It was late June when Eric Powell gave his just-purchased 2018 BMW 440i over to Stanley Souffrant of Teknik Tuning in Riviera Beach, Florida for thousands of dollars in parts and labor. The shop owner assured the work wouldn't take more than two weeks, and would likely be finished shortly after the July 4 holiday. Yet it was mid-October when I spoke to Powell, and his car still wasn't back in his driveway. Unfortunately, his experience working with Souffrant appears to be a common one, based on court documents and enthusiast forum posts dating back more than 15 years alleging unfinished work, broken promises, and cars being held hostage.
Powell, a racing driver who competed this past season in GT4 America, met Souffrant through at an event where Souffrant crewed. Powell turned his BMW over to Souffrant, a "certified ASE master performance technician" according to his LinkedIn page, for a complete internal makeover consisting of a new turbocharger, intake manifold, fuel system enhancements, coilover suspension, brakes, and differential, just to name the headline upgrades. Powell had already purchased and shipped some of the parts, but many of the big-ticket items were to be ordered by Souffrant with between $8,000 and $10,000 sent by Powell through CashApp.
"From the beginning he always claimed and showed pictures of these cars, these builds," Powell said. "He's got this personal BMW with like, 1,500 horsepower, LS twin-turbo, or something. You know, we tested at Sebring in February and he drove a McLaren 720S to the track and said it was his." Powell said Souffrant told him at the time that he crewed simply because he enjoyed it, not because he needed the job.
Powell sent The Drive well over a hundred screenshots of his ensuing text exchanges with Souffrant as things got messy. "Me and him talked, and we planned, and everything I said, he's like 'yeah, no problem, that's easy, of course.' This is my only car, so we need to talk about timeframe, and he's like 'yeah, no more than two weeks.'" Powell noted to me that it seemed like quite a lot of work to be done that quickly, but Souffrant seemed confident.
At a certain point, the shop owner's responses started coming in fewer and further between, leaving a frustrated Powell in the dark for days or a week at a time. He was finally able to retrieve his BMW from Teknik on October 28, with most of the parts Souffrant agreed to install still not in the car and Powell still out thousands of dollars for items the tuner said he'd bought but were nowhere in sight. What transpired between the two men over the summer is a cautionary tale for anyone handing their car over to a relative stranger for work. The Drive reached out to Souffrant via phone and email and did not receive a response at the time of publishing.
A Series of Setbacks
The first delay came over text in late June when Souffrant said he was out of town working on "other cars." A little more than a week later, he told Powell he had to push back the ETA again because his mother was in the hospital, and sent a picture of a woman in a hospital bed. Days later, he couldn't work on Powell's BMW because it was supposedly trapped up on a lift, with another vehicle beneath it that Souffrant said he didn't have the keys for and belonged to his cousin.
When Souffrant did respond, he said he was busy with work, or driving his daughter somewhere, or at the dentist, or recovering from dental surgery. In mid-August, Powell even received toll fees in the mail from all over Florida, as far up as Ocala, roughly three hours north of where Teknik is located. Souffrant told Powell over text that his cousin had driven the car to visit "three different machinists" about exhaust manifold studs the mechanic said he broke.
"Before he had my car, he answered the phone every time. Now, it's really tough to get a hold of him," Powell said in early October, when his BMW was still stuck at the shop. "[I'm] chasing him constantly. And I understand if there's a little bit of a delay, but the communication was nil and he always promised to send me pictures, or videos, or FaceTime me from the shop, and never did."
When the GT4 America series arrived at Road America on the weekend of August 25, Souffrant came to crew and reportedly told Powell he'd have his car finished after Labor Day the following week, September 4. That didn't happen.
"Labor Day rolls around, no word from him, doesn't answer the calls, nothing," Powell said. "Like a week after that, he finally gets back to me, has some other bullshit excuses. And he finally gets back to me and says 'I'll have your car done, I'll bring it to Sebring.'"
Around midnight before setup day at Sebring, Powell said Souffrant told him over the phone that he not only failed to finish the car, but that he wouldn't be crewing at the race like the team had depended on him to. Still, he reportedly told Powell he'd have the BMW done by Friday, Sept. 22 and bring it to the track. When he didn't do that either, Powell visited Souffrant's shop in West Palm Beach on the following Tuesday and waited outside it for four hours. Souffrant never showed, because he was supposedly in Tampa getting dental work.
About a month later, Souffrant was supposed to trailer the car up to Indianapolis, during the final race of the season. Powell said he stayed up until 3 a.m. waiting for the mechanic to show; this time, the excuse was an issue with the trailer.
"He also had told me that the car's '100% done.' I'm like, OK, well how did it go on the dyno?" Powell asked him. "It went good," Souffrant supposedly responded.
"How much power did it make? How did it run? What's the deal here? 'Oh, it made good power.' Well what power!?"
Powell pressed him for numbers, and the mechanic rated the car at 610 horsepower on E85 ethanol, and 575 hp on 93 octane. "That car, 575 on pump gas, I don't know if it's possible," Powell said. "And, if it did make 575 on pump gas, it would make way more than 610 on ethanol!"
In October, Powell said he contacted the West Palm Beach Police for help, who called his a civil matter. He also said the department told him it'd dispatch an officer to Teknik Tuning to check on the status of the car, and that the officer would get back to him whether they were able to make contact with Souffrant or not. That never happened.
A Common Story
Teknik's page on Google Maps has 10 reviews. Six have five stars, but four have only one. "We brought our R8 to this shop in November of last year for twin turbos," a review from an individual named Joe Kology reads, dated October 2023. "We have NOT heard from them since. No answer when we call. We are going to report it stolen. STAY AWAY Phone number is now out of service."
"STAY AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!" another review begins, from seven months earlier. "This guy Stanley completely ripped me off and told me many lies. Please do yourself a favor and stay away. Don’t let his resume and pictures of teams cars and races he been involved in impress you. He took money from me and did nothing. I’m seeking legal action as we speak."
This would be alarming enough, but Souffrant's reputation appears to go back much further, judging from a thread on Supra Forums, posted Aug. 25, 2006. Back then, Souffrant was operating a garage called Toyopro. Florida Company Directory lists seven other shops with different names, including Teknik, that claim "Stanley Souffrant" as the registered agent dating back to 2010.
The complaint from the Supra Forums member said they were referred to Souffrant on the basis that he'd been tuning Toyota sports cars since the early '90s. You can read the full tale for yourself (the TL;DR is that Souffrant allegedly drove the customer's car for two-and-a-half weeks daily, disconnected the odometer, installed nothing, and left it "leaking from everywhere,") but some of the beats will sound familiar. The individual mentions that when they initially had their car towed to Souffrant's house for work, he impressed them with "photos in a magazine of his car at a track" and stories of his builds over the years. "I felt with these accreditations, he should be a good candidate to work on my car. I didn't know just how wrong I would be and the hell that would follow."
The Palm Beach County Clerk of Courts returns a number of civil cases against Souffrant, including three spanning 2023 and 2019 that appear to pertain to work on customer vehicles. The most recent entry involves a 1999 Lexus GS300 that plaintiff Carlos A. Gayle wrote was being illegally withheld at Teknik Tuning in June. The final document on record seems to indicate the car was eventually returned in August, but the case remains open, as does a separate small claims suit over money spent on parts as a deposit for services.
As it happens, you can tour Teknik Tuning for yourself, thanks to a YouTube video uploaded by a channel called StreetlyTunedTV about a year ago. In this five-minute video, a soft-spoken Souffrant showcases the aforementioned carved-up, twin-turbo LS-powered E46 M3 that he intends to make 2,500 hp when all's said and done, as well as a prior-gen Daytona Prototype he keeps around for SCCA racing. He later revs an obviously modified McLaren 720S to the moon, that he also claims is his. When the host of the YouTube video asks him the secret to owning a supercar, Souffrant says "work hard and save your money."
As for Powell, he says that when he finally retrieved his car by showing up at Teknik when Souffrant happened to be there, he also was given a number of other items as collateral because Souffrant didn't have the money to reimburse for missing parts and uncompleted work. That included a box of Forgeline wheels for a McLaren, the rear wing off a Daytona Prototype, and—as it happens—a turbocharger for an Audi R8. As of this writing, Powell says Souffrant hasn't paid him back.
The BMW seemed to be in decent shape when it was back in Powell's hands, even if it had an additional 2,500 miles on the clock, suspension components were left loose on all four corners, and the emergency brake was disconnected. Powell said Souffrant only worked on the suspension, brakes, and differential with the upgrades he provided to the mechanic when the car went in for service in June. In other words, none of the parts Teknik was paid to purchase were seemingly ever bought, let alone installed on the car.
"I don't want this guy doing this to other people, obviously," Powell told me. "It's messed up."
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