I do enjoy a bar of fine chocolate, but it wasn’t confectionary heaven I was searching for during my first visit to Belgium. I was headed to Evergem, a small town just outside Ghent, to visit brothers Kenny and Andy Neirinck.
For almost 10 years now, KEAN Suspensions (the name a combination of KEnny and ANdy) has been a go-to place for many car enthusiasts in this traffic code-obsessed country. Belgium’s vehicle code doesn’t allow any sort of engine tuning, aftermarket air suspension, and not even a wide-body kit or stretched tires.
Still, the Neirinck brothers have made a living from their hobby, now working on around 300 customer cars every year.
Cars run in the family blood; Kenny and Andy’s father had a big love for cars, and his passion helped the youngsters begin working on their own and clients’ builds.
Fifteen years ago, the brothers started a a club called ‘Concept 983′ for people with an interest in modifying cars and cruising to events. Back then it was the early days of aftermarket air suspension, and a lot of people had problems with their airbag setups. With a vast amount of mechanical knowledge and practical skills between them, at almost every meeting Kenny and Andy would lend a hand to those that needed one.
Eventually, working on cars grew into a bonafide business.
For a long time it was a second job for the brothers, but around two years ago Kenny and Andy decided to take it to the next level: They bought a big garage and dived in full time.
KEAN’s expertise is suspension, but not just shocks and springs. They work with coilovers, air bags, wheels, spacers, top bearings, camber plates and so on.Second Floor Showroom
Andy mentioned that although the workshop space seemed huge when they first moved in, after two years there’s not a lot of free room left. The first floor is dedicated to the service area, while the second floor features a guest room where customers can sit down, glance through a catalog, or do what every KEAN visitor does: appreciate at least 10 or so project cars in the shop at any given time.
Not every car is customer-owned, though. The carbon fiber Pandem wide-body BMW M3 and the bagged Ferrari 308 GTB are the brothers’ own cars. Both have seen plenty of road miles over the last year, and they’ll be doing plenty more this year going show to show, too. Look out for features on both cars in the coming months.
Something that piqued my interest were the number of Peugeots around the workshop. On top of the two parked in front of the building was a rare 505 GTi, a clean 206, and a vintage 301. It turns out that the 206 was Kenny’s first car, and the one that he and Andy cut their project car teeth with. Twenty-one years later it’s still in pristine condition.
This turbocharged Honda S2000 belongs to a friend, and the guys are currently fine tuning the air ride package for this show car. The same thing goes for the bagged Porsche 964.
The Honda Legend had its air ride system fitted around a decade ago, and it’s still going strong.
This RUF BTR – the first RUF model to have its own VIN number – was a barn find and will be restored to original condition, complete with its factory-fitted 500hp 3.8L engine.
At first glance this hot rod looked very familiar, and it turned out to be that BMW-powered 1928 Ford Model A that StanceWorks’ Mike Burroughs built back in 2012/2013. Of all places to see it in person, I never thought it would be in a Belgium garage.
A friend of KEAN bought it from Mike, and the guys keep it in good running condition for him. Obviously, the pickup can’t be legally driven on Belgian roads.
With the summer car show and event season in Belgium just starting, things are getting really busy in Kenny and Andy’s workshop.
Over the coming months you’ll be able to see many of these builds and other KEAN projects at events like Wörthersee, Raceism, Players Show, and All Down among others.