Since the early years of the United States, the West has always
provided young pioneers a chance at adventure and the freedom
to expand our nation. For Jonathan Smith, president of the Production
Engine Remanufacturers Association (PERA), the passion for expansion
found in the hearts of those heading west is also a key element
in operating his own successful business.
Smith will serve as president of PERA until the association’s
annual convention September 16-20 in Albuquerque, NM. He is also
the president of Motor Replacement Co., Inc., a production engine
remanufacturer located in Phoenix, AZ, a business Smith has been
working to expand since becoming president of Motor Replacement
in the mid-1980s.
Motor Replacement Co., Inc. was started in 1946 in a downtown
Phoenix location, by Everett Warner, who also served as a president
of PERA in 1959. In late 1984, Smith, along with partners and
family members, bought the company and retained the then current
At the time of the purchase, Smith had never worked as an engine
rebuilder. But he had always had a fascination with motor vehicles.
"Growing up we worked on our own vehicles, but nothing major
like engine rebuilding," recounted Smith. "However,
when I saw Motor Replacement Co. advertised for sale, we all thought
it would be a good investment opportunity."
Since taking over the business, Smith has come to share in the
universal understanding that other remanufacturers and rebuilders
have when it comes to such things as coping with engine design
changes, installation matters, core availability and customer
satisfaction. "It’s a difficult industry," Smith stated,
"very labor intensive. But it’s pretty much about what I
Smith, a 37-year-old Indiana native said because the other investors
in Motor Replacement were involved in other careers, he assumed
the title of president. "
In October 1988, Motor Replacement moved to its current location,
a 50,000 sq. ft building situated on a seven acre site west of
downtown Phoenix. The new site is more than double the size of
its previous location. Smith said all of the engine remanufacturing
is completed at the Phoenix location and engines, both long and
short blocks, are sold under the Roadrunner Engine