By Ashley Reyes
The SEMA Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) named Auto Metal Direct (AMD) as the council’s latest member spotlight company. AMD is an aftermarket company that specializes in Dodge and Plymoth musclecars, Ford cars and trucks and GM automotive sheet metal and accessories.
Get to know the story of their business in SEMA’s interview with company marketing director Jason Chandler below.
SEMA: Tell us the story of your business. How did you start?
Jason Chandler: Founder and president Mark Headrick has been an industry veteran for more than 40 years. After working with some of the biggest names in the industry, he ventured out and started Auto Metal Direct in 2007. Being a MOPAR guy, Mark saw a huge need for quality replacement body panels for late ’60s and early ’70s Dodge and Plymouth musclecars. That is how AMD got started.
SEMA: What was your breakthrough moment?
JC: As many of you may know, the development process on new product lines takes time. AMD’s breakthrough moment came once our products came to market. Once customers started receiving our high-quality OE-style replacement restoration products, we took the body panel market by storm.
SEMA: Tell us about your business now and some projects that you are working on.
JC: Auto Metal Direct has come a long way from the early days of inception. The design process for new products is completely digital, reducing development time on new products as well as dialing in previous tooling. Robotics now play a huge role in our production facility, ensuring repeatability in a quality end product. Also, AMD is now headquartered in a new 318,000-sq.-ft. facility, positioning us to offer a better customer experience for years to come.
SEMA: Tell us about a particular project, product or build you are proud of.
JC: We are growing heavily in a couple of different segments. We have heavily invested in Ford Fairlane/Torino and Ford Galaxie. We saw a need for quality products for these great cars and have developed a complete program for both the ’66–’71 Fairlane/Torino market as well as the ’63–’64 Ford Galaxies. With the technological advances we have in place, these are some of the best products we have ever produced.
In addition, we have developed a complete line of classic truck products. Initially focused on the ’60–’87 GM trucks and ’73–’79 Ford trucks, we have developed a complete line on new tools to reproduce the highest quality restoration products on the market for these trucks. This is a huge segment for us and we continue developing new products every day.
SEMA: What advice do you have for young professionals contemplating a career in the automotive aftermarket, particularly in the restoration segment?
JC: With so many different opportunities available, get in there and try as many as possible. Find something you love to do and stick with it. Working with the ARMO council is a great way to get exposure to multiple outlets.
Fill out an ARMO-member spotlight form to highlight how your company is contributing to the specialty-equipment industry. Selected candidates are eligible to be featured on ARMO’s social media, SEMA News and future ARMO member updates.