Owner and founder of GILO Engineering, Guido De Greef, has probably facilitated more engine transplants than anyone in South Africa, through his specially designed adapter plates and conversion kits.
Guido started his first business in Johannesburg, repairing hand tools for large suppliers to the engineering industry. Later, he developed and built the first silkscreen printing machine in South Africa.
He then progressed to the manufacture of mainly stainless steel machinery for the food and chemical industries.
By age 20 Guido had founded GILO Engineering and had set up premises in Fordsburg, Johannesburg. One of his first projects was to manufacture an adapter plate to install a Chev V8 housing on to a Jeep T90 gearbox, for a friend. "That's how it started... ", says Guido.
Now situated in Booysens Reserve, South of Johannesburg, GILO Engineering has become well known for their quality and innovation.
Guido remembers when he was first making adapters to combine a Ford V6 and a VW gearbox, as the combination was used in off road sandmaster racing cars, long before anyone thought of using it in a Microbus. It has since become one of the most popular transplants in South Africa.
According to Guido, at least one well known performance specialist claimed to have built a prototype V6 Microbus, that actually took shape in his own workshop!
Today, there is hardly a motor on the South African market which will not fit onto a VW gearbox - as a large number of taxis use alternative power.
Later, when Guido started casting the adapters, he had problems getting aluminium of the right quality, that he was happy with. So GILO Engineering bought a foundry and in consultation with the manufacturers of the aluminium ingots, has come up with a formulation that meets Guido's exacting requirements.
Today's adapters are designed on sophisticated CAD software, cast in the special aluminium and machined on high tech numerically controlled equipment in GILO Engineering's workshop.
There's more to the conversion industry than one might think, says Guido. For example, he makes adapters for all Japanese 2 - 4 ton trucks, like the Mitsubishi Canter and Toyota Dyna, to take Ford V6's, Chev 2.5's or whatever other engines are available.
GILO Engineering also manufactures adapters for forklifts, hydraulic drives and industrial applications as well as adapters between gearboxes and transfer cases or axles and brake callipers. They are also involved in original equipment manufacturing for the South African motor industry.
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