Welcome to our new site!

Coinciding with our 10 year anniversary, JWest Engineering is pleased to launch a new site with a clean interface and new functionality. This space will be periodically updated with news, tips, tricks, information, and maybe some sneak peeks.

For your convenience, you can now create an account in our store for viewing your orders and invoices.

Instructions can now be downloaded from the product pages (look for the "Download" tab).

You will notice a few new products and packages in the web store.  We have others in work with updates to follow.

Looking back, it has been great developing and bringing parts to market.  In 2003 the RennShift was initially brought to market using a message board/group-buy approach to prove the market viability.  The JWest Engineering business soon followed.

The genesis for the shifter dates much further back, though.   Back in the early ‘80s, I was building my first car, a VW beetle.  This was a ground-up, no-part-left-stock build.  A family friend gave me a 901 4-speed that he had pulled from his 912 many years before and was sitting in his garage.  The challenge of fitting it to the VW chassis and the extra strength to match my big, dual-Dellorto fed engine made it a perfect match.  Well, almost perfect.  I snagged a 5-speed from a rusted in-two 914 in the salvage yard and mixed and matched parts to get a 5-speed in rear-engine configuration.

The shifter I had scrounged was an old, chrome shaft “Formula Vee” branded unit with a spring-loaded reverse lockout (as opposed to the stock VW push-down feature, which would not work too well with the Porsche pattern of 1st gear to the left behind reverse).  I replicated the lockout spring mechanism on the opposite side of the shifter, creating a centering effect to the 2nd and 3rd gear gate. 

The concept worked well, but I wanted better.  The next iteration combined the spring centering with a trigger-handle to lock out only the reverse gear.  While this was a great functioning shifter, it also pushed the limits of shortening the throw too far.  With little resolution and much too heavy a force required to shift, it was difficult to be gentle and offer mechanical sympathy to the transmission.  I could powershift without worry of missing a gear, but was it ever hard on the synchros :).  I’m glad I’m no longer a teenager!

In the interim I went on to build and modify all types of custom and performance vehicles, running a shop working on everything from early Ford hotrods, Jaguar V8 conversions, Corvette restorations, to Muscle Car engine builds, and cars as varied as T-Bird to Lotus. I did work from bare-metal repaints to custom EFI systems and owned a bunch of different Porsches.  I’m also an Aerospace Engineer.

So, why did I need to jump into the shifter market, aren’t there enough products out there already?

The main reason was that I have always liked 914s and have owned lot of them.  There are no high-end shifters for the side-shift 914s, and I wanted to share with others what I was developing for myself.  As long as I was doing that, it was a few different holes and a linkage attachment change to get to the 911 version, so that came along with it, expanding the market.

There have been some flops along the way.  We tried to go entry-level on the shifter to help out those guys wanting improvement on a budget.  The RennShift Junior was inexpensive, durable, and worked well, but we only sold 3 of them.  Guess it is not all about price!

It has really been a joy working with customers and vendors for the last 10 years. It can be stressful having a shifter stuck in customs (for 6 weeks!), but our customers have been great.  Thanks for your business and support!