K&N Filters’ Dirty Past Details Its History With Jerry Mall

K&N Filters, a market leader in the manufacturing and distribution of aftermarket filters, intakes, and other bolt-ons, has posted a highly watchable and informative video on YouTube.

The video features an interview with former K&N owner, Jerry Mall, and takes a look at the company’s origins and history.

At the start, the video, entitled The Dirty Past, takes us back to post-war Southern California, a time when a growing demand for manufacturing gave new life to the auto industry.

Former K&N Filters owner Jerry Mall. (Photo courtesy of K&N Filters.)

Jerry Mall is introduced to us, and he recounts how he was the son of a machinist, and that this, combined with his experience in his high school’s machine shop class led him to seek out a job in the field upon graduation.

He chose to enlist in the United States Navy, where he served honorably for three years, and learned a great deal more about machining.

Upon the completion of his service in the late 1950s, Hall opened his own machine shop and became acquainted with Kenny Johnson and Norm McDonald, founders of K&N Engineering.

A manufacturing partnership resulted, and when McDonald sold his interest and left the company, Johnson recruited Mall and together set out to build up K&N’s flagging filter business.

The famous K&N logo. (Image courtesy of K&N Filters.)

Together, they successfully expanded the size and scope of K&N. The company was radically transformed from a small, rather primitive outfit to one of the largest aftermarket filter companies in the world.

This process took years, and was not without amusing and surprising incidents along the way. Throughout the video, the engaging Mall is happy to recount them. From how they used to cut filter media to size with a repurposed meat saw to how filter manufacturing led the company to diversifying into the aftermarket cold air intake market, Mall knows how to spin a yarn.

If you’re a K&N user and devotee, or just interested in learning more about the company and the field, head on over to knfilters.com and check it out. It’s well worth the five-minute running length.

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About the author

Rob Finkelman

Rob combined his two great passions of writing and cars; and began authoring columns for several Formula 1 racing websites and Street Muscle Magazine. He is an avid automotive enthusiast with a burgeoning collection of classic and muscle cars.
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