Not all off-roaders start in four-wheel drive, some come over from Hot Rods. Meet Steve Sasaki, founder of PowerTank. An industrial design engineer by nature, Steve took the leap to start his own business knowing he had limitations, like we all do. Congrats on over 20 years of success and growth.
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3:23 – Daydreaming about Holley (carburetors, that is)
5:13 – This must be the end of the trail
9:34 – Learning all the things in off-road
14:34 – From bicycles to 4WD
16:35 – the inspiration for PowerTank
19:56 – are you a drug dealer?
23:35 – my BIG mistake
27:07 – my BIG break
37:35 – Mrs. Kravitz and the HOA
43:16 – Businesses need rules too
49:01 – Tightening the wheels of the train
59:52 – Lessons in taking care of the customer
We want to thank our sponsors Maxxis Tires and 4Low Magazine.
[00:01:20.310] – Big Rich Klein
Thank you for joining conversations with Big Rich today. We have Steve Sasaki. Am I pronouncing that right, Steve. Yep. Yep. OK with PowerTanks. Steve has been an integral part of rock crawling history with his support of many of the teams and drivers and organizations, including my early days at CalRocs. We want to talk to Steve about the beginning, how he got into Off-Road, where he came from and then his product PowerTank. So, Steve, thank you for coming on board. And let’s hear your story.
[00:01:56.080] – Steve Sasaki
Well, thanks for coming out here. Oh, let’s see. You know, I was mentioning before that I feel like I’m kind of a late bloomer into rock crawling, even though it started in the 90s, just because a lot of the other guys are talking about how they were Jeeping when they were really young, you know, preteen and teens and high school.
And and I didn’t I had some influence from four by four because my dad had a four by four, he had a four wheel drive Ford truck with a camper on it. And, you know, I look back and I think I think, you know what that was like the first Overlander because he built these cabinets in it for food. And and we put the whole family in it and we camped. That’s what we did. We went out camping. And I really liked that whole idea of this rig, this big truck.
I mean, to me, it was huge back then and it had like thirty one inch recap off road tires. But that was my I guess that was my influence, my off road influence. But as I went along in high school, it was hot rods and not four by four at all. And that’s, that’s what I did. I, I, I put motors into like my Camaro and changed three speeds to four speeds and I didn’t still know a whole lot about Gearing and things like that.
And, but that was that’s where it came from. I started and I actually kept this Camaro that I had in high school all through or not all through, but mostly through my college years. And then and then it went into the the Volkswagen Rabbit and things like that. But I remember in high school where I was so into the my V8 and my Camaro and getting it to run, right or to to get more horsepower, I, I tried all these different carburetors and I had this Holley carburetor and I would, I would mess with different power valves and, you know, all these different parts trying to get it to run just right.
And sometimes they would go backwards, I’d mess it up and and I would be working on it till midnight. And the next day I’d have to go to school. And I, I would just be daydreaming all day in class about what I was going to do when I got home and started working on that carburetor again. And I and I got pretty good at changing clutches. I remember I would I could change a clutch, I think,in a half hour on that.
But that was, you know, so I didn’t get into four by four until way later. I went on a trip through the early slick rock. And so the guys that are local around here all know what’s the slick rock trail was like and is like now. And it’s different. It was a lot easier. But my brother had a 4Runner, a First Gen 4Runner. My buddy had a Nissan pickup and my other brother had a Toyota pickup. And we went through this trail and I had never done anything like this before. READ MORE