We Are Auto Racing Enthusiasts
Certified Mechanic Ralf Leopold

Ralf's Racing Background

Ralf first caught the racing bug in 1976, when he worked for the Porsche factory in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, Germany building racing engines. The test drivers would invite the factory team out to the race track and Ralf would get to see how well his engines performed on the course. After moving to the United States and starting his own company, German Formula, Ralf continued to build racing motors and modified vehicles. German Formula also sponsored race cars in the 80s, most notably a 1970 Porsche 914-6 G2 in the annual Rose Cup Races at Portland International Raceway in 1980.

After watching from the sidelines for over a decade, it was time for Ralf to get in the driver’s seat. He began racing modified, H-Production Volkswagen Rabbits. Ralf describes the race consisting of 50 of the same vehicles on the track at one time, which evens the playing field dramatically. As Ralf puts it, “You show what you can really do.” At the apex of his racing career in the late 90s, Ralf secured the Rose Cup track record. It was an accomplishment that further fueled his passion for racing. In the early 2000s, he went on to do Mini Cooper Slalom races, which take place in coned-off parking lots with only one driver racing against the clock.

When Ralf opened Upscale Auto in Tualatin in 1983, racing was not only a fundamental part of his personal life but also his business. He attests the success of his shop in large part to racing and the high standards that the sport demands. Having to repair a race car after every race, conditions one’s mechanical skills to be precise and accurate. Ralf puts it this way, “If you don’t repair a race car properly it will not last. You learn to do it right.” And he’s applied this perfectionism at the Upscale Auto shop in repairing and maintaining the Tualatin area’s vehicles for over 30 years.

Sprinter Mechanic at Upscale Auto

Foster's Racing Background

Foster has been racing since 1972 and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. In fact, he has such a passion for the sport that he plans to race until he’s 70 years old. He first began racing go-carts, then moved onto drag racing and then eventually stuck with road racing for good. The highlight of Foster’s career was when he qualified to be a “pole sitter” in a championship race, which means he got to start the official race in the first row in the inside lane. It’s an honorable position that many racers pine for.

When asked what he loves most about racing, Foster says, “The speed. I love the G forces when you turn a corner and having the other race cars speeding around you. I really enjoy the starts and the take-offs. I love it all.” Foster has traveled all over the western United States and parts of Canada to attend races and has been sponsored by big names such as ARI and Spartan Plating. In their spare time, both he and Ralf volunteer for the Oregon Region SCCA (Sports Club Car of America), which is a joy for them to continue their involvement in the racing community.

Foster feels that his racing background greatly informs his position as a Service and Parts Manager at Upscale Auto. He not only has a high standard for proper mechanical work, but he knows when technicians aren’t being truthful. Having a specialty in vehicle parts and Sprinter Vans, he finds creative ways to apply the mechanics of repairing race cars to repairing street cars. The knowledge he possesses for anything car-related is unsurpassed by many, which makes him one of the best mechanics in the area and a vital team member for Upscale Auto.