask any enthusiast, they could rattle off lists of companies who provide cheap pricing, but also have a string of products that reflect those prices. That’s where The Retrofit Source surpasses those other brands.
Further into our interview, Nate talked about the production of their components. All of their products are designed and produced by their house brand, Morimoto. In addition to their own brand, however, they also provide customers with a wide variety of options from other brands, including Philips, Denso, Stanley, and Matsushita.
What interests me most about TRS would have to be that they are entirely a group of enthusiasts. I already mentioned that their customer base was very heavily composed of enthusiasts, but for the company itself to genuinely fall into that category as well is refreshing. “We started as a bunch of car guys who just so happened to be into lighting,” Nate said. “When we pick up the phone or answer a customer’s question by email, it’s always evident that we’re both knowledgeable and interested in their project.” I think that as a builder or enthusiast, to be able to connect with companies who are likeminded to you is incredibly important. You want to feel sense of connectivity. To have true common ground with manufacturers of the products you use is a great feeling—regardless of how big or small the product is.
One visit to TRS’s website will reinforce everything I’ve talked about in this article. It’s apparent that their priority is to offer great products at equally great prices. To think that the company started out so small, and now is able to produce such a wide line of components is inspiring. It’s exactly the type of story we want to feature in our American Dream series. Nate explained to me that TRS has very high hopes for the future. It has grown on such a large scale that there are aspirations to eventually act as a lighting supplier for major auto manufacturers. If that’s not big news, I don’t know what is!
We would like to thank The Retrofit Source for inviting us into their wonderful business. If you would like to see the products they offer, please visit their website here: http://www.theretrofitsource.com/
Words by Courtney Cutchen
Photos by Igor Polishchuk