BALANCE OF TRADE

I love it when a plan comes together. Now, take a look at the harmonic balancer on this page. Isnít she lovely? Not only is it beautifully made and a cinch for a performance or race engine, it gets even better than that, because itís made right here in Australia.

In Wagga in western NSW, to be exact.

And that kind of seems to me to be bucking the trend a little just at the moment. See, pretty much all Iím hearing now is how horrible and tragic it will be when the local car-makers pull out of Australia over the next few months. And yes, I agree, it is a tragedy. But itís not necessarily the end of the world for automotive manufacturing in this country.

And this gorgeous little balancer is the proof. Back in 1976, Precision Parts was established in Wagga and soon grew to become the largest player in the Aussie aftermarket for balancers. The bulk of the product was always standard replacement part numbers, but there was also a call for high-performance replacement balancers. And thatís where the Powerbond brand came in.

Then, in 2013, US-based Daycoís Australian division bought Precision Parts and with it, the Powerbond brand. And now, the Dayco Powerbond line-up is the fastest growing brand of replacement harmonic balancers in the incredibly competitive US performance market. Think about that for a minute; the US marketplace is awash with brands, options and alternatives, yet increasingly, car-guys on that side of the pond are opting for a balancer made in sunny, downtown Wagga. Just goes to show you what can happen when you get the product right.

The Dayco Powerbond range continues to be made in Wagga in the same factory, but with the help of Daycoís global distribution network, the future for this little Aussie operation looks very bright indeed. And Precision Parts isnít the only Australian brand to make good lately. Which is lucky, because as we head to a post-car-manufacturing future, the component industry is looming as a very important one for us.

The balancer you see here is destined for Project Duckshit, A: Because itís clearly a good product, and B: Because Iím trying to keep as much of the finished product as Aussie as possible. Thatís not empty tub-thumping, either; I happen to know that some of the stuff made right here is world beating gear, and this is just Exhibit A. And nothingís too good for the Brown Bomber. Apart from a wash and polish. Apparently.