Written byAinsley Jacobs
Photography courtesy of Central Florida Motorsports
When motivation meets determination, great things happen. Driven by his entrepreneurial nature and his performance passion, Hector Navarro started Central Florida Motorsports in 1996 with nothing more than a little idea and a lot of dedication.
His story isn’t the typical started-in-a-home-garage one, as he knew exactly what he wanted to create and set out to achieve that goal from day one. “I had a few Fox bodies and wanted to get into the Mustang mail-order business, so I took out a small loan to get started,” noted Navarro, who capitalized on the new, rapidly growing eCommerce market when he was just 22 years old.
His new brick-and-mortar location in Longwood, Florida, also installed parts and customer projects, but finding good help was tough and Navarro soon changed his plans. With the internet-sales portion of his business escalating, Navarro had the faith to close the installation side and focus only on mail-order and retail after only two or three years.
Although he started out carrying big-name performance brands like Edelbrock, Vortech, Tremec, and more, Navarro soon saw the opportunity to expand. Ever the businessman, in the early 2000s, he partnered with Dennis Hilliard of Central Coast Mustangin California who was selling Ford Focus products and was surprised to see them do well.
“Around 2003 or 2004, we transitioned mostly to selling Focus stuff. I was the first person to put a Vortech on my Focus. I like to do things that other people aren’tdoing,” said the man who believes in the idiom that niche is rich. “We survived the economy slump in 2008 selling Focus parts, and it’s brought us here to where we are today.”
Navarro knows not to rest on his laurels, though, and most recently has started manufacturinghis own parts in-house. “We’re gearing up to do that now. It took 20 years to get to this point, but I’m extremely particular about the quality we sell, so this will be a great way to make sure everything is absolutely the best,” he explained.
Over the years, CFM also established itself as a leader in the billet valve cover breather market and those products have become an integral portion of his operation. CFM was the first to market a breather with a check ball that works properly with vehicles equipped with a mass air flow sensor. “As the Focus market finally slows, we’re moving more toward the breathers — and even throttle bodies — for Coyote, Hemi, LS and other engines,” added Navarro.
Despite CFM’s impressive growth, Navarro has been careful to keep the company small so as to better be able to relate to its customers and provide one-on-one service. Operating out of a 7,200 square-foot facility (also in Longwood), Navarro only employs a team of five — including himself.
He isn’t all work and no play, though, as Navarro also has a 2011 Mustang with a single turbo that has run a best of10.50 at 130 mph. It held the record for several years as the quickest stock-engined 3.7-liter V6 Mustang in the world. Additionally, he’s found inspiration through Steve Wolcott’s work with the NMRA and NMCA, and has been a proud supporter of both race series since day one. Now, as many CFM customers compete in NMRA and NMCA, Navarro’s commitment to the organizations, and to producing quality go-fast parts, is stronger than ever.