Josh Allison, builder of Orange County Choppers, sets up new American Metal store
Old Orange County Choppers Co-star Josh Allison recently opened a new store called American Metal in Danbury, Connecticut. Fans of Allison’s work may also remember her appearances on American chopper and Key against the machine, in addition to the impressive custom builds he helped craft with the Teutels on OCC.
Now, Allison’s newest project, founded at Danbury’s North American Motor Car facility, will further showcase the craftsmanship that has helped him become a leading name in the industry. American Metal plans to begin first builds this fall in New Jersey and Cleveland, so I spoke with Allison beforehand to find out more about what led to the new project and how American Metal plans to stand out. into the world of hand-built bikes and hardcore hot rods.
While working at Orange County Choppers, co-founder of Blue Buffalo Co pet food and former director of event marketing for SoBe Beverages, Chris Bishop, hired the store to create a recreation of the iconic star and stripe bike. by Peter Fonda of Easy Rider. Throughout the process, Bishop and Allison developed the relationship that ultimately led to American Metal, especially once the winds of change started to blow in OCC.
“Orange County Choppers was doing different things, “Allison told me.” They were sort of going to Florida and so on, so it kind of was a good time for me to go from there. ”
During conversations with Bishop about Allison’s role in hot rod and custom bike circles, the duo conceptualized a new venture under the umbrella of North American Motor Car, for which Bishop is CEO in Danbury, CT.
“And American Metal was born, man!” Allison said. “We got the team together, got the brand and the name, an amazing group of people. And yes, that’s where it’s happening. Right now there are 14 of us, it’s a bit divided at the moment. in the manufacturing store and there’s the mechanics but it’s all under one roof, all the specialized things that we can do. ”
Plans to start big and grow
Bishop’s experience at SoBe and Blue Buffalo has allowed him to bet big on American Metal and Allison, far beyond the reach of a traditional store producing custom projects.
“When it all started, that was really a big factor,” Allison recalls. “He wanted to create something that no one really does. In addition to bikes and cars, there will be very high end storage, we will have a world class facility, car buying and selling, sponsorship, and the race. ”
Also build bikes and cars
I asked Allison if he could imagine American Metal focusing more on bikes or cars, given his own predilections and preferences.
“It’s probably a bit of both,” he replied. “Right now we’re really trying to make this bike that I built for Fuel Cleveland. It will happen on November 4, 5 and 6 in Cleveland, Ohio, obviously. And that’s something we decided to do. like the store, like our brand. So it’s a bike I thought we made. ”
The other question that swirled through my mind was about the difference between client commissions or blank projects that emerge directly from Allison’s mind. Given his reality TV fame and fame in the industry, would he simply bring the cars and bikes of his dreams to life, and then sell them? Instead, due to the breadth of reach Bishop envisions for the US metal, everything remains on the table.
“Whether it’s a fully custom build, full metalwork, full restoration, I don’t care how old the car is, we’re going to tackle it. Full paint, full interior. It’s pretty wild. It’s literally. one stop shop for everything anyone can dream of. “
Hot Rods, Customization and Complete Restorations
The vast expertise that Bishop and Allison have gathered at American Metal means that the “one stop shop” will not be limited to only classics and period projects, new models are also on the table, although the focus will remain on old machines.
“We’re a vintage store,” Allison said. “We’re in the era of the muscle car, the traditional hot rod, bikes and so on. On some of this other stuff, we’re going to have different avenues that we can help people out with if they want to bring in, let’s say, their new BMW. And one of our mechanics, Daniel, was from that background, so we try to have a multi-purpose workshop that whatever we get we can touch.
I asked Allison if he could share a few details about the builds currently underway at American Metal, other than the bike set for a big reveal at Fuel Cleveland.
“We have a Mustang 68, a full rotisserie makeover that the other guys have been working on,” he said. “That’s a big deal. You know, when you do these restorations, to get them right, every bolt has to be right and everything has to be right from the factory.”
He also seemed excited about a 1964 panel truck that will serve as a tool and toy transporter, with 20-inch wheels, air-cushioned suspension and all that is black.
Allison did share a few details about the construction of Fuel Cleveland, however.
“It’s a 1941 Harley Davidson Knucklehead engine,” he explained, “So very, very, very rare. I mean, the powertrain of these bikes sets the tone and that’s a big part of the bike. So it’s built around that and it’s a completely unique, hand-made bike. I literally made the gas tank, fenders, seat, pipes, front, pipes. That’s all you can get. It’s probably been going on for six months now. ”
Meanwhile, Bishop’s personal collection also receives attention on the side, like a rewired 1949 Mercury. But given the newness of the business, work for clients and for promotional purposes must come first.
Personal downstream projects
However, Allison is still ruminating on some personal projects. And he enjoys riding the new roads (for him) of Connecticut on his own 1946 Knucklehead custom.
“I drive a 2014 Chevy Impala every day,” he revealed. “We have a nice truck, but my wife stole it from me. We went to get a truck so we could easily carry bikes and Sarah fell in love with it. And I ride as much as I can.”
And sitting high on the to-do list, it turns out it’s a bike for the better half of Allison.
“My wife wants me so badly to build her a bike, so hopefully this winter I can maybe start to slowly dive into it. We have a little boy,” Allison said, “And she did. not rode for a long time. And the riding here is gorgeous! So I’m gonna come back from a ride and brag about her and she’s like, ‘Oh I don’t wanna hear about it, I can’t go!‘All the bikes I build are solo seats so it would be really cool to do something personally for her. ”
In the meantime, fans of Orange County Choppers, American Metal and Josh Allison can expect to meet up in Fuel Cleveland or the East Coast at Night of the Troglodytes, the celebration of choppers ahead of The Race’s descent. of Gentlemen in New Jersey. October 1. Getting the local community involved and letting them know that a new store has popped up in Connecticut seems like a major goal for the entire American metal team.
“Every time we do something,” Allison told me, “we want everyone to be a part of it and be a part of it.”
Sources: americanmetalcustom.com, northamericanmotorcar.com, bluebuffalo.com, fuelcleveland.com and theraceofgentlemen.com.
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