A Little More About Us
J.D. Parks started working for Mountjoy Co. in San Antonio in the 1940’s, working his way up to crankshaft grinder. By the early 70’s, Mountjoy decided to close its doors and J.D. seized the opportunity to buy the crankshaft grinder for himself to start Parks Machine and Grinding. Renting a small space out of the Seguin Airport, he would drum up business during the day, grind crankshafts into the early morning, catch a few hours of sleep and do it all again the next day. If a crankshaft was ground in south Texas from 1940-1980, there is a good chance J.D.’s machinist mark is notched into one of the counter weights.
By 1978, J.D. and long-time business partner, Jack Hurley, invested in two acres of land on interstate 10 just outside of Seguin to set up what would later become Parks Engine Service, Inc. In 1987, J.D.’s son-in-law, Rick Pridgen, joined the company and started in the engine disassembly department. Rick’s experience working on engines started when he was just old enough to pick up a wrench helping his dad work on their ’55 Chevy and other various hot rod projects through the years. He was introduced to machine work while in high school working at a local machine shop. By 1989, J.D. sold the business to Rick and retired to travel the country with his wife.
Rick’s wife, Kecia, joined the company in 1996 to run the office. Together, they worked to expanded Parks Engine Service, Inc. from a crankshaft grinder in a small space at the airport to a 6000 sq. ft. full service engine rebuilding machine shop. At a young age their sons, Bobby and Josh, would spend parts of their summers cleaning tools and sweeping floors. Today, Josh has become a skilled machinist and Bobby has taken over the office, both working to push the company forward.
From the day their doors opened, Parks Engine Service, Inc. has prided itself on being able to handle a wide variety of different projects. When customers ask: “What types of engines do you work on?” it’s much easier to list what we do not. Whether it is a complex modern all aluminum engine, a Ford Model A show car, or a Caterpillar 3408, Parks Engine Service, Inc. is not afraid to take on the challenge. It is common to have complete engines or components for a Chevy 350, Ford V-8 Flathead, N-14 Cummins, 454 Blown Alcohol and Perkins diesel come through the door in the same day. The sight of a Big Block Chevy Race engine, a Cummins Turbo Diesel, and a V2203 Kubota coming together in the assembly area at the same time is all part of a normal day. In this business, the ability to work on numerous engines for different applications is key. We are able to do what we do so well because of the great people we depend on. On average, our highly skilled machinists have more than 20 years’ experience.
Starting in the early 90’s a demand for performance engines started to become a regular part the business as local circle track, mud drag and quarter mile racers brought their motors to be built or refreshed before each season. There would even be the occasional drag boat, lawnmower racer, junior dragster, Bonneville racer, tractor pull motor, and rock crawler in the shop.
“After owning this business for almost 30 years now, I am most proud of the trust that we’ve developed with customers. Recently, we had the opportunity to work on the engine for the 2016 ‘Ridler Award’ winner and the 2015 ‘America’s Most Beautiful Hot Rod’ winner. Last year, we rebuilt the Ford 460 for the original ‘Starsky and Hutch’ T.V. show car. Lately, we’ve worked on a lot of performance diesel engines. At a national event, two of our customers ended up in the finals to see who would finish first and second. Right now, we are in the processes of rebuilding a 1938 Diamond T Fire Truck engine for a local municipality. There are other shops that do what we do and I am glad our reputation leads customers to choose us,”
- Rick Pridgen, President