Many a high performance racing manufacturer was founded in industries outside of the automotive landscape, but it’s a rarity for one to mark its beginnings providing parts and service for taxicabs. But that’s precisely where Automotive Transmissions Inc. — better known today as ATI Performance Products — traces its roots.
Founded in 1961 by James Beattie and a then-business partner, the company soon diverted its efforts to the growing sport of drag racing, providing automatic transmissions, driveshafts, torque converters, and other driveline components to sportsman drag racers across the country. A young J.C. Beattie, Jr., at just seven years of age, was fully entrenched in the business, assembling valve bodies and transmissions.
Much in the same way the family-owned company changed trajectory along its path, so too did Beattie, Sr. and his son, as their personal racing endeavors took to them karting and circle track racing. All the while steadfast in their support of drag racing, they later returned to the straight-line sport as Beattie, Jr. began his own sportsman drag racing efforts that continue to this day.
Beattie, Jr., now the president of ATI, has carried on his father’s mission and passion for drag racing, along with the company’s reputation of producing cutting edge technology, its attention to detail, and rigorous testing under real-world race conditions.
Beattie, Jr. sat down to share the history of ATI, his own racing exploits, and how he and his team utilize their in-house racing machinery to research and develop the driveline components that have kept ATI at the sharp end of drag racing technology and performance.