1974 Car Craft Hi-Riser
When the concept of computer-controlled engines began to emerge, Heffington realized how such a revolution could significantly impact, and even hinder, the performance industry by leaving tuning to factory engineers with proprietary information. Suddenly, an idea struck him.
“I felt like John Belushi at the Triple Rock Church when he had seen the light,” Heffington would later recall. “In a matter of seconds I knew exactly what I wanted to do and saw the opportunity. And then you just go and do it.”
Heffington poured himself into research and exploration. He founded Hypertech Inc. in 1985 in Bartlett, Tennessee, and engaged engineering consultants to help with computer programs and reverse engineering of codes to develop aftermarket onboard computer reprogramming devices. In 1986 he introduced the first Power Chip to recalibrate the early automotive computers that used replaceable PROMs or “chips” in their Electronic Control Modules (ECMs). In 1994, with later generations of Electronic Control Units (ECUs) eliminating such chips, Hypertech kept pace, releasing another first, the Power Programmer, to access and alter the “flash” programmable memory associated with the newer OBII technology. In fact, during Hypertech’s early products, chiefly because few manufacturers understood the technology as Heffington did.
Track testing his Lingenfelter ZO6
1997 Hot Rod Hall of Fame
Over the years, onboard computer controllers have become more and more sophisticated, regulating fuel, spark, transmission and even radiator cooling fans. However, Heffington views this less as a challenge than an opportunity for even more performance gains. Now in its 27th year, Hypertech remains a leader of engine tuning products, and Heffington continues to look to the future, seeing better ways to control highly modified engines equipped with nitrous, cam changes or superchargers, as well as the ever-changing production models.
In 2012, Mark Heffington was inducted into the prestigious SEMA Hall of Fame. This honor is only given to automotive industry legends, luminaries and icons for their technical achievements, unquestionable integrity and innovative contributions made to the automotive aftermarket.
At Hypertech working on his Project '57 Chevy