How We Started

how we started

Sterling Performance - How We Started

Sterling Performance was incorporated under the laws of Michigan, November 12, 1990.

Over the years Sterling Performance has built a strong relationship with Pete Hledin, founder and owner of Douglas Marine. Douglas Marine is located in Douglas, Michigan and is the manufacturer of Skater catamarans. These boats have set records and won world championships of the American Power Boat Association, Super Boat International and Union International Motonautique Class I Circuit. We proudly supply engines for installations and record setting boats for MTI, Fountain Performance Marine, Cigarette, Outer Limits, Sonic and Nortech.

Sterling Performance has become the leader and “gold standard” in High Performance Engines with numerous World Championships and the Highest Official World Record Kilo Speed – 202.9 mph!

This experience, most pronounced in professional motor sport engine building, assures high visibility and opportunity within the marketplace to continue to lead and innovate; producing the hallmark of our reputation as the finest, fastest, most reliable engines money can buy.

Our success has sparked an ever growing wave of requests for Poker Run and Performance Pleasure Boat engines, which are becoming a large staple of our engine product offerings, including our new fuel saving, yet powerful 700 hp engine package. See our Pleasure Boat Engines.

Our pleasure boat engines get the same attention to detail, engine setup, calibration, tuning, and professional dynamometer break-in as all our competition engines. They don’t say Sterling Performance for nothing.

Whether you’re looking for a naturally aspirated, supercharged, turbocharged, or fuel injected engine, or simply don’t know for sure, we can help align the right engine setup to your needs and expectations.

Additionally, more and more boaters are coming to us to rebuild competitor engines. Many customers went elsewhere being led to believe they were getting a deal, only to find the engines they received either didn’t make the horsepower claim, or couldn’t do it reliably. We totally understand. We pride ourselves on our reputation that the engines we build make our advertised horsepower, and do it reliably. We stand behind our engines.

So if you’ve found your competitor engines weren’t all they were cracked up to be, don’t worry. If that happened to you, we can help. We will gladly rebuild your engines and do it right, giving them our Sterling touch. This can be more cost-effective than getting new engines. See our Engine Rebuild Service.

how we started2

Why Sterling Performance?

If you want the fastest, most reliable engines, built right, that make the advertised horsepower you paid for, then you want Sterling Performance engines. How do we achieve this?

Every engine part is carefully inspected and fine-tuned before going into one of your engines. We reject a lot of parts other engine builders would use because they don’t meet our exacting standards for reliability.

We go the extra mile to ensure all our engines, competition or pleasure, get the same attention to detail that is the hallmark of the success know world wide as Sterling engines.

Whether you’re competing in a sanctioned offshore race, participating in a poker run, or simply enjoying your powerboat on the open water, a Sterling Engine will work for you. We are proud of our reputation and are committed to continue to build the finest engines on the market.

We also have the right facilities, staff, and testing to ensure your engines are professionally dialed-in, tuned, and simply ready to be the best engines you ever had the pleasure to throttle.

Sterling Performance, Inc. is currently housed across three facilities occupying 34,000 sq. ft. of high-tech, fiber optic equipped, building space in an industrial complex off Pontiac Trail and Technology Drive in Milford Michigan.

This industrial technology complex includes our own Custom Machine Shop, Accredited Test Laboratory, Dyno Facilities and 26 professional employee personnel on site. The dyno facilities offer a two Super Flow SF7100’s with super flow data acquisition, and a Froude G-490.

Included with your engine purchasse, your engines are thoroughly tested for your assurance by the best engine staff in the business:

  • You get meticulous inspection, preparation, and attention to detail on every engine part prior to assembly and onsite dynamometer testing.
  • Your engine is properly broke in. We take the engine, cams, and parts through a proper break-in period so you know its done right for you by our engine professionals.
  • We verify the Power and Torque your engine is making.
  • We verify Engine Calibration and Performance so your engine is dialed in and ready to run.
  • Ensure Leak Free. Nobody like surprises, so we test everything so you can depend on your engines.
  • Adjusted and Fine Tuned. One last tweak in our continued attention to detail to give you the reliable engines you expect. They don’t say Sterling Performance for nothing.
  • All our Sterling Performance engines are recorded and tracked to ensure they are the real-deal. We document our engines to verify authenticity and ensure no posers or hoax engines attempt to pass themselves off as the real leader. You can’t fake a Sterling Performance engine. There are no short cuts to being the best.

Sterling has much more to offer than engine testing. We have personnel with experience in combustion analysis, through the use of cylinder pressure transducers, air / fuel ratio testing with Horiba instrumentation, valve train studies, cylinder head manifold flow bench work and engine frictional analysis testing.

Sterling also has the capability of performing engine crankshaft torsional vibration testing with an in house Scientific Atlantic Dynamic Signal Analyzer. We can acquire data peculiar to a particular engine combination and a purpose build harmonic dampers to best suit the engines application.


In summary, we offer you what other engine builders do not:

  • Onsite Engine Design and Innovation, collaborating with the industry’s best boat builders.
  • A Time-Tested and Proven History of Building and Delivering the Finest Performance Engines on the Market.
  • Race-Proven Winning Engine Packages and World Records.
  • Custom Engine Designs.
  • Engine Rebuilding Service.
  • Our own onsite Custom Machine Shop.
  • Custom Painting.
  • Our own complete Accredited Test Laboratory to test the reliability, durability, and environmental emissions on engine and fuel delivery system components.
  • Component Testing and setup to EPA and CARB specifications.
  • Onsite Engine Dynamometer Services.
  • Professional Engine Break-in and Tuning to ensure your engines reliability and horsepower.
  • A 34,000 square foot, high-tech, fiber optic facility, wired for the technology age and equipped and run by champion engine builders and test engineers.

Sterling Performance
Still winning all the races, and continuing to build the best engines on the market now and into the future, with the same detail in all our engine packages.