About 11 years ago, not long after I took over the R&D side of AllFast I decided that we need to create a new name for the new model of converter that we were building. Jim (the founder of AllFast) had names for all his different models, Street Launch, Super Street Launch, Pro Street Launch etc. We were still using a number of these names but the designs had slightly changed since I have been involved.
Better components, furnace brazing, stronger sprags, better Stator designs, it's an evolutionary process, you take an existing design and make it better. But all these converters were based on old technology. I devoted the first 2 years to creating a new design, the 9.5" converter. It was based on the 245mm GM converter and GM had released many different combinations (world wide) of the same basic design. The lids (or pumps as the US guys call them) ranged from 45 degrees negative right through to 55 degrees positive. There were 5 different stators, they were modern and they were designed using the latest available technology. To me they were the best available basis for building new Hi Stall converters at the time.
It didn't take long to crack the code for the 245mm combinations and it didn't take long to locate stock of each variety so that we could offer numerous different combinations using the same basic design to achieve different stall speeds. I did a Trade Mark search and no one was using the name Sling Shot (at the time), after using a couple of combinations at the track and seeing how well the formidable 245mm design worked I felt that the Sling Shot name was appropriate in describing the way the car launched. I should have registered the trade mark for automotive use, I should have!
So years role on and our Sling Shot converter with it's vibrant colour and it's even more vibrant performance began to get a following all over Australia, customers out there are referring to them as Sling Shots, not 9.5" converters or 245mm converters or even quoting the stall speed, just Sling Shot. I was very happy with what we had achieved, the converter worked well and just like another renowned Australian brand, the model of the converter had become the name that everyone was calling us. Unfortunately we aren't called Sling Shot converters, our company is called AllFast!
Then I got that phone call; you see there was a little converter company in Sydney that is called Sling Shot converters, it's a father and son team and I believe they are into off road racing, on the up side at least they race something! Anyway so the son of the owner rings me and tells me that we are infringing on his trade-mark and that he will begin to take legal action if we do not stop. I explained that we had been using the name for about 10 years and that I did a trade-mark search before we started using it and I asked how long ago he had registered the trade-mark. He went on to tell me that Sling Shot converters had been around for years etc etc. So I asked again how long ago he had registered the trade mark, after a few goes at the question he finally told me that it had only been a couple of years ago.
Now I could have challenged the trade-mark but I didn't, why? Well to quote Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, well at least Orson Welles from the Cannon adds "Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet?" Well would a Hi Stall with any other name work just as good? As Orson put it "What's in a name." In this case, free advertising! So that is the saga of the 245mm Sling Shot converter and why our converters just have a size (11", 10.5", 10", 9.5" 8.5", 8") written on them instead of a name.
So if you've been told to get a Sling Shot converter make sure you know which one they mean!! Because all Sling Shots are not the same!!!!!
P.S. We don't build purple converters!