Drivers: Start your (Thorsen’s) Engines

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Jack Sznewajs

The Entrance to Thorsen’s Racing Engines in downtown DeWitt.

Nestled off the corner of E Main and S Franklin in downtown DeWitt, Michigan, there is a small machine shop that many may over look. Thorsen’s Racing Engines has been a focal point of the downtown DeWitt landscape for years, but many may not know what it is all about.

“We’re a full-service machine shop right here in DeWitt in a nice location right off the highway,” said shop owner Steve Thorsen, “We do a lot of work for other dealerships and shops in the area. If they need engines or something worked on, they can bring it in and we’ll ship it back out.”

According to Thorsen’s website, they work on everything from full engine restores, to pistons, crank shafts and everything in between, which helps put Thorsen’s on the map for many engine aficionados.

When you first see the store downtown, it may not look like much. However, Thorsen’s has been open since 1986, and has been in its current location in downtown DeWitt for many of those years.

“We originally started in Williamston, but eventually settled right here in DeWitt,” Thorsen said, “It’s a good business for us and it helps being centrally located in the state of Michigan.”

Michigan has Ford, General Motors, and Chevrolet all headquartered about an hour east of DeWitt. Therefore, there are challenges that smaller machine shops, such as Thorsen’s, need to work on in order to continue to bring their top-of-the-line services to their customers.

“Michigan, with the Big 3, provides a few obstacles stores like us need to overcome,” Thorsen said, “Almost everyone knows how to fix a car in this state since it’s so car friendly. So we need to do a good job all the time.”

Due to Michigan being so big with cars, it provides Thorsen’s the opportunity to reach out to smaller, and even different, business’s that need work on machinery.

Bob’s Small Engine Repair is another small business in downtown DeWitt located directly behind Thorsen’s. It’s tough to miss the big green barn that is anchored in the parking lot, especially for those at Thorsen’s.

“He (Steve Thorsen) does the rebuilding of older engines,” Owner, Bob, said, “I do strictly anything you need to repair your lawn.”

Working in such a small town could have a possible negative effect on smaller business’s like Bob’s Small Engine Repair. That’s something he appreciates so much about working with another small shop such as Thorsen’s.

“It’s a very nice city. Nice being in the upper scale area. Work on a lot of nice equipment,” said Bob, “If I ever need an engine fixed, I go to him, if he needs something from me, it’s the same thing, I’m there to help, and it’s nice to have that in DeWitt.”

Steve Thorsen is also one to enjoy working in the small town of Dewitt, and similar to Bob, appreciates the help he can get from almost anyone in the city.

“It’s a great town,” said Thorsen, “A lot of people helping one another. Scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours kinda place. That’s where I want to work”

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