Hello there, My name is Wolfgang. I own an engineering office in Germany. We offer solutions to the Automobile Industry, mainly in the field of Functional Safety. I like to start a blog here, which you might find interesting as it is related to the F355. If you enjoy it, I will update it once in a while. Everything started a few years ago, when a friend of mine called me. He told me about another friend that would need help with his F355. He asked if I could call him and gave me his contact details. I was busy on my job, but called him the next day. The guy told me that he's driving a F355. It was a present of his father when he was younger. He's in love with that car. He loves its shape, its smell, the way it drives and especially, as so many do, its beautiful sound. He explained that he often opens the exhaust flap to hear this symphony. Unfortunately he cannot keep it open all the time. In some situations he said it would be adequate to close it, e.g. when leaving his neighborhood, parking in the city or even when idling in general (it would smell bad then, he explained). Then on the other hand he likes to have the flap open constantly, e.g. when downshifting before hard acceleration, revving in idle and so on. Right now he always has to push a button which he thinks is annoying. He asked me if I would be able to develop a circuit that would do this automatically. Actually my clients are in the automotive industry and I initially thought to reject. I explained him that private clients are out of my scope as they're simply not profit-making. He was very friendly and asked for my usual fees. After I told him he indicated that he doesn't bother much about them. I added that there are more reasons I'm not doing business with private clients. But after some discussion he sorted out all of them. In the end I had him agreed to conditions that were very favorable to me. I had no reason left over why I should not accept the task. So I did it. We agreed on a prototype. The next weeks I developed a circuit according to his wishes. Then I sent it to him. He tried it out and was very pleased on the result. In the next months he came up with improvements, some of them quite challenging. He had a lot of ideas and I had to do a lot of modifications. But finally I was able to satisfy them all. During that time he sometimes also asked for special jobs. He had a problem with his heater ECU and asked me to repair it. Another time there was a problem with his exhaust temperature controller. The case was broken. I explained him that it would be way cheaper to buy a new unit. But he answered that he already did but it didn't last long. Therefore he now wants a custom solution. I helped him. Working with the industry can be a dry task and so with time I found his jobs somehow inspiring. Just as well I was pleased how easily he paid my fee (which I'd consider as reasonably high for private customers). Over time I became somewhat like a personal electronic engineer for his car. From time to time we chatted about personal stuff, too. A few times I emphasized how much I like the F355. He never disagreed - until he once replied: "Wolfgang, I love my F355 very much. But one thing annoys me. It's the gearbox. It's a robotized box and was cutting edge back in the 90s. But to be honest, it's dead slow! It was back then - and nowadays its even more!" Well, I didn't know the gearbox and kept quiet, so he continued: "What do you think, would it be possible improve it? I would really appreciate to have proper shift times!" I was aware that this task would be huge! Completely different than what we did before. Apart from the engine computer the TCU is the major powertrain computer. Hacking it would be very complex, time consuming and virtually unaffordable! I had the feeling he thought it would be similar to overclocking a computer, but thats nonsense. Of course. I explained it to him. But to my surprise he didn't care much. Instead he asked, if it would technically possible. I confirmed it would be. Theoretically. But practically will exceed the price of several F355. He asked for an estimation. I confess, with my answer I also had the idea to impress him. Anyway I mentioned an amount of several hundreds of thousands Euros. Obviously money is not a thing to impress him. He suggested: "Let's do the following. You'll assign one employee to this task and I'll pay his salary. Plus some fee for tools etc. If we find out that we won't succeed, we will cancel the job. But let's try before!" I must admit I knew that my customer is very wealthy. Anyway I was very surprised how much money he's willing to spend on his hobby! For that amount I'd buy a flat in our city - but that's of course something he already has. We spent some more time on our discussion. It appeared that he was fully aware of all implications. Again the risk on my side was quite low as I would get paid by time. He also was not my usual clientele so I was not afraid to risk my reputation. Moreover the first steps wouldn't be much difficult. I could assign my new employee on the task. So in the end... I accepted!