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Max Power Legend: Andy Barnes

He built the quickest GTR in the country that could also win a show 'n' shine comp. He may look a bit like Jesus but it's fair to say Andy Barnes is a Maxing god.

If you were messing around with Japanese cars in the noughties then you probably came across Andy Barnes at some point. Not only was he the brains behind Sumo Power, bringing in all manner of HKS, Do_Luck and Spoon goodness (although he doesn’t like to talk about the latter) he was also building some of the most attention-grabbing Nippon machinery you could imagine.

How does a near 1000bhp R34 GT-R that was setting quarter mile records at Santa Pod while being so immaculately prepared it also won a few show ‘n’ shine type awards sound? Or a bright pink R33 GT-R drag car that could reach a quarter mile from a standstill in 8.37secs? And let’s not forget another bright pink car in the form of a 350Z that was primed for drift duties.

Andy also brought the European Drift Championship and Time Attack to the UK, is behind the Kleers car care brand and imports some of the most JDM scale models you could hope for so he’s still in the game… even if he spends a lot of his spare hours racing around Europe on Lambrettas.

But while his on-paper credentials make him a Max Power legend, it goes beyond that. Back when Max Power was in its prime it wasn’t unusual for some tuners to turn their noses up at it. Presumably they didn’t like naked chicks, having a laugh or the fact that some people might not actually be able to afford a big power car… yet Andy Barnes knew.

“Putting our R34 on the cover of Max Power, that transformed our business. We always got loads of respect for that, bizarrely with you two idiots. That just transformed what we were doing, made it more mainstream I suppose because at the time the magazine was huge, before the rise of the internet. And that was it, that was everything,” recalls the GT-R legend.

"But while his on-paper credentials makes him a Max Power legend, it goes beyond that."

Even at the height of Sumo Power’s fame he was even discussing running a line of parts for cars like Saxos, Peugeot 206s and other popular hot hatches of the era, realising that many MAXERS starting out in their modifying journeys were rocking cars like that but might well move on to the Jap stuff later on.

Millsy and Dan popped in to see the Jesus look-a-like one evening to have a catch up. Not only did Dan manage to blag a free coat out of it, the MAXERS boys were also privy to a few projects that suggested Mr. Barnes may be staging some kind of Maxing resurrection in the near future. More of that later hopefully, but for now check out the video below to find out why a Supra is actually one of his favourite ever cars and what he thinks about the scene in 2020.

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