Sometimes, life is all about timing. Being in the right place at the right time can make all the difference. We've been literally bursting at the seams for years, and this past summer our neighbor —a major subcontractor to Boeing— moved to new quarters and we were able to expand into their complex. At the same time, the state of Washington notified us that the location of our machine shop was being claimed under eminent domain and they would need to move us. So everything worked out perfectly. Karma?
It's been a lot of work this past half-year to make this move happen, but the dust has settled, and we entered 2018 fully up to speed with fabrication and manufacturing in our new addition; a 3-building complex. One is a dedicated machine shop housing our CNC mills, lathes and other equipment while the other two buildings are focused on mandrel bending, small component fabrication, housing construction and chassis/subframe production. Chassis assembly and crating occupies our original shop, while the adjacent building now has expanded room for component warehousing. Sales, administration, engineering and shipping offices have remained in the same location. AME now occupies nearly 50,000 square feet under roof.
Needless to say, this reorganization has allowed us to give the fabrication process a more streamlined flow and will be able to let us construct chassis and components in a more efficient manner. The extra room will also allow for more dedicated jig tables to be built for future GT Sport chassis and hiring more technicians. Now we can focus on increasing production rates and reducing our lead times.
We'll be expanding our GT Sport chassis product line in 2018. The first application in development is the Chevrolet C2 (1963-1967) Corvette. Since the introduction of the AME Multilink IRS, we've sold quite a few builder's chassis for the original Stingray and it will surely be a home run as a bolt-on frame. One custom customer build was an incredible hit this past year at the SEMA show. Eddies Rod and Custom crafted a 1963 Corvette like no other. Utilizing an AME chassis it had an amazing level of detail and featured a potent Small Block Chevy engine with individual throttle bodies.
Displayed in the Billet Specialties booth, the car received a tremendous amount of attention and was awarded the "Car of the Year" by GM Design. Working closely with builders like Eddies we have gathered a lot of great information about ride height, stance and fitment on these iconic cars. Our engineering department is well on its way to finalizing the 3D chassis/body scan on this project and should have the jig table finished up by early summer of 2018.
Trucks have been growing in popularity at Goodguys and other events. While the 3100 has been getting lots of attention, the iconic C/10 from Chevrolet is rocketing up in popularity. With most groups allowing 1980s era vehicles into the shows the Chevy "Squarebody" is getting increasingly popular. Our next GT Sport platform will address these great vehicles. While some of you may be asking about brand "X" or "Y", please know that we are studying it very carefully and may have some exciting news for you sometime in 2018.
In addition to these chassis, we'll be working on a new front suspension this year. Wilwood not only manufactures some of the best disc brakes around, they also have some fantastic spindles. Recently they introduced a heavy-duty spindle for C10 trucks that utilizes a bolt-on hub assembly rather than employing a spindle pin. This spindle will also become the nucleus for more heavy-duty suspensions from AME. Look for it on our new GT Sport Truck chassis as well as some of our custom chassis made for heavy and long wheelbase vehicles.
Our engineering department and machine shop are working hard on re-designing our splined sway bars too. The first ones have come out in mid-2017 with more applications coming on line. Manufactured in-house from 7071 T-6 aluminum and 4130 these splined bars are the perfect compliment to your high performance handling build.
2018 is going to be an exciting year and as always, we are proud to have you be part of it. Whether it is a bracket or tab or a complete chassis package you are the reason why we are the success that we are today. Also, if it wasn't for you and the requests that you have made, we wouldn't have the product mix that we do today. If there is something that you don't see in our catalog, please let us know!
Many times it is something that we probably have but if not, there's a possibility of being able to make it. Thank you and please keep us in mind regarding your next project.