Workshop opens: Pukekohe fabricator realizes dream with new facility
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Michael McCracken doesn’t do things by half measures - a theme you can see immediately upon entering his brand new workshop in Pukekohe.
The Pukekohe-based drift racer and car builder last week opened a new workshop for his Drift Systems company, completing the second major goal he set for himself as a teenager.
“I told myself when I was about 17 that I wanted to have my own business by the time I was 25 and I did that,” McCracken told Driven. “I wanted to have my own workshop by the time I was 30 and I have done that so the only other goal was to become a millionaire by the time I was 35.”
Not quite 30, McCracken has packed an awful lot into his working life and boasts an incomparable background into car-building.
“I left school when I was 15 and became a builder but I didn’t really enjoy digging holes,” he laughed. “I went through a few different careers – I was a sparky for a while, then I worked for my Dad down at Weta Workshop down in Wellington doing the King Kong and Lord of the Rings, building the little planes and what not.
“Then I came back up here and decided I wanted to get into my passion, which was something to do with motorsport. For the last seven or eight years I have worked in automotive, all different walks and five in aviation as well. I started my fabrication career in aviation doing fabrication for helicopters.
“I started my own business called Drift Systems in 2015 and I have been going for just over three years.
“I was involved with Reg Cook, building his stream-liner for the Bonneville Salt Flats and that now holds about five or six world records.
“I also got into designing and fabrication for building amphibious vehicles.”
With the business expanding and the long-held dream of owning his own workshop McCracken took over a building on Pukekohe’s industrial hub of Manukau Rd.
But true to the high demands he places on himself, McCracken didn’t just do it the standard way.
“Everything about this place here is a reflection of myself,” he said. “Everything I do in life I do to my standard.
“When I started prepping the workshop I got a big industrial steam cleaner and took all the old original paint off the walls – we were blasting for about 14 hours straight.
“I could have painted over things but that is not the way I do things – I don’t drop my standards.”
While the name suggests the business focuses more on drifting that isn’t that case. McCracken and his team have experience working on all sorts of motorsport projects.
“I have crewed on teams for Formula 5000, I have built Formula 5000 cars, I have built endurance cars, rally cars, drifting was just my passion.
“We strive for excellence in anything we do and any car we build we want to be the best, look the best, sound the best no matter what it is.”