American-Pullman - 1980-1989 - Brooklyn, New York


American Pullman Coachbuilders, was glorified in news articles across the country for bring­ing life to the ravaged Brook­1yn area.

Actually, the applause could have come years earlier when, in 1964, the 23-year-old Ken Boyar bought into a failing body shop, Al's Collision Works. Within two years, Boyar had turned the opera­tion around, purchased the remainder of the company,

and renamed it Auto Body Concepts, a name that reflected the professionalism Boyar injected into the business. There Boyar developed a unique frame-straightening system, as well as immersing himself in all aspects of auto repair and restoration. Boyar again reinvented the company in 1973 by renaming it MacGregor Custom Coach and moving facilely into the customizing business.

With the MacGregor name, Boyar developed a reputa­tion for quality custom work, an expertise in high-end paint jobs, and a set of impressive New York A-list clients. By the late 1970s, MacGregor was a leading national installer of sunroofs, a skill that brought the company into Boyar's next formulation as American Pullman. Already having dabbled in limousines since 1978 and having developed a strong relationship with Classic Coach of Orlando, Florida, the two companies in 1982 developed tooling and designs for a new line of stretch limousines, which were then coming into great demand in New York City. American Pullman was soon churning out 36- and 46-inch stretch Oldsmobile, Chevrolet, Cadillac, and Lincoln limousines to the tune of several hundred vehicles per year by the mid-1980s.

During this time, Boyar developed a close relationship with Carlos Allen. American Pullman was building pri­marily on General Motors chassis, while Allen built on Lincolns, which Boyar sold for him. Allen convinced Boyar to join his operation. Boyar closed American Pullman and opened APC Sales Corp. to market the limousines he and Allen built under Allen Coachworks. He also established a limousine maintenance facility to attend to existing limousines in the N ew York area (today managed by Boyar's son, Adam). Boyar split his time between New York and Laredo until 1989, when Allen Coachworks was bought out.

Boyar's next move came in 1992 in the form of Laredo Coachworks, now LCW Automotive Corp., which suc­cessfully grew into the 1990s. Boyar also carried forth with LCW Automotive his track record for innovation. As before at American Pullman, Boyar today insists on employing OEM materials and standards wherever possible, such as electrical com­ponents, body mounts, and drive shafts. Drawing further from Boyar's experience in frame repair, LCW Automotive has developed a proprietary laser-guided cutting system that ensures the lowest tol­erances in chassis stretching in the industry. The net effect is a smoothness which, when com­bined with LCW Automotive's innovative use of composite insu­lation materials, makes for a uniquely quiet ride. Appropriately for its Texas location, the com­pany has also developed the most powerful air conditioning system used in production limousines. Today LCW Automotive is among the larg­est builders in the country, although Boyar prefers the descriptive "quality, innovation, and design." Above all, Boyar says as he looks back on his long career, he counts himself most content with "a good life, a good factory, good people," and, as he used to say at Ameri­can Pullman, "making good cars better."

Amid a ravaged Brooklyn neighborhood, Ken Boyar turned a small body shop into a major limousine player of the 1980s, American Pullman Limqusine. (Courtesy ofLCW Automotive, Laredo, Texas)


To whom it may concern:

My name is Jim Bardia and I am writing to add some detail to your article on American Pullman Coachbuilders of Brooklyn, NY.  Following a limited but successful auto racing career where in the late 70's I was responsible for three racing National Records.  I founded Classic Coachworks in Orlando, FL where I built private label Ford Mustang convertibles for Tomaso of America along with shortened Eldorado and (two door) Seville convertibles and hardtops.  Additionally I built limousines for Kenny Boyar in New York and custom car dealers in southern Florida.  I also built private label Cadillac, Lincoln and Rolls Royce limousines for Jewels Meyer of American Custom Coachworks of Beverly Hills, CA.  Prior to co-founding American Pullman Coachbuilders, I built a series of uniquely customized Cadillac and Rolls Royce limousines for the Faisal family of Saudi Arabia.  Soon thereafter I brought my tooling and expertise to New York to form American Pullman Coachbuilders with two partners Kenny Boyar and Barry Mirojnick.  My coach building expertise transformed a sunroof and predominately C&C Concepts supplied aftermarket components installation shop into New York City's premier Coachbuilder.  I designed all of the "stretch" components along with reinforced rocker panels and upper body structure that when combined with (unique at that time) custom made center panel side impact beams and retractable jump seat lap belts attributed to the safest limousines available at the time.  The tooling, jigs and fixtures utilized to construct the limousine sub assemblies and convertibles were also created by me.  Lastly I will quote Ernest Gleisner of Gleisner Coachworks Norwalk, CT who knew Kenny as a sunroof and custom accessories shopkeeper that after examining the processes and procedures that I had implemented at American Pullman Coachbuilders put his arm around me said that ("they just don't make Coachbuilders like us anymore").  In retrospect, that was a great honor for me the 26 year old to hear that from an established Coachbuilders who had honed his skills in the finest of European shops. 

After selling my American Pullman Coachbuilders equity position to Kenny and Barry.  I  co-founded United Motors Corporation in Pontiac, MI where I built a series of highly armored airport security vehicles for the government of China (Autoweek January 13, 1986) along general purpose armored sedans and trucks and a fleet of enclosed and convertible Chevrolet based armored and non-armored stretches for the Kuwaiti Royal Family.  In case you doubt my account of the historical events I can provide you with albeit antique photographic evidence to support my claims.

Jim Bardia





    For more information please read:

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Dictionary of World Coachbuilders and Car Stylists ISBN 8096897403


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