With a wisdom well beyond his 53 years and more experience than many will gather in a lifetime, John Mihovetz made a name for himself as a master fabricator, record-setting racer, and unapologetically badass owner of Accufab Racing, which proclaims itself the manufacturer of “the world’s best throttle bodies.”
Growing up in rural Virginia, Mihovetz ended up in Southern California toward the end of his high school career. Involved in the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America, the Skill Olympics in Japan recognized Mihovetz’s aptitude in 1985. Working as a tool and die maker for a defense contractor at the time as well, he gained valuable skills and understanding of what metals to use for what purposes.
“I bought my first Mustang in ’86 and the tinkering began,” reminisced Mihovetz of the era that started the 5.0 revolution. At that time he also met Chris Kaufmann and J. Bittle. Mihovetz began making parts and had an advantage due to the training programs he had completed. “I saw that ugly throttle body on the Mustang and thought, I guess I can modify it to flow more. And it worked,” he explained. “We didn’t have dynos, we just made stuff that felt better, took it to the track, and it went faster.”
Promoted to a supervisor position at his day job the then 21-year-old thought it would be cool until he actually had to do it. Unhappy with the management role, Mihovetz left the corporate life to focus full-time on manufacturing his own parts instead.
With things ramping up, Mihovetz incorporated his first business in ’88. “Later, we changed to become Accufab so we could attach a name to our products — we didn’t really have an identity before that as opposed to some wiener making a throttle body. Guys just knew I made this stuff,” he laughed. Accufab Racing became official in ’93, and Mihovetz was well on his way.
Growth wasn’t rapid, but rather a slow burn. Sweat, time, investment, successes, and failures all contributed to Accufab’s steady progression. Still working on many military projects, Mihovetz brought advanced aerospace technology into the automotive aftermarket; making billet throttle bodies back in the ‘90s was a huge innovation.
Over the years, Accufab added more products and services to its repertoire, including private-label items for many of the industry’s largest entities. Mihovetz remained busy with his own racing program, too, which he used for research and development. In doing so Mihovetz accumulated more than 30 world records in his incredibly storied career.
“The products we manufacture entirely in-house all came from taking each component to a breaking point in racing and doing something about it,” shared Mihovetz, who mastered the modular engine platform, earned the ’08 PSCA Pro Street championship with the smallest engine in the class, and was basically the “first to pretty much everything” as far as records go. He credits that success to his relentless drive and commitment to manufacturing the highest-quality performance components possible.
Most recently, Mihovetz built the engine for the M2K Motorsports ’06 Ford GT that blasted to 300.4 mph at the 2019 Texas Mile and set a jaw-dropping world speed record. For his work on the project, Race Winning Brands honored Mihovetz as a recipient of the prestigious Master of Motors award.
Although Mihovetz has been hibernating a bit recently, it’s for good reason. Not only did Accufab acquire Lenco in 2016, but the company also purchased a building in Memphis, Tennessee, and Mihovetz is in the process of moving everything from Ontario, California, to its new, more centrally located home to better serve racers.
With big things on the horizon for the straight shooter who has earned his “take it or leave it” reputation, Mihovetz is hard at work once again to revolutionize Ford racing with the introduction of Accufab’s billet Coyote engine block. A collaborative effort with Brad Anderson Enterprises, Accufab/BAE billet blocks are already in the hands of noted NMRA/NMCA racers such as multi-time champion Frank Varela and MPR Racing Engine’s Tim Eichhorn, and 2020 is shaping up to be a seriously exciting season.