All posts by tracy

2014 Orange Blossom Tour

2014 Orange Blossom Tour

2014 Orange Blossom Tour

Ralph Sikes is the owner of American Resto Mods. He met his wife Mary 25 years ago in the parking lot of an apartment complex where they both lived. At the moment of their first meeting, Ralph was putting a fiberglass 56 Speedster Porsche body onto a rolling chassis. We have to assume she knew what she was getting into given the circumstances of their first meeting.


Since then, Mary has grown to love classic cars just as much as Ralph, and she even has a customized 1963 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 convertible that the shop built for her. Throughout the years, the couple has embarked on several classic car tours. The last was the 2013 Hot Rod Power Tour where they decided to take all 4 of their kids, one of the kid’s friends, and 3 cars. What a crazy adventure.

1963 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 Convertible

This time around it’s going to be just Ralph and Mary as they head out on the 2014 Orange Blossom Tour put together by Classic Motorsports Magazine. The first event was in 2010 and the second was in 2013. This year the tour will take place March 2-6, 2014, and is officially part of the amazing Amelia Island Concours. The Classic Motorsports Orange Blossom Tour will depart Amelia Island, Florida, and end up back on the Island, just in time for Concours activities. Touted as a real insider’s look at historic Florida, participants will experience some of the most picturesque paved roads and best hidden tourist venues Florida has to offer.


Only 25 cruisers will be allowed to come along for the ride. So far, there are 11 participants signed up:

1972 Morgan Plus 8
1961 Lotus Seven
2005 Morgan Aero 8
1985 Alfa Romeo GTV-6
1960 Daimler SP250
1969 Porsche 911S
1965 Lotus Elan
1960 Jaguar XK150
1972 Datsun 240Z
1936 Bentley Open Touring
1963 Chevrolet Corvette


Ralph and Mary will be the couple in the 1972 Datsun 240Z. In the past, Ralph and Mary have chosen the 1972 Fastback Mustang or Olds to cruise about in, but Ralph has been dying to take the ole Z out for a cruise since the 2012 Hot Rod Power Tour. The car just hasn’t been ready for a long haul until recently.

Although the tour formally ends before the Concours weekend starts for the Ameilia Island Concours d’Elegance and tickets are not included in the price, the organizers have worked a special VIP package for Orange Blossom Tour at the discounted rate of $175 per person.

For more information and to join in on the cruise, check out:
And don’t worry if you can’t make it because Ralph and Mary will be taking plenty of pics so you can live vicariously through them.

Atlanta Motor Speedway April 26-27.

Summit Racing Equipment Atlanta Motorama

Atlanta Motor Speedway April 26-27.
Summit Racing Equipment Atlanta Motorama at Atlanta Motor Speedway, April 26-27.

Hold on to your britches because Summit Racing Equipment and Atlanta Motor Speedway have teamed up to bring you the first annual Summit Racing Equipment Atlanta Motorama, April 26-27, 2014.

“We are very excited about all the events and activities that are planned for the Motorama,” said Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports & Events Manager Jim Greenleaf. “It will be a very exciting event and a perfect partnership, we are looking forward to for years to come.”

So, what’s all the excitement about? Well, according to their press release the event will be “Georgia’s premier motoring festival.” This is called MOTORama rather than AUTOrama because the event will feature many makes and models of automobiles as well as big rigs, military vehicles, tralers, airplanes, boats—and pretty much anything else with a motor!

The event is the brainchild Chas Sydney (best known the owner of Show World Productions and producer of the World of Wheels) and Bruce Wilson. Chas and Bruce have been producing car shows for 40 years. So, although this is an innaguaral event, it’s sure to be packed, organized, and a ton of fun.

The weekend activities include a judged car show, a car corral, swap meet, club gathering, autocross, bike show, manufacturers midway, Pinstriper Panel Jam, vintage trailer show, monster truck demonstrations, and things that probably haven’t even been thought about yet. Yea, buddy! Sounds like a party to us. We’ll be there! We will keep you updated as the event approaches. So stay tuned.

Admission: $12 per day for adults and $5 for kids ages 6-11. Kids 5 and under will be admitted free.

For more information, visit or call (770) 707-7904.

Atlanta Motorsports Park Track

Atlanta Motorsports Park Members Only Race

Atlanta Motorsports Park Track

Atlanta Motorsports Park is a private country club for the every day person who owns a sports car and wants a place to drive it fast and legal! On January 19th Atlanta Motorposrts Park road course is set to host its second member race on January 19th. Registration is open now. Space is limited, so sign up asap. Don’t have a suitable car? OPM (the country’s best Miata shop) is offering Spec Miata rentals for a one day race at this race! A one time offer at a low, low rental rate for new customers for this event! You can contact for information on that.

Atlanta Motorposrts Park Members Race Winners from Last Event
Atlanta Motorposrts Park Members Race Winners from Last Event

All AMP Members in good standing, with a qualifying vehicle. (See Race Classes below for details). AMP Members may invite one (1) guest. All existing policies on guests of members still apply. Additionally guests must meet the following criteria; Must submit an approved log book from one of the following sanctioning organizations for review and final approval. SCCA, NASA, PCA, IMSA, BMWCCA. Please contact AMP Chief Steward, Newt Knudsen to arrange a review for eligibility. or see him at the track.

Registration for this event is located on This event is hidden from the MotorsportsReg calendar, so you must use the provided link. Please contact the office if you have any questions about registration.

Atlanta Motorsports Park Speed Chart

Race Classes:

  •     Spec Miata
  •     Spec E30
  •     Spec E36

They are also allowing cars that meet the safety requirements of their respective series, but do not qualify as spec to run in a different class.

NASA rules will be followed for each class. These may be found on the internet at the following web addresses

Transponders will be required for every vehicle. These are available for rent or purchase from Discovery Parts. Please contact them in advance to make arrangements. They have a limited supply of transponders for rent.

For questions on rules and interpretations please contact Newt Knudsen,

Race Format:
(2) 20 minute sprints; 12:00 and 2:15

December 19 – Open Registration at
January 19 – Race Day: Hourly schedule TBD and will be posted prior to race day!

The 3rd members race will be February 16th. Stay tuned for more information on that upcoming event.


Your Classic Car and Ethanol

Ethanol—a word that sparks much controversy these days. It’s not a new word or concept. Ethanol the consumable liquor has been around in the form of Moonshine Whiskey since 15th Century Scotland. Ethanol the fuel was used in the Ford Motor Company’s first car, The Model T, back in 1908. Nonetheless, the conflict on the topic of Ethanol for fuel is a heated one…no pun intended.

Regardless of where you stand on the economic viability of ethanol, the fact remains that bio-fuel is becoming ever more present at our pumps. According to, ten states have enacted Renewable Fuels Standards that require the use of ethanol-blended fuel, twelve states have some type of retail pump incentives for ethanol, whether for E10, E85, or both types of ethanol-blended fuel, and twenty-two states have some type of incentive for ethanol producers. Click here for the full listing of states. All of which begs the question, “What effects can Ethanol have on my classic car?”

While we aren’t scientific experts on the subjects, we happen to have a few classic cars of our own and at least have some experience on the topic. We have also done some research so that you can use this blog post as a place where you can find some interesting takes, facts, and myths regarding the use of Ethanol in our classic cars—and just plain cars in general.

We think it is a pretty well known fact that at the very least ethanol can damage some parts of the fuel system, especially on older vehicles and engines, which were never built with the effects of E10 in mind. The effects on car engines could seldom be described as “disastrous,” but rather border on “real pain.” Aside from Ethanol burning hotter than gasoline, causing catalytic converters to break down faster, Ethanol will eventually cause rubber fuel system components to deteriorate and contaminate the fuel system. The list of items could include hoses, needle tips, some carb floats, fuel pump diaphragms both mechanical and electric—and that’s just to name a few. We are interested to see what happens to the older fuel tanks that have been coated with sealant. While surely today’s fuel tank sealers are meant to withstand wear from ethanol, some of the early material was not. Man, if that stuff dissolves and makes its way to carburetor, someone is going to have a real mess on their hands.

All of that being said, minor updates and maintenance on your collector car will help protect it from the effects of modern fuels. I have my own set of beliefs and general practices that get me through based on what I have read and good ole common sense:

  • In general, I always start my cars frequently, if for no other reason than to at least get the engine to operating temperature and move fuel through the system. Of course, the more you drive your car, generally the easier the maintenance.
  • If your collector car is still in its original condition, consider replacing seals, gaskets and fuel lines with modern replacement materials since older fuel system components are often incompatible with ethanol-blended fuels.
  • If it becomes necessary to replace fuel lines and other fuel system components, anything created after the mid 80’s will more than likely be suitable to contend with today’s fuels. If you want to believe the Renewable Fuels Association, preferred materials are Viton and fluoroelastomers such as Fluorel.
  • Thereafter, once or twice a year closely check fuel hoses, fuel pumps and carburetors for any leaks or contamination.
  • Be sure that you are using a 10-micron fuel filter and have spares on hand because you want to change it more frequently than usual. Ethanol is a solvent that dissolves resins, rust and dirt that have accumulated on older tank walls. This is especially important when first making the conversion to E10.

 Storing your car for more than 30 days:

  • Before you do anything, make sure your fuel tank is as clean as possible with no sediment or sludge. This can cause fuel system problems when you go to start her back up since over time ethanol in the fuel tends to re-liquefy the varnish from the bottom of the tank (as we mentioned above).
  • One you have a clean tank, be sure your tank is full of gas. Ethanol is alcohol and will attract/absorb water into gas resulting in phase separation of fuel. The best way to prevent phase separation in E-10 is to keep it dry! That means keeping the tank filled to prevent condensation.
  • Keeping any gasoline, including E10, as fresh as possible is very important. Mixing in a fuel stabilizer is a good habit to maintain since modern fuels break down faster than gasoline of the past.
  • I’ve gotten in a habit of adding Stabil to everything I own that uses Ethanol, aside from my daily drivers.  This includes my weed eater, leaf blower, chain saw, boat or anything else that may have fuel sit for weeks or months.

If you have an input, general practices or stories, feel free to add them to our comments section. We are very interested in what you have to add to this conversation.

In the meantime, check out some of the sites and articles we looked at to back up our info:

Hagerty’s collector car insurance Ethanol study results
Renewable Fuels Association Report on Ethanol and Classic Cars

Bloomberg on the Myth’s and Realities of Ethanol
Q&A from Hemmings Motor News excerpt

Ethanol free gas stations in the US, listed by state




SEMA Show 2013 Wrap Up

In case you have been living under a rock for the past, oh I don’t know, 40-something years, we are going to give you a little info on the history of the SEMA show. The first SEMA Show was held in 1967 in the basement of Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Back then the acronym SEMA actually stood for Speed Equipment Manufacturing Association, but in 1970, government regulations became an issue and the name was changed to Specialty Equipment Market Association to improve the overall image of the association. Stinkin government! Anyhow, SEMA started off with a whopping 98 manufacturer booths and an attendance of 3000 people. Not open to the general public, the purpose of the show has always been to bring the automotive aftermarket community together under one roof by providing attendees with educational seminars, product demonstrations, special events, and networking opportunities.

Today, SEMA is held in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Las Vegas convention center and has become one of the single largest events to bless the massive venue. Which, by the way, consists of 7 miles of halls! It is estimated that the 2013 SEMA show issued over 126,000 credentials prior to the event, and handed out thousands more on site. The numbers represented a 7 percent increase over last year, and the highest in SEMA Show history. On the show floor in the Las Vegas Convention Center were 2,381 exhibiting companies, representing every corner of the automotive specialty-equipment market – from accessory and appearance products, performance products, wheels, tires and suspension. Representing mostly small businesses, the exhibitors take advantage of the shows 60,000 buyers from all around the world.

Click to make it larger so you can read it.

Obviously, if you are in the auto industry, making it out to SEMA once in your life if pertinent. For many, making it as many times as possible is optimal. American Restomods has been in business since 2009 and 2013 marks the third visit for our bossman Ralph.

Although he can’t make it out every year (he is a pretty busy man!) he does he best to make the trip every other year. “We visit to educate ourselves on new products, tools and processes. It’s also nice to meet face to face with many of the vendors that we do business with from all over the country,” Ralph explains.

This year we had an extra reason to venture out since Rutledge Wood’s 1949 Chevrolet step van was being showcased in the Magnaflow booth. Although the build has progressed a bit since it left our shop, our blood sweat and tears are part of that van and we were proud to see it shine!

Highlights from the event:

Ralph spent about 45 minutes talking with Michael Cuningham who has brought back a modern version of a historic 1939 Indy 500 engine, the Lencki Six. This is an amazing engine that he is hand building and would be incredible for the right project. Check out some videos here:

We’ve toyed with incorporating Detroit Speed products in a few builds this year. We have another one on the table and took the chance to meet the folks at Detroit Speed and look over their products.  Incredibly well designed, we have a feeling this stuff will find it’s way to American Resto Mods in the near future for a project that we are not able to make public yet. But stay tuned! This could get very exciting!

Although Ralph only had time for two days at SEMA this year, he was on a mission to seek out products that are a good fit for restomods. Of course, there were more than a couple of cool products that caught his attention. We have decided that in the name of keeping your attention, we will simply mention the products in this post, with the intention of creating separate articles on each of the product later and explaining them in more detail. If you simply can’t wait, we will provide the links to the products and you can hop on over and check the out immediately.

E-stop electric emergency brake system: 

Although electric e-brakes aren’t entirely new this approach was pretty cool. Rather than an entire after market system, this product just replaces the manual hand or foot lever with an electric pull that applies up to 600lbs of force to fully engage the e-brake at the push of a button. It also appears simple to install. Check it out here.

Unisteer electric steering motor:

It is installed inline with the steering column so it will require significant fabrication but it maintains a mechanical link so if the unit ever failed you are still in control.  This would allow for a cleaner engine pully system by eliminating the PS pump and belt and gone are the leaks and hydraulic plumbing.  Their focus has been ATV and such but they are developing a larger unit for cars and trucks. Check it out here.

Until next time! For now, head on over to our Facebook page to check out a few pics from the show:


Thanks to our Facebook fan Jimmy Lamb for this photo

Texting and Driving Kills Classic Cars

Last week, our tech’s famous 1970 Chevy Kingswood 9 Passenger was totaled by a person texting and driving. We thought it would be nice if Mike told the story in his own words:

Thanks to our Facebook fan Jimmy Lamb for this photo

I had the wagon for about 4 years. People would always ask where I found it, how I found it, when, etc. The car found me. It was purchased at an auction in Palm Springs, California along with 23 other cars of various makes and models. The shop that I worked at was suppose to go through all 24 cars, make right what had to be made right and then send them all to Norway. The wagon never made it to Norway. It was intercepted, so to speak.

No words can describe the fun my wife and I had with this car. We put it in various car shows, drove it to Walmart, the grocery store, the hardware store, etc. People always were amazed at the condition of the car. It only has 73k original miles.

What made this car so much fun was how it stirred up memories for other people! We always heard things like:

“My daddy had a wagon just like this one. We would go on fishing trips and sleep in the car.”

Others would talk about the road trips to uncle him and aunt her… going to see cousins…

Thanks to our Facebook fan Jimmy Lamb for this photo

One of the favorite subjects to talk about and for people to remember was the 3rd seat and how it faces backwards, facing the tailgate. People would sometimes ask if they could sit in the 3rd seat just to see what it was like, or to sit in it and remember sitting there when they were younger. I guess some people enjoyed seeing where they had been instead of seeing where they were going.

People talking about their memories was always the best part. Everybody had stories, and memories. Cool.

Many customers would come to the shop and not even make it to the front door before taking a look around the wagon. Out of all the cars here, the wagon got the most attention.

The accident happened earlier this week on my way home from work. I was stopped in the typical Atlanta traffic when behind me I saw a car coming up on me from a far distance. As the car got closer I saw he had his phone up and all I thought was it was another person taking a picture of the car as it has happened often. I soon realized the car was not slowing down as it approached closer. I knew what was about to happen and laid down across the front seats to brace myself for the impact. The other car slammed into the back of the wagon with a loud crunch/smack. Luckily, I came out of the accident without any major injuries, but the wagon got the most brutal injury of all. TOTALED!

The wagon will be missed of course. I had plans and dreams of various sorts for the car, as most car people do. Oh well. There is another memory maker out there somewhere.

Thanks to everyone who enjoyed seeing the car in pictures, and at shows and parking lots. Some of your memories are still safe with me.

RIP 1970 Chevy Kingswood 9 passenger! You will be missed by all.

1970 Chevy Wagon
1970 Chevy Wagon
20 photos

1955 Chevrolet 210 Metal Work Gallery

1955 was a great year for Chevrolet because it marked the first year of the now legendary ‘Tri-Five’ (small block V-8) Chevys that came with brand new styling, engineering, and sales approach. With the first V-8 engine under their hoods since 1918, these Chevrolets were intended to directly compete in a market dominated by Ford for the past twenty years.

The gentleman who owns this piece of American history hired us to do the metal work so he could proceed on the next step of the restoration himself.  We hope to see it back for phase 2 sometime in the future, but we are always happy to help classic car lovers with any level of their project. So, check out our services page and always feel free to give us a call…because big or small, we do it all! Cliche, but so true. Cheers!

1955 210 Post Chevrolet
1955 210 Post Chevrolet
198 photos
1965 F100 Restomod

1965 Ford F-100 Shortbed Truck

In 1948 Ford Motor Company released its first new truck since before WWII. Billed as a “Bonus Built” truck, the Ford F-series lineup was advertised essentially as a living room on wheels. The plush interior boasted of more room than any Ford truck ever, the ride was smooth, the engine was powerful, and the fuel economy was admirable.

The Ford F-series formula is one that has lasted over 60 years and 14 generations. Impressively, in all 6 decades there has never been a break in production and it seems there isn’t one planned. Perhaps the incessant production is the reason the Ford F-series has become synonymous with the American work ethic. For 17 years Ford’s Ford F-Series trucks were the best selling vehicles in the United States. The F-150 (the series’ half-ton truck) still retains a title it’s held for over thirty years as America’s favorite pickup truck.

Our customers James and Alison Slone are diehard Ford Truck fans. A brand new quad cab 4×4 is the “work horse” of their equestrian lifestyle. They always had a hankering for an old Ford pickup and when they came across this 1965 Ford F-100 Shortbed they decided to pick it up (no pun intended). Although they enjoyed the body style of the ’65 F-100, this one needed some bodywork. The pair decided to go for the gusto with a full tear down and frame off restoration. They also turned it up a notch by adding in a few modern amenities, turning this plain Jane white pickup into a two-tone showstopper.

Fast Facts and Upgrades:

  • Powder coated chassis and suspension
  • New TCIC6 automatic transmission
  • Original 352 FE V8 motor, cleaned, painted and chrome dress up kit
  • Power steering
  • Custom leather bucket seats with console
  • All vinyl interior panels
  • Autometer Gauges
  • Upscale Sony radio and speakers
  • Vintage Air
  • New windshield, all other glass original
  • Polish all original trim
  • Re-chromed front and rear bumpers
  • Slick two-tone paint (True Blue/Performance Blue year 2005, and Silver Metallic)
  • Old time pin stripping on hood and tailgate done in house
  • This project took about 8 months
1965 Ford F-100 Shortbed
1965 Ford F-100 Shortbed
1251 photos
Happy Customer!

1969 Pontiac GTO Coupe

1969 Pontiac GTO Judge AD

Known for being an arrogant little Muscle Car, the Pontiac GTO has quite a reputation. Not only does it “borrow” the name GTO from the greatest racing Ferarri of all time, 250 GTO, many argue that the moment the 1964 GTO went on sale was the moment the “muscle car era” was actually launched. Not because of the chassis or engine used, but because of the attitude that would eventually become synonymous with what it meant to be a muscle car. The 1969 Pontiac GTO isn’t a particularly rare car with a total of 72,287 ’69 GTOs built, but it is still a car that brings back fond teenage memories for many of today’s classic car lovers.

Our customer, John Ballard, is one of those people. Back when John was a senior in high school, he saw an ad in the local newspaper listing two GTOs for sale for only $6900. He decided to scoop them up. One was a regular ole ‘69 GTO and the other is what seemed to be an original Judge. Unfortunately, the Judge was in horrible condition and at the time John wasn’t able to bring it back to life, so he decided to sell it for what he could. But for years he drove and enjoyed the remaining GTO and worked on it with his uncle as needed.

How the GTO looked when it arrived

After having the car for many years, John decided to hand the car over to “the professionals” for a much needed overhaul. Sadly, his beloved GTO spent about 8 years in another shop and during that time parts of the car were lost, or cut off, or just simply disappeared.

GTO's engine when it got here

Finally fed up, Mr. Ballard rightfully pulled his car out of that shop and researched and employed American Resto Mods to “finish the job.” When the car showed up at the shop it was in pretty rough shape. Since it was missing so many pieces, our tech Joey nicknamed the car Skeletor. Fitting for both the car and Joey who is pretty into skulls himself, but that is a whole ‘nother story…


After acquiring many parts and with some good loving labor, the car was slowly pieced together to become the 1969 GTO it is today. The entire project took about a year to complete and even though John lives far away and wasn’t able to visit his car often, he was still able to track the daily progress of the project thanks to our to our policy of documenting all of our builds online for our customers to view at their convenience.

When the time came to finally be reunited with his high school sweetheart, John instantly fell in love with the 1969 Pontiac GTO all over again. He couldn’t believe how amazing it came out and that his dream was finally reality after so many years of waiting. He went around to each of the guys personally to shake their hand and thank them for all of the hard work. It was a pretty sappy moment for all of us.


It was so awesome to see him take a seat in the now completed car and give it a crank. As the car started right up, he giggled then screamed with joy. It was like watching a kid on Christmas morning. After taking some time to enjoy the rumble of his engine, he stepped out and turned to Sarah and said, “If you have never seen a grown man cry, you are about to.” After our final clean up, he backed the car out of the shop, parked it in the parking lot and just sat there for a while reveling in the rumble. He seemed to be in awe that his car was finally alive and was literally jumped around from all the excitement. It’s moment like these that make our job so rewarding.

GTO Brand New Interior

Before pulling out with his car in tow, Sarah asked him for a final picture with him and his car together. He gladly accepted and ran over to his car. On the count of three he stroke his pose with the biggest smile on his face. He then turned to Blake and Sarah and said, “I was trying to pose like that guy with the bread truck (Rutledge Wood).”


When a classic car comes into American Resto Mods for a restoration, it becomes a part of our family – it sort of becomes like our child. Our guys get attached and get used to each car sitting in the shop waiting for them every morning. Seeing a car go home to a happy customer is awesomely rewarding, but it is sort of sad to see them go. In a bittersweet sort of way, they are taking a piece of us with them.

Happy Customer!

Our favorite quote from this story: “You guys can take anything and turn it into this.” -John Ballard (referring to Skeletor turning into the “new” GTO)

Fast Facts:

  • new roof panel
  • 2 good used western fenders
  • good used western hood
  • Endura bumper stock and came with car
  • Quarter panel full new
  • New trunk floor
  • New hood tach
  • Trunk lid with car
  • Light patching in front floors
  • Mixed bag of interior parts with car
  • New glass kit
  • Healiner, door panel, quarter panel, kick panel, package tray new
  • New rug and dynamat
  • Cleaned and sealed engine and trans
  • 400 cubic inch, 4 speed manual trans came with car
  • Paint: Cortez Silver, Palladium Silver ( painted by Nick Henderson)
  • Judge sticker kit
1969 GTO Coupe Project
1969 GTO Coupe Project
1294 photos