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Dyno-Mite! An Afternoon of Performance Tuning At MAX BMW

MAX BMW is the number one BMW motorcycle dealer in the United States and has four locations in New England. Max Stratton has built a quality dealership empire based upon a culture of quality, integrity, and service. A few weeks ago I dropped off my 1964 BMW R69S for a service. I was going over the repair list with master BMW mechanic Phil Cheney when I heard a loud noise coming from the far side of Max’s enormous (and immaculate!) repair shop. It turned out that a sportscar was running in place at full throttle on a dynamometer. Curiosity overtook me and Phil and I wandered over to check it out.

My R69S on Phil Cheney’s workbench getting a spring service and makeover with the installation of a rare Ernst Hoske gas tank.

Max loves fast cars and he races Porsches. He even races cars on ice! Over the past winter, Max embarked on a huge project to install a dynamometer in the far bay at his BMW motorcycle dealership in Brookfield Connecticut. He went to great lengths and huge expense to retrofit the existing facility to install a dynamometer. Max had to jackhammer the floor and dig down several feet inside the existing structure to install the SuperFlow dynamometer. The end result? He now can offer his clients on-site state-of-the-art car and motorcycle performance tuning.

I’m a dyno neophyte and I know next to nothing about performance car tuning. But after seeing all that equipment my interest was peaked. Max’s enthusiasm certainly helped fuel my interest and he took the time to explain the dyno and its many intricacies. Suddenly, I had an idea. What if I brought over the SL 65 AMG Black Series to gain a further understanding and familiarity of the dyno?  What better car to strap to the dyno than a 700 horsepower V12 Benz?

I worked with Kerri to set up an appointment. I had Steve Landau pick up the SL at the Turtle Garage and we trailered it over to MAX BMW. What a great afternoon! Wives and significant others take note, this is a great experiential gift for your motorhead partner! You can set up your appointment here. What follows is a photo and video essay of an afternoon I’ll never forget.

It took over an hour to carefully tie down the SL 65 AMG Black Series and prepare for the performance test. Max, Brian, Kerri and the team at MAX sure know what they are doing. Prepping a car to be dyno tested is serious business as careless mistakes can lead to catastrophic outcomes—we ultimately drove the SL 65 up to 185 miles per hour! The expert AMG analytics team at MAX BMW said that with some exhaust modifications and chip tuning we could get over 900 horsepower out of the SL. Since the SL 65 Black Series is a rare car and 700 horsepower is plenty fast for me, I passed on adding non-factory enhancements.

Dyno testing the SL 65 AMG Black Series:

In the coming months, Turtle Garage is going to do a multi-part series on Max’s dyno. There is so much to explain and a lot more for me to learn. Max will give us a history of the dyno and explain the complex installation process. We will also get into the weeds on what the performance analytics can tell you about your car. We will also investigate the types of adjustments that can be made to dramatically increase and optimize power for the racetrack. Check back in the coming weeks for more posts about MAX BMW’s incredible SuperFlow dynamometer.

The Super Flow at Max BMW in Brookfield, CT

Putting the SL on the dyno

The SL is carefully placed on the dyno in exactly the right spot

Every detail is taken into account

Strapping down the car is a complex and labor-intensive process

Multiple high-strength tie downs were used

The front and rear are carefully secured to anchors on the floor and enormous fans keep the heat bearable.

We had to install the factory supplied tow hook to maximize the number of tie downs.

The dyno is capable of handling all wheel drive cars. For rear wheel drive cars the SuperFlow has a driveshaft so the front wheels of the dyno also spin.

The SL is fully strapped down with high strength chains….

It was a strategic process to find the optimal anchor point on the SL

Brian carefully installs the speed reading device which utilizes a sensor affixed to the tire and an infrared reader.

Half way through our dyno test Brookfield’s finest showed up. I told the cop that we were going 185 miles per hour….on the dyno!

Running the SL on the dyno….

Me in the shotgun seat collecting data from the SL’s computer.

The run up to 185 miles per hour!


Running full out!

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