Coan Engineering’s humble roots can be traced back to founder Dave Coan’s Indiana garage in 1976. What started as a simple two-man shop with the goal of offering products specifically for drag racers blossomed into one of the top driveline component companies in the aftermarket. Today, Coan has grown beyond just its initial transmission product offerings, and now is a versatile manufacturing giant that creates a variety of race-oriented parts.
Since its creation, Coan has tried to be a company that can address the needs of racers through the development of high-quality products. This has led Coan to become an adaptable company that builds more than transmissions, they’re a full-scale design and manufacturing company that happens to make components for some of the most high-end transmissions and converters on the market.
“A lot of people just think we make transmissions and don’t realize we build everything but the case. We decided a long time ago if we were going to be a leader in building high-performance automatic transmissions and converters, we were going to need to design and manufacture our own components so we could stay at the forefront. That has turned into a really good components sales business where a lot of builders rely on us being their hard parts supplier,” says Jason Coan, CEO of Coan Engineering.
These days Coan makes not only the parts that go inside a transmission or torque converter, they also make the parts that fit them to the engine and rest of the drivetrain. Inside their 45,000 square foot facility, Coan produces their own input shafts, output shafts, a massive amount planetary gear sets, and every other internal transmission part you can think of.
“The whole basis from where our business came from was my father identifying an area in the racecar where he wasn’t able to purchase a component to solve a particular problem, whether it was durability or performance-based. He realized this could be a niche for him, so he started making changes to parts and his performance improved at the track substantially. Others saw this and asked him to build parts for them and the business grew from there,” Coan says.
To make the process of solving problems for racers easier, Coan is directly involved in drag racing with several company-owned race cars that are used as development tools. Taking things a step further, Coan also employs multiple drag racers and circle track racers that test products in their own cars, while working with racers all over the country to develop products further.
This development-first mindset is something that Jason has brought to the company to assist in continued growth by answering questions for racers before they even have them.
“We might see something another company is making and decide we could do it differently and create a better mousetrap. It all took off faster when I got out of college with my engineering degree from Purdue. When I joined the company full-time after school I had a vision of a very aggressive design approach, and always working on new parts even if it wasn’t to fix an immediate need, but to make something better in the future. That’s what caused our business to really start booming.”
Coan Engineering has exploded into a company that has more than just one trick up its sleeve. By listening to racers and seeing what they need Coan has created a pipeline of innovation that does more than keep them in front of the curve, it allows them to draw it while pushing it further with every new product.