Barnsley diesel tuning company on the right track to success

Twin brothers from Barnsley who started their business in a garden shed are moving up a gear after relocating their specialist automotive business into purpose-built, self-designed premises.

Darkside Developments, based at Park Springs, Grimethorpe, specialise in tuning diesel engines for Audi, Volkswagen, Seat and Skoda vehicles.

The company also offer a wide range of bespoke tuning products, fabrication, diagnostics, service and repairs as well as supplying new and used car parts.

Due to the growing reputation and demand for products, the company plans to expand further into an acre of land they own behind their current premises and also take on more members of staff in the coming year.

The business is backed by Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre (BBIC) through Enterprising Barnsley, the business development arm of the Barnsley Council.

Darkside, which was set-up in 2010 and is run by brothers Scott and Ryan Parkin, supply parts to 70 dealers worldwide. They employ 11 members of staff and moved from their rented premises last August, investing £750,000 in their current 10,000 sq ft home.

Also on-site are sister company SRS Automotive, who are an Environment Agency approved end of life vehicle company, who buy salvaged motors to strip down and sell the parts to customers across the world.

Scott, aged 26, said: “We’ve worked tirelessly over the past six years to make the company a success and we’re looking to add four or five more people to the team by the end of the year. We’re a strong believer in that we have a lot of talent within Yorkshire, so we’re always trying to recruit people from within the local area.

“We want to recruit experts within particular areas who can allow us to grow further and take the business onto another level.”

Darkside are planning to offer their services for BMW vehicles in the near future.

The company attracts customers from around the UK and across the world, even taking direct orders from America, Australia and the Caribbean.

Scott said: “In one week, we had somebody visit us from Aberdeen and someone else from Portsmouth and a customer from South Wales. We’ve even had a guy drive all the way from Norway for us to tune his engine and fabricate a custom exhaust system.”

Late last year the company invested almost £250,000 on a new purpose built unit, or cell, to house their Chassis Dyno, more commonly known as a ‘rolling road’. The cell is fitted with a bespoke extraction system, allowing them to closely replicate real driving conditions inside a soundproof and temperature controlled environment.

The Dyno Cell is separate to the rest of their main unit allowing them to maintain low external noise levels, and exhaust gases pass through filters to capture diesel particulates.

Kevin Steel, Enterprising Barnsley’s business development manager at BBIC, said: “A huge amount of credit should be given to both Scott and Ryan. To start in a garden shed, then move into huge premises and now to be known all over the world in the space of six years is a remarkable achievement.

“They spotted a gap in the market and worked extremely hard to get to this stage, and it’s great that such a growing and successful business is situated right here in Barnsley.”

Alongside tuning and distributing parts, Darkside also have several race cars they use to showcase the business. They currently boast the UK’s fastest front wheel drive diesel in a Seat Arosa they have converted to a 2.0 TDI Engine. Its record time stands at 10.1 seconds at 148mph over a quarter of a mile, with a 0-60mph time of less than 3 seconds.

Scott said: “We love the thrill of racing but for us it’s not just about winning. For us, it’s a chance to show our customers what we do and what they can aspire to achieve from their vehicles. We’ve brought in a lot of business from racing in the Arosa.”