Some of the biggest industry leading companies today started out as tiny one-man businesses back in the day, and nothing rings more true for Speedway Motors. Started back in 1952 by “Speedy” Bill Smith, Speedway Motors has grown from a 20 sq-ft facility to one of the largest speed shops in the country. And Speedway is certainly a well-known name among hot rodders and racers alike. Check out how Speedway Motors came to be a household name among automotive enthusiasts in the video above.
Just like many people in the automotive industry, Smith’s success started out with a passion for cars at a young age. When Speedy was just 14 years old, a used Ford Model T became the outlet for his enthusiasm and the beginnings of a long career in racing and the automotive world.
Following his passion for cars right out of high school, Smith opened Speedway Motors in 1952.
The whole idea of the business venture was to offer enthusiasts specialty products for their vehicles at fair prices that weren’t necessarily readily available anywhere else in the area. In fact, Speedway Motors was one of the first speed shops to open in the Midwest.
Run only by himself, Smith juggled the speed shop and racing to stay afloat in the early years. In the beginning, Smith actually made more money racing than he did running his business, but that didn’t stop him from sticking with both passions.
In the long run, that decision paid off. Racing got the Speedway Motors name out there, which generated more clients and more business for the speedshop. Smith’s racing wins also helped finance growth for the business that might not have been possible otherwise.
Sixty years after its start, Speedway Motors now occupies a 500,000 sq-ft facility and has become the world’s largest manufacturer, distributor and dealer of street rod and race products today.
Speedway’s massive facility allows Smith and his employees to offer an unbeatable selection of automotive components at low prices that are always backed by excellent service, fast shipping, and unmatched technical support. What’s even cooler is that Speedway Motors remains in Lincoln, NE – the same city where it started 60 years ago.
Next door to the Speedway Motors headquarters, you’ll find the Smith Collection Museum of American Speed, a separate 135,000 sq-ft facility that houses history-making memorabilia, toys, engines and cars from racing and performance history. Dedicated to moving the race and rod industries forward, as well as maintaining and preserving race and performance artifacts from the past, Smith has definitely earned his position as a successful business owner and automotive great.
If you’ve ever needed the definition of home-grown success, Speedway Motors is just that, and Nebraska recognizes what they have with Speedway Motors. In 2011, Smith was inducted into the Nebraska Business Hall of Fame, which honored Smith for his contributions to Nebraska’s business environment and economy for all these years. This accomplishment is just one more for Smith to add to his collection of achievements and we’re sure won’t be the last.