American Car Parts and Service American Car Parts American Car Service
Above:"Big Daddy" Don Garlits at Blackbushe, 1964 

Our history really began with founding partner Mike Lintern's interest in hot rodding and drag racing, resulting (as with many "pioneers") from reading copies of Hot Rod Magazine in the early sixties. Visits to the '64 and '65 DragFests sealed his fate, which was for him to originate Custom Car Magazine for his employers, Link House Publications, Croydon, and later start a mail order sticker, badge and American magazine business called Action Automotive. Mike was also an active member of the original British Hot Rod Association, as Surrey rep, club magazine writer, and later a start-line crewman at Santa Pod Raceway.

In 1973, with the opening of a corner shop in Wallington, Surrey, a hard parts section was added as American Autoparts --- established with just a large box of spares and some enthusiastic ideas. In the mid-seventies we attended many of the early custom car shows and drag race events to spread our customer base. Having outgrown our original Wallington premises, we moved in 1978 to Thornton Heath, South London, greatly expanding our stock and, importantly, acquiring our own workshops.


In 2007, we relocated to our current purpose-designed facility in Redhill, Surrey. And now, some 40 years on, we are one of Europe's leading suppliers of American vehicle parts to both retail and trade customers.   

Back to our roots: Partners and staff at American Autoparts are still involved in the drag racing scene, preparing Run What 'ya Brung cars and competition machines and spending time at the track. Yup, in one form or another, we're all hot rodders at heart!

One of our first decals promoting the sport, way back in 1969

american car parts

The early seventies saw the first issues of Custom Car Magazine. The Acceleration Archive.com website today includes Mike Lintern's CC feature articles on 20 of Britain's top dragsters and altereds of the time

Our "Number One" logo first appeared in 1973 and featured a Plymouth Superbird because we felt that a Stars & Stripes version of Mopar's "winged warrier" portrayed ultimate American automotive performance.

The number one figure was to show our intention to be first for parts and service. In the eighties the logo was updated slightly to give a better impression of movement

In the very early 1970s, just at the time American Autoparts opened-up their first store in Wallington, Surrey , co-founder Mike Lintern was using a (rare) RHD '56 Chevy Bel Air as day-to-day transport --- to the consternation of the local traffic police. At the time Mike's day-job was with Link House Publications as assistant editor of Caravan Magazine and a regular contributor to Custom Car Magazine

In 1978, American Autoparts moved from Wallington, Surrey, to Thornton Heath, near Croydon, where the business now had its own adjoining workshop facility. Coincidentally, our new abode also had an historic connection with American cars because in the fifties, 132 Brigstock Road was the home of Brookside Motors, the Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet distributors for Surrey. This advertisement -- featuring a huge full-size Buick station wagon -- appeared in The Autocar Magazine in 1959, when chrome was cool and fins were in...                                                             ... and fuel was a little cheaper

 

During the 1980s managing partner Dick Gransden headed-up a project to put a 500+bhp Chevette on the street! The car packed a 377 cubic inch small-block Chevy, with narrowed 12-bolt rear-end and Hewland drive shafts and was trailered to the NEC Birmingham for its debut. Requested to demo the car for the cameras -- before suspension bugs had been ironed-out --- Dick was able to complete only a short blast before the beast went out of control and crashed

This is Howard "Wiffy" Smith's '70 Chevrolet Nova SS Pro-Stocker, "Insurance in Pro-Motion" -- a consistent low-ten-second car that ran a best of elapsed time of 10-zero and won a number of titles including the 1976 British Summernationals and RAC championships. Wiffy's Nova, originally raced in the States, packed a 427-cubic-inch big block Chevy bored-out to 439 cubes and was prepared by Steve Thompson and Tony Gransden in the American Autoparts workshops. Unusual for the time, Wiffy's Nova ran a magneto. The car promoted local insurance brokers Osborne & Sons, whose bossman Roy Osborne was the previous owner/driver. None of the logos on the car were decals; every one was painstakenly airbrushed

Tony Gransden and Alex Nicol shared the driving chores in the American Autoparts '79 "Just a Rat" Chevy Camaro to become National Super Gas drag racing champions in 1993 and 1995 and Super Comp winners in 2000. Sadly, Tony, our chief mechanic, passed away in May 2012 after a long illness

In 1995 American Autoparts came to the rescue of the world's biggest biplane -- the replica Vickers Vimy that the previous year had flown from the UK to Australia, re-tracing an epic 1914 flight. The Vimy had "gone tech" at the Biggin Hill Air Fair and needed a replacement Holley fuel pump for one of its big-block Chevy engines, so we "robbed" our Camaro race car of its pump and the aircraft was able to take to the sky again as star of the show. Today, the Vimy is displayed at the Brooklands Museum

push truck

Our very own '57 Chevy 3100 "Fat & Blown" has won a cabinet full of show trophies over the last 12 years, including Best of Show awards in Finland and Ireland. Packing a 900hp 468 cube blown big block, she's capable of lighting her tyres at 60mph in top gear, but is also a working truck. "Fat & Blown" acted as hauler for our '79 Camaro racecar in the 1990s and for the "Shuvin' Chevvy" in 2010

The original "Shovin' Chevvy" was used as official start / push car for the 1964 British International DragFest (see photo at the top of the page), a series of events that put the sport on the map in the UK when top American drivers like "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, "TV Tommy" Ivo and Tony "The Loner" Nancy left indelible black lines on British Tarmac around the country. Our resident street and strip racer Dave Hughes replicated the original push car with his '57 Chevy, displaying at Santa Pod's Dragstalgia meet in 2010, and there are now plans for the car to participate in the 50th anniversary celebration of the 1964 DragFest at Blackbushe in 2014

 

American Autoparts - First for parts, first for service

Holmethorpe Trading Estate - 74 Holmethorpe Avenue - Redhill - RH1 2NL.

Telephone: 01737 780 888 Fax: 01737 778 999

e: sales@americanautoparts.co.uk

We are open 9am to 6.30 weekdays,
closing 1pm Saturdays

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