As it’s become necessary to get into more specialized projects at the Dojo with our Heritage cars, we’ve been lucky enough to find some great partners to work with. They make our job much easier, and we’d like to spend some time showcasing the incredible work they do.
Finding Jeff at Advanced Distributors happened in a roundabout way – I was trying to find a specialist to take a look at the 2002tii to give me a better idea of what I needed to get the car up and running. My search led me to a couple of local shops that, quite frankly, didn’t want anything to do with the thing, so I had to expand my search. This lead me to a BMW 2002 specialist in California who said timing was likely the first issue, and he recommended a guy conveniently located in Shakopee, MN that he sent all of his distributors to. Shakopee is only about 30 minutes away from the warehouse, so I gave him a call and set up an appointment.
I headed out to Jeff’s shop which is located out behind his house, and was promptly greeted by his dogs. Being a man who enjoys a good pup, I said to myself “I’m going to like this guy”. Once I got inside and started talking to him my suspicions were confirmed – Jeff is an awesome guy, but just as importantly, he knows his stuff.
Jeff Schlemmer has been playing with engine distributors since the age of 16, and it’s clearly a passion of his since he’s still going strong 29 years later. While working on distributors has been a constant in his life since he was a teenager, it hasn’t been his only job. When he started college he was an engineering major, but after a couple of years he switched to business, then ended up with a criminology degree – which he said has been great for being able to research things efficiently. After college he started working in the heating and cooling industry which he excelled at, starting his own HVAC company after 2 years. Installing HVAC systems in million dollar homes by day and working on distributors by night was his life for many years, but when he noticed the housing market was going soft 10 years ago he made the full-time switch to his passion project – Advanced Distributors. He’s currently backlogged 7-8 weeks on repairs, which he receives from all over the world. When we dropped off our 2002tii’s distributor he had a Aston Martin DB6 distributor from Switzerland on his bench. Although his international business fluctuates a bit depending on the strength of the dollar he has plenty of work from the States to keep him busy.
Beyond his Sun test machines, he has all the equipment to machine engines – including a flow bench. While he is a self-taught machinist he’s usually so busy with distributors he primarily ends up using his equipment for his own projects, like his salt flat land speed Datsun 620 pickup. He plans to campaign his Datsun mini truck sometime soon in an attempt break the 129.6 mph record in the class that the truck is being built to run. Jeff’s a mechanical renaissance man; in addition to his awesome shop, he has a 4-wheeler that he modified, a couple different toy cars – he even built a sink for the bathroom in his shop out of various cars parts. If you are ever in need of his services I can’t recommend him enough, and I would definitely suggest arranging to drop off your parts as it is worth the drive. We can’t wait to go back!