Who we are ?
American Muscle Cars (AMC) is a business created out of necessity. At its inception, muscle cars were being bought in Southern California and shipped to dealers specializing in muscle cars, hot rods, classics and exotic automobiles in Northern California, where a significant price difference could be realized, establishing a pattern of profitability from the beginning. At this stage, American Muscle Cars had very low overhead and only a few vendor relationships for the type of cars being bought and sold.
As time progressed the profitability on flipping muscle cars began to diminish as the value differential between regions leveled out. Thus, AMC began purchasing vehicles requiring repair and restoration services, including interior restoration, engine service and repair and general maintenance. There was a hesitancy to invest in vehicles which required paint or full restoration because of a lack of the necessary overhead and facility, and also a difficulty in recouping the costs associated with paint and body.
Our First Shop
The first shop AMC used to perform minor repair and cosmetic services was actually a 600-sq. ft. storage unit, which kept overhead small and costs affordable. As business progressed however, finding vehicles that only needed minor repair and restoration became increasingly difficult. The decision was made to begin taking on cars that needed major restoration work so that margins could be increased between investment and sale price. Selling these vehicles was difficult in the beginning, but AMC soon discovered there was a specific customer base in the market willing to pay more for these higher quality cars. It was growing painfully obvious that the storage unit would not sustain American Muscle Cars any longer, so a move to a commercial building took place, offering 2500-sq. ft. of work space and quickly expanding the volume of work that could be done by AMC.
Concurrent to the flow of repair and restoration work, AMC began a full restoration on their own ’67 Camaro that was displayed at multiple car shows, leading to a major turning point in publicity. The Camaro was noticed by the then-Editor of Super Chevy Magazine, who began writing articles about AMC and its quality work. This relationship led to AMC building project cars for the magazine itself, including a paint and body project with Hotchkis Suspension, which was featured in an article in Super Chevy. This brought a lot of welcome recognition and legitimacy to the American Muscle Cars brand. They continue to be featured in articles in major magazines to this day, adding to the growing brand recognition of American Muscle Cars.
San Diego, CA
The first commercial shop was located in San Diego county, and as the company grew, continued to relocate operations to larger and better equipped facilities. AMC had primarily been focused on the stock restoration of first generation Camaros (’67-’69) but in an effort to continue expanding the business and its reputation, decided to make two significant changes. The first was to minimize the amount of vendor relationships being used. The first and most critical step was to bring paint and body work in-house. By acquiring a body shop, AMC was able to do all paint and body work internally and maintain a very high standard on quality control. This also added a new revenue stream; exclusively doing paint and body work without repair and restoration.
The second change to the business model was to shift the focus away from first generation Camaros and begin the restoration and repair of not only other Chevy models and years, but Ford and Mopar products as well. This decision not only broadened the customer base, but helped to remove the stigma that American Muscle Cars was a “Camaro only” facility. As the volume of business started growing at a rapid pace, AMC decided it was time to make the move from San Diego county to the Inland Empire.
American Muscle Cars relocated its operations to spacious and well-equipped location in Ontario, CA, where it stayed for the next two years. At this time, after continued networking with Super Chevy Magazine, AMC was asked to work with Chip Foose on the set of one of the early episodes of the TV series Overhaulin’. This was American Muscle Cars’ first experience in front of a television camera, and allowed AMC to continue to network its brand and make valuable contacts in the media industry. The networking paid off as AMC was then approached by Classic Industries to build a 1969 Camaro. This collaboration would launch AMC into another area of restoration it had not ventured into before; Resto-Mods.
Resto-Mods start with an old classic car body and add modern/updated drive train, brakes, etc… As it had done in the past when it moved into the Ford and Mopar space, AMC accepted the challenge of this new venture. This new project began a metamorphosis for AMC, moving from primarily stock restoration to a shop that could handle any and all projects thrown at it. The partnership with Classic Industries would add two more builds for the company itself, and one for the General Manager. All of this high exposure work added to the ever-growing reputation and service offering of American Muscle Cars.
San Bernardino, CA and The Dynacorn Assembly
With growth at an all-time high, expansion was necessary again, which facilitated a move to a new shop in San Bernadino, CA. This move also coincided with a new venture for AMC. Because of their expertise with the first-generation Camaros, AMC was approached by a company called Dynacorn to assemble reproduction Camaro bodies that they were designing. Dynacorn was stamping first-generation Camaro pieces overseas and was looking for a strategic partner in the U.S. to ship these parts to for assembly. Dynacorn also asked AMC to build a complete vehicle using the stamped body as a signature vehicle for marketing Dynacorn’s products.
Dynacorn’s signature Camaro got suddenly thrust into the spotlight when American Muscle Cars was chosen to be showcased on Speed Channel’s Chop Cut Rebuild, an automotive documentary that focuses on the restoration process of its featured project cars. The Camaro was to make its debut at Hot August Nights in Reno, NV. Dynacorn eventually moved their strategic partnership for assembly back overseas. The following year AMC was asked to go in front of the camera again and build a ’64 Chevy Impala for Classic Industries which would be revealed at SEMA in Las Vegas, NV. For several consecutive years after this, American Muscle Cars featured cars at SEMA and became a regular participant in the SEMA governing body.
The aftermath of “The Crash”
The economic downturn of 2008 put a real damper on consumer discretionary spending, which was a big blow to the industry. To survive AMC went into safe mode; cutting expenses, relocating to smaller shop, being very selective with projects and closely monitoring spending and capital expenditures. With a strategic marketing plan in place AMC weathered the tougher times and began growing the business again.
In 2014, AMC was selected to be one of the featured shops on Season 10 of Chop Cut Rebuild, now on MavTV. AMC would be collaborating with Auto Metal Direct (AMD) on a ’67 Chevelle build, but the difference this time was time American Muscle Cars would retain ownership of the Chevelle at the end of the build. The build would start at the AMD facility in Georgia by replacing all of the body panels with AMD-designed panels. Once completed, the car was transported to AMC’s shop in Bloomington CA, where the restoration began with a rendering and then a mockup of all the components going into the build. This entire process of was filmed as part of the show, documenting what a detailed and laborious process goes into a successful restoration. After the Chevelle was completed, it was officially revealed at SEMA 2014 in the Auto Metal Direct booth.