Car Builder>> Bergenholtz Racing

I’ve been reading about the legendary Bergenholtz brothers in magazines since something like 1996 or 1997. Do the math… that was over 10 years ago! When I think about those days, which some consider to be “the glory days” of import drag racing and car shows in the USA, it trips me out. I can’t believe it was so long ago; 10 years sounds like such a long period of time. Then again, 10 years isn’t that long, when you put it in context with the grand scheme of motorsports in the USA.

When you walk up and attempt to start a conversation with them, it’s hard to imagine that Ron and Ed Bergenholtz have been so well known in the import aftermarket industry for so long. They sure don’t act like celebrities are supposed to act. They don’t walk around with their chests all puffed out, talking above others, boasting and bragging about their accomplishments… that just isn’t their style. They don’t act like they’re “big time” at all, even though I could show you boxes and boxes full of magazine clippings and trophies that suggest otherwise. The funny thing is, even though Ron and Ed Bergenholtz are icons in the import aftermarket industry, they are so down to earth and approachable that they sometimes treat you as if you were one of their old friends from high school.

When I called Ron Bergenholtz to see if I could shoot one of his cars for Mazda month, he said “yeah no problem. Dude, why don’t you come over my house so we can chill and I’ll show you the cars. When I drove out to Orange County to meet up with Ron, the crew chief of Bergenholtz Racing, I originally planned to meet up with him at his house and then go to his shop to shoot the cars. However, when I was standing in his driveway, I asked, “Hey Ron, so where’s your shop? I wanna see where you build your pro drag cars and the drift car…”

Ron looked up at me from behind his silver-rimmed glasses, clicked the garage door opener and laughed, saying “it’s right f*cking here, this is IT baby!” Low and behold, sitting in the garage attached to his house, I was staring at not one, but two Mazda Pro drag cars. In his garage at HOME! That’s just crazy!

Here’s a photo of Ed Bergenholtz, strapped into the cockpit of his Mazda 6 drag car at Battle of the Imports in Las Vegas. Deep concentration right there!

As Ed deep stages, he has his crew help him to make sure he doesn’t go too far past the sensor, making the red lights come on. Red lights = fail. That isn’t a problem though. Ed’s a pro.

I asked the two brothers if I could just do a non-traditional “Car Builder” post… instead of just showing our readers a snapshot of their garages, I thought it would be cool to show the inside of Ron’s house as well, just because it’s different and you don’t normally see this type of thing in car magazines.

As they screwed around on the piano in the living room of Ron’s house, I was just taken aback by how many freakin Wallies (NHRA trophies) they had! That’s isn’t even all of them! Their dad walked in while I was taking the pictures, telling me he had another trophy or two in his office. It trips me out when I think about the fact that some people drag race their whole lives, and if they’re lucky, they might actually win one of these highly coveted trophies, molded and named after the NHRA’s founder, Wally Parks.

Just look at how many Wallies Ron and Ed have won. Damn, that’s several lifetimes worth of achievements, don’t you think?

Sure, it’s a tight fitting space, but this is where the magic happens. When I was visiting Ron’s garage, he had some aero pieces from their Formula D competition RX7 sitting in the garage next to the Mazda 6 pro drag cars and the super expensive Mac Tools toolboxes. Damn, ballers!

The Bergenholtz Racing garage is extremely tidy, neat and organized. But let’s just look at their storage shelves… look at all the extra engine blocks and cylinder heads laying there!

A blast from the past… this is Ed B (left) and his older brother Ron (right) holding an extremely old poster of them in front of their garage, with the cars that made them famous in the 1990s – Ron’s blue DA Integra, and Ed’s white and blue turbo CRX.

I wonder how many of our Speedhunters readers have this poster, or even remember having it back in the day…? It came with an issue of the super influential, super groundbreaking, super old school TMR Magazine. If there was one magazine in the USA that really represented what I thought was oool back in the 90s, it would have to be TMR. Much respect to TMR and the mag’s founder, Rodney Wills. TMR was a cutting edge magazine that was way before its time. In my opinion, the content it featured was years ahead of what the other magazines were printing at the time.

“But… you guys don’t look like your last name would be Bergenholtz…” They’re Filipino! Keep guessing!

Ron and Ed’s NHRA Drag Racing Championship rings are a lot cooler than your class ring from high school.

While we were shooting, I asked if they still have any of their old photos, and Ron replied, “hell yeah! I have everything. I save EVERYTHING! Old photos, timeslips, ticket stubs, flyers, you name it!” He and Ed then proceeded to bust out a huge plastic container full of photos, and began showing me some of their old pics…

Speaking of old school, check out this snapshot of their old cars, at one of the Import Showoff events back in the day! Showoff was the best car show to go to – that’s where you always saw the best cars! That’s Ed’s CRX on the left, and Ron with his baggy shirt and his blue DA Integra on the right.

Oh… but that’s not all they collect. These guys are like grown up kids. They still have ALL their toys from when they were growing up… they began busting them out of this spare room in Ron’s house… they had all sorts of dope toys that I always wanted (but my mom was never down to buy for me)… like certain rare and expensive Transformers, GI Joe vehicles, Star Wars toys, you name it…

For instance, I remember that as a kid, I wanted this GI Joe “Huey Cobra” combat helicopter sooo bad! It was “Wild Bill” and his chopper, “Dragonfly.” I can’t believe I still know the name, and I still kind of want it even now. And Ron has it, just chillin out in his spare room. Among other things.

And here are even more toys, in the “office.” This room has so many Star Wars toys in and out of packaging, it wouldeven  make the 40 Year Old Virgin go crazy with excitement.

This is Ed’s stuff right here. Notice the old school Tokyo Auto Salon tour jacket (I have mine somewhere) on the chair, and all those Star Wars spaceships on the shelves… Damn, these guys do have everything!

They said they would invite me back to the house again to take photos of the next evolution of their RX7 drift car and their new Mazda RX8 time attack car in the near future… but I think after I shoot pics of the progress on their cars for next season, I want to spend some quality time checking out their toy collection! I think some part of me still wants to have fun checking out some of the rarer, more expensive toys I didn’t get to play with when I was a kid!

-Antonio Alvendia



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Ron you are such a nerd!!


Dude, that Cobra helicopter. My cuz had one and I was so jealous. ;) Good times! Cool family of racers/speedhunters. I love their garage and how lean and organized it is. Top notch!


Great article. I grew up admiring that CRX and I love how the Bergenholtz camp has always stuck to that signature livery.


Dude bad ass, that polaroid from the import showoff was at the anaheim convention center, I was showing my car with some friends from back in the day! Man so many dope cars and crews... Art n Motion, AM7, the sound competition going on at the large end of the hall. It was a makeshift car show, just pay to roll in and display your car. It was neato.


Great article! I still have all my old TMR M'zines!

I think only the old skoolers will know the term, "SAP LIVES"


They are like kids and work for toys lol.


Holy crap! I have that issue of TMR!


hahahaha..i believe Ed has some race/show cars at his house as well..




Ron makes some of the funniest faces I have ever seen. I remember meeting him, when he worked at Speed Image in Garden Grove in '96. I bought clear corners for my Civic.


These guys were my idols! Ed's CRX was definitely making names on the track and shows (believe they were the first to try the wheelie bars on a front drive honda?!?) and Ron's DA was my inspiration (going turbo back then was the shit!). Can't believe that Ed was doing it with the Mazda's and soon to be RX-7 in drifting. Damn, where do you guys get all that money and connections? How about building a Miata to show what you guys can do with a lil Roadster?


Best story in a while, dudes are damn icons.


Pinoys put'n it down!!! What an inspiration!


great article! you guys are the real deal.

thats alot of toys big and small


Great article. I remember thinking these guys were awesome back in the 90s. I have that TMR magazine! I remember when TMR was reppin old school rides before any other magazine.


woot! pinoys reppin!

nice feature. its also nice to see more of the lifestyle side of these kind of people. ^_^

much like kuma's features right here. :P hope to see more of this kind of coverage as well. ^_^


Big ups to the Bergenholtz! OGs fo shure!


god kuya your getting old !!! ron and ed = legacy's legends


Ron is definitely a character! Look at his facial expressions in all of the pictures!! haha Great write up! I really like how you went past just racing and into their other hobbies, photos of their house...I'd like to read more about the lives of other drivers...its like a behind the scenes type thing...


i adore ur bike!! :D


Great article !!!

A definite kick back to the good ol times. It was a pleasure racing and hanging with these guys in the IDRC, NIRA days when I was with the Performance Factory NYC crew with Vinny Ten. Dayum has it really been over 10 years... lol. TMR, with Rodney, thats another character with his small tiny magazine that fit into your back pocket!! ROFL. Hopefully the sport has changed for the better since I last was a part of it, though I've heard the opposite.