The Masterminds Behind AMS Performance
From humble beginnings sharing a 3,000-foot shop with a power washing company and using a tarp to separate the two companies, Martin Musial and his best friend since grade school, Arne Toman, pursued a dream that one day two kids from the northwest suburbs of Chicago could build a company that possessed the same passion and enthusiasm they had for cars and transform it into an authoritative leader in automotive performance known today as AMS Performance.
It's been seven years since AMS opened its doors to the general public and within that short time span, this small, rather unknown company has quickly managed to become a worldwide leader in aftermarket performance. AMS recently opened a newly established 17,000 square-foot facility in the rural parts of Chicago.
Holding numerous records and titles in all categories of import performance, ranging from drag racing and engine horsepower bragging rights to road racing trophies, the AMS crew shows no signs of slowing down as they claw their way to the top and continue to bring us the hottest products and fastest cars this side of the hemisphere.
The team at AMS recently held a celebratory grand opening at their new facility, offering a dyno contest, free pizza, games, and raffle prizes to customers as a way of showing appreciation for all of their support over the years. Throughout the madness ensuing that weekend, I managed to pull aside the owners of AMS, Martin and Arne, for a few minutes to reveal their personal experiences and how the history of AMS Performance has evolved for them over the years.
Turbo: How did the whole automotive infancy begin for you two?
Arne: When I was in high school I was into V-8 muscle cars. My first car was a '71 Monte Carlo with a 350ci engine and a four-speed. Martin and I tinkered around with it whenever we had a chance. At the time, Martin's dad wanted to buy him a car but he couldn't have anything more than four cylinders because his dad had this theory that V-8s were hard to perform a tune-up on. (Both laughing) American cars were forbidden in Martin's family so it had to be some sort of "European vehicle," so he picked up a Merkur XR4Ti.
Martin: Yeah, at the time Arne and I didn't know much about cars or how to work on them. Brake torques and burnouts were our way of showing power. My dad is old school and believed that I shouldn't be tinkering around with cars. His expectations for me were to be an engineer, lawyer, or a doctor.
Turbo: That's so typical of any parent. Did you follow his advice?
Martin: I went to college at Iowa State University and worked on receiving my degree in mechanical engineering. While attending Iowa State I joined their Formula SAE program. We built race car chassis around motorcycle engines. I was team captain for our school's program and entered competitions in Michigan where each vehicle ran a series of events, ranging from acceleration, slalom, braking, and an autocross all with these homemade cars powered by motorcycle engines. Within the five years of taking on these projects I learned how to weld, fabricate, and use my engineering knowledge I obtained.
After graduating I came back home and worked for my dad's wire forming business for two years until I couldn't take it anymore. (Laughing)