Performance & Hotrod Business May '14

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Gray Fredrick Co-owner, American Powertrain n TALKIN' PERFORMANCE By Regis Finn PHB: Gray, what was your first car? GF: It was a 1968 Ford Thunderbird coupe with the high-performance 429 Thunder Jet motor. PMB: That's a pretty cool first car. Do you have a dream car? GF: Yes, my dream car would have to be a 1967 Dodge Coronet R/T with a 426 Hemi engine. PHB: What picture do you have on your computer or phone wallpaper? GF: I have a picture of my engine builder assembling my 505-ci stroker wedge motor for my latest project. We call it 'Ragnet, and it is a 1966 Coronet convertible. PHB: Who is the person you would like to meet most? GF: Jay Leno. He loves cars and makes me laugh. PHB: Gray, please complete this sentence; if I wasn't in the performance aftermarket I'd probably be … GF: … in my workshop invent- ing, developing and improving all kinds of cool stuff! T his month we have the privilege of chatting with my good friend, Gray Fredrick. I have known Gray for a number of years, going back to the days when I was working in the transmission industry. At that time, Gray and his partner were just starting out in the business as well. Fast-forward five years, and they had built a successful Tremec Elite Dealership, American Powertrain. There are fewer than a dozen Tremec Elite Dealerships in the world, making this a very exclusive club. They also own a related company called The Driven Man. American Powertrain not only sells Tremec manual transmissions, it also manufactures a full line of transmission accessories. This includes complete kits to install a modern Tremec 5- or 6-speed transmission in an early muscle car or truck, crossmembers, performance shifters, clutch kits, flywheels, performance bellhousings and other transmission accessories. It also carries a full line of performance crate engines. Gray is one of the good guys in this industry, as anyone who has had the pleasure of crossing paths with him will agree. He is also a wealth of knowledge and an expert on all things automatic and manual transmission. PHB: So what got you interested in the automotive aftermarket, Gray? GF: My older brother was always building something fast and driving the heck out of it. From a 140-mph VW Beetle to a slick 70-1/2 split-bumper Camaro. I worshipped everything he and his friends bolted together. PHB: And how did you end up in the position you have today? GF: I was working in this industry for a company with great products, but their customer service and delivery left a lot to be desired. I became an expert on manual transmission conversions while working there, and decided I could make better products and take care of customers the way they wanted to be taken care of. I partnered up with a friend who was already running a fledgling manual transmission conversion company for Jaguar, and over time we developed a complete line of world-beating American car manual transmission products. PERFORMANCE 48 n Performance & Hotrod Business n May 2014 Fredrick was granted his first patent on this adjustable firewall mount for installing a clutch master cylinder. It has become a cornerstone of the company's product mix. Gray Fredrick is co-owner of American Powertrain, a leader in 5- and 6-speed manual transmission conversions. PHBMAY.indd 48 4/2/14 11:35 AM

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