Gates' first Ford Bronco retired two years ago after numerous notable firsts in the SPL history books. The first to "blow hair," the old Bronco built up so much sound pressure that it made hair stand on end, much to the delight of curious bystanders, children, and camera-wielding journalists. Affectionately dubbed "The Beast," the Bronco set an SPL world record in 1996, its first year competing, and paved the way for further records. In 11 events over the next two years, Gates and her Bronco were credited with raising the Sound Pressure Level by an unprecedented 15dB.

Fast forward to Spring Break Nationals 2005, when Gates' all-new, second Bronco debuted with Team JBL to steal the thunder in Sound Quality competitions for the first time ever. It went on to take First Place and Best of Show at MECA, and brought home the first of many trophies to come.

Termed the "Boom Box Granny" by CNN, the 71-year-old Gates has intrigued the press, as well as her ardent followers, with the endearing story of how she became immersed in car audio. A former schoolteacher from Phoenix, Gates joined the industry 10 years ago alongside her then-teenage son. She never could have predicted that the hobby she enjoyed with her son and his friends would become a full-time job and her passion. Upon retirement later this year, Gates hopes to delve into another hobby with her son-real estate. She's even thinking of taking a few classes to brush up on the subject.

Clevite Named Official Engine Parts Supplier for AERA E85 Power
The Automotive Engine Rebuilder's Association (AERA) has selected Clevite Engine Parts to be the official supplier of engine parts for its ethanol-fueled engine-building competition. Dubbed the E85 Power Shootout, this competition will be held in conjunction with AERA's RPM (Racing, Performance engines, Machinery) Show to be held in Indianapolis August 30 to September 1, 2006, Clevite Engine Parts will supply Clevite engine bearings, Perfect Circle piston rings, and Victor Reinz gaskets to all competitors.

This engine building competition is actually a demonstration project to show the viability of ethanol-based fuels in automotive engine applications. E85 refers to a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Six teams will build engines based on existing domestic or import platforms. These engines will be dyno-tested during the AERA RPM Show, where horsepower, torque, and fuel consumption will be measured. These parameters will be weighed against engine displacement, and a winner will be determined based on these factors.

The U.S. Department of Energy notes that the availability and use of E85 is growing, nationally. E85 is designed for use in flexible fuel vehicles, referred to as FFVs. According to the Energy Information Administration, there are more than four million light-duty flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) in the United States. These are operated by private citizens, as well as business and government fleets. FFVs may fuel with either E85 and/or gasoline, interchangeably. Most FFVs are still fueled with gasoline, but the availability of E85 and FFVs is expected to increase significantly in the next few years.